Lots of interesting behaviours being observed around the UK at this time of year and here in Wildlife Enquiries we have been hearing about all kinds of things, here are some of the interesting ones to look out for.
The sound of bird song through the winter nights is a curious behaviour. Although we are hearing many birds singing already, the dawn chorus is not yet at full volume (in a few weeks summer migrants will be back to add their voices to the mix!), there is one species that will sing strongly through the night throughout winter and spring. This bird is the familiar and feisty robin. Some other birds may join in to some extent like the blackbird and song thrush but the robin is the number one nocturnal songster in winter. We do get asked if it is possible that nightingales are singing at night which they of course are well known for, however they rarely arrive in the UK before April so before then, it is likely to be a robin. You can read more about nocturnal song on our website advice section here.
Birds attacking windows
As many species are fiercely defending territory in the spring to make sure they have a productive patch of land to provide for their mate and offspring this coming breeding season, fights between birds can be a common sight. This can lead to some curious behaviour at windows as birds square up to what they perceive as a rival trespassing in their precious territory. They will keep on flying at and tapping the window as the reflection won't go away which can be a big problem for the bird as it loses energy and may injure itself in the process. We recommend getting some cling film and taping it flush to the outside surface of the glass which should remove the reflection and therefore the trigger for this behaviour. In the last few weeks we have had a number of the usual suspects reported doing this including blue tits, chaffinches, pied wagtails and crows. We have a bit more information on this here.
Nesting birds in your roof
Some people are lucky enough to already have starlings and house sparrows nest building in the roof fittings. These red listed species are cavity nesting species that have long been associated with urban areas and our homes are theirs too. We often get asked if it is ok to leave them to it and our answer is a definite yes! Not only are active nests protected by law and the species declining, they also do little or no damage to the property. We have some guidance on our website here for anyone who wants to know more about birds nesting in the roof. If anyone has got any unusually early fledglings already then we would love to hear about them via our forum.
Departures and Arrivals
We are still getting reports of waxwings, amazingly they are still managing to find some berries and fruit as well as doing a bit of insect catching. Other winter visitors that are still around include bramblings, fieldfare and redwings. Starling murmurations will start to disperse this month as the birds from Eastern Europe head back to their breeding ranges. Already arriving in the UK are wheatear and a few sand martins. Osprey have also been reported as well soo keep an eye to the skies as it is a fantastic time for birdwatching. If you see anything of interest please record it on Birdtrack.