News archive

May 2021

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Ring-necked Parakeet

Ring-necked Parakeet

Ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) has recently been sighted in the Handbridge and Upton areas of Chester.

Also known as rose-ringed Parakeet. The UK's only naturalised parrot - it is large, long-tailed and green with a red beak and a pink and black ring around its face and neck. In-flight, it has pointed wings, a long tail and a very steady, direct flight. Often found in flocks, numbering hundreds at a roost site, it can be very noisy.

The rose-ringed parakeet is sexually dimorphic. The adult male sports a red and black neck ring, and the hen and immature birds of both sexes either show no neck rings or display shadow-like pale to dark grey neck rings. Both sexes have a distinctive green colour in the wild and captive-bred ringnecks have multiple colour mutations which include turquoise, cinnamon, olive, white, blue, violet, grey and yellow. Rose-ringed parakeets measure on average 40 cm (16 in) in length, including the tail feathers, a large portion of their total length. Their average single-wing length is about 15 to 17.5 cm (5.9 to 6.9 in). In the wild, this is a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call. Captive individuals can be taught to speak. They are herbivorous and non-migratory species.

What they eat:
Seeds, fruit, flowers; in Britain more omnivorous, also coming to bird tables.

Length: 38-42 cm
Wingspan: 42-48 cm
Weight: 96-139 g

It is estimated that in 2016, there are 12,000 breeding pairs in Britain over the summer. The first recorded pair in the UK was in Kent in 1969. The first breeding record was in Surrey in 1971.

Ringing records suggest the bird can live up to nearly 9 years.

A serious agricultural pest in Africa and southern Asia, its colonisation has been aided by warm winters and abundant bird-table food but sadly, neither Jimi Hendrix nor Humphrey Bogart played a role; British birds are the most northerly breeding parrots in the world.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Reed warbler singing in reedbed

International Dawn Chorus Day 2021

Were you up late and missed International Dawn Chorus Day

Well not to worry because the RSPB has made available a recording on their YouTube channel. Click on the link and listen. There are over 4 hours of it...

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Dunnock on grass

2021: the year a million of you joined forces to help nature

In the Big Garden Birdwatch of 2021, the birds took a back seat and let you take the spotlight. You being the incredible 1 million people that got involved and helped us with our vital work in monitoring how garden birds are faring across the UK. Across the country, the nation peered through their windows on a gloomy January weekend to count 17 million birds - many of which were being noticed for the first time.

During the past year, nature has given us so much joy and solace despite difficult times and it has been uplifting to see just how many people have become captivated by the nature around them.

The record-breaking response to our Big Garden Birdwatch may prove that the wildlife found on our doorsteps can spark a nature connection that can last a lifetime but the results tell a story for birds too: nature needs your help.

While many of us are familiar with the garden birds featured in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch top ten, there are a few similar species that live and breed in our wider countryside that need your help. While you may not have heard of them, these species are in trouble. Known as habitat specialists, meaning they need specific habitats to breed and feed in, these lesser-known birds are not as adaptable to change as many of our garden birds. We have been taking conservation action to help protect them:

Willow Tit -Willow tits are a woodland specialist species and show the second biggest decline of any common and widespread English bird, with the population falling by 94% since 1970. They need young woodlands with dead wood in which to nest and raise young but these pockets of suitable habitat are becoming smaller and more fragmented, making it hard for populations to thrive. We are working to protect them through projects like Back from the Brink, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Turtle Dove - The UK's only migratory dove, turtle doves were once a familiar sight across our countryside but their numbers have fallen drastically. In 1970, there were 100 turtle doves for every two found in England today: a staggering 98% population reduction. These beautifully patterned doves need thick, tall, hedgerows in which to nest and they feed on native wildflower seed that is becoming much harder to find in the countryside. They still have breeding strongholds in southern and eastern England but need all the help they can get to survive. You can find out more about the work we are doing to help safeguard this species through Operation Turtle Dove.

Ring Ouzel - Known as the 'Mountain Blackbird', these shy, charismatic birds breed in the northern uplands but are struggling to find the habitat they need to thrive due to changes in land management. Their UK range shrank by 27% between 1970 and 1990, which is why we are managing breeding habitat for them on several our upland reserves and working with local communities to offer land management advice.

But how can you help?

Our conservation work spans a range of species far wider than these three birds. From mammals to insects and reptiles to birds, here at the RSPB we work to help protect, maintain and restore special places and species but we could not do this without your help.

Joining us in our mission to ensure nature and wildlife are here to enjoy for generations to come can cost as little as £5 a month, with our members already helping us to reverse the fortunes of many of our treasured species and wild spaces. By joining us as a member, your donation will help to fund our work:

Maintaining, restoring and growing our network of nature reserves for wildlife and for people.
Finding practical solutions to the most pressing conservation problems, whether it is working out how to save a species on the verge of extinction or restoring a destroyed rainforest, through our centre for conservation science.
Providing inspiring nature-rich experiences for a range of local community groups including the next generation of conservationists and nature lovers.
Working with farmers, landowners and local communities to advise them on how their efforts can help nature through land management practices.

Whether you're completely new to experiencing nature or you're already an avid explorer of all things wild, becoming a member of the RSPB means that you can grow your nature connection at any of our 220 reserves across the country for free, as a thank you for regularly supporting our nature conservation work. What's more, you'll receive our fantastic Nature's Home magazine four times a year, packed with stunning photography, nature-watching tips and advice on wildlife gardening for when you're looking for more inspiration.

As a charity, we're here to bridge the gap between you and the nature that needs your support. The task of saving nature might be a large one and the need to revive our world great but with your help, we can continue fighting the climate and ecological emergency.