September, 2010


We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Wildlife Enquiries

'Good morning, Wildlife Enquiries...' We take hundreds of calls and e-mails every day. Find out what everyone's asking this week
  • Seabird wrecks & Wrynecks

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    Seabird wrecks
    We have had a few unfortunate reports of seabirds, particularly guillemots, being washed ashore either very weak or dead. Seabird wrecks like these usually occur after stormy weather. It is thought the birds become exhausted and then are washed inland. if you do find an exhausted sea bird make sure you ring the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.


    Wrynecks and storks
    Lots of reports of wrynecks. Many of them are probably genuine although something things like juvenile blackbirds can be confused as wrynecks. Wrynecks are small sparrow-sized birds, appearing greyish overall, with brown and buff mottling. They have a contrasting dark band running down from the back of the head onto the back. We also received a couple of reports of white storks. Storks can occur in the UK naturally but these birds were likely to be escapees as they were very tame.


    Left behind?
    A few more reports of swallows and house martin chicks still being in the nest. It is late but they still have a bit of time before all the other hirundines have gone.


    Spiders and Moths 
    There have been some interesting spider and moth threads on the RSPB Communities website. Worth a look if you want tips on identifying them or moth traps for example.


  • Where have the birds gone?

    Disappearing birds:
    Lots of calls are still coming in about the disappearance of birds from gardens. At this time of year birds do start to moult and can go into hiding. Moulting is a process of shedding and regrowing feathers. Adult birds are shedding their worn out feathers from this year's breeding season and growing new, strong, warm feathers to see them through the winter. This year's young are losing their first feathers and moulting into their adult coats.

    Moulting Blackbirds:
    Lots of reports of brown-headed Cowbirds. They are a North American passerine which are very rare vagrants to the UK with only a handful of records. They bear a striking resemblance to moulting juvenile blackbirds which at certain stages can be black with a brown head.

    Birds trapped in buildings:
    Inexperienced juvenile birds and reckless birds of prey have been widely reported from distribution centres and car showrooms nationwide. Once they are in, they are very difficult to get out as there is no easy solution. We would suggest letting as much natural light in as possible this will allow the bird to exit safely though an open door or window.  Sparrowhawks and other birds of prey sometimes fly into warehouses following their prey. A simple way to entice them out is to place a yellow or orange duster in a crumpled heap by the entrance door and leave the area quiet. Soon enough the bird will investigate or catch what it thinks is potential prey and will end up flying out.