Thursday, March 06, 2008

February Bird List

great titBirds I have seen from my house in February 2008:









  • Blue tits (some are inspecting the nesting box on the wall of the house)

  • Great tits

  • Crows

  • Woodpigeons

  • Robins

  • Sparrows

  • Dunnocks

  • Wrens

  • Blackbirds

  • Magpies

  • Jays

  • Starlings

  • Canada geese (NEW - didn't see these in January)

  • Pheasant (NEW - didn't see these in January either)


That's 14 species. Birds I saw in January that I didn't see again in February include long-tailed tits, woodpecker, gulls, herons, nuthatch, chaffinch. But didn't spend as much time birdwatching this month. So they were probably there, I just wasn't looking out of the window at the right time.

It was only a few years ago I decided I wanted to be able to identify all the birds that frequent my garden. I'm not a dedicated "twitcher". I have no interest in going to some desolate spot and sitting in a little camouflage tent in the driving rain in the hope of spotting some rare bird.

But I was delighted at how quickly I learned to identify my local garden birds. It was quite strange; I would have told you that I didn't get many birds in my garden, and most of them were all the same - a mass of small similar brown birds. But when I started watching I realised there were quite a few birds I could already identify - robins, blackbirds, magpies etc. And the "little brown jobs" eventually separated themselves out into sparrows (male and female quite distinct), chaffinches (again males and females are different), dunnocks, wrens and a few other things. Blue tits and great tits stymied me at first but now they look totally different, I don't understand why I found it so hard to tell them apart. Woodpigeons and collared doves also confused me for a while. And I don't know why it took me so long to decide whether the big black things I could see were crows, rooks or jackdaws - they're quite different from each other when you know what to look for. But I still can't tell gulls apart at all. And there's a little grey-and-white fellow I see sometimes who is either a marsh tit or a willow tit, but in every book I've read they look completely identical to me so I've no idea how to decide which one he is.

If you can't already identify your neighbourhood birds, I recommend you get a good bird book and start keeping a monthly list. It's not hard. It seems hard at first but once you've identified a regular visitor you never have to do it again. It's free. It's not time-consuming. I do it whilst I'm doing other things, the washing up, for example. And it's a lovely skill to have.

15 comments:

GardenJoy4Me said...

Bean Sprouts !
You have me thinking about this too now ! .. I'm glad you got to see our geese (Canadian EH !) haha
I have a friend nnear Shropshire and she sends me nice pictures of birds she has seen in her garden.
Great post and ideas !
Joy

Joyce said...

What I love about watching birds is that they sort of have their own parallel universe, with families, neighbors that get along and don't get along, and political parties that stand and jeer at each other. And they pay no attention to us at all. It's a good reality check-we're not the only thing happening on this planet!

Lily said...

I noticed this morning blue tits building a nest in a box I had put up. It really feels like Spring has come, especially with the morning bird song. Enjoy the blog no end !

Yellow said...

The other thing on my list is to learn about British trees. Like birds, they look different in spring, summer, autumn and winter. And also, like birds, once I start I bet I find that I already know a few by sight. Okay, that's my spring task.

allotment5andahalf said...

in the last week, i've seen a barn owl and hawks over my allotment.

Chile said...

My sweetie spotted a Turkey Vulture during his lunch walk this past week. Sure sign of spring in our area.

Eigon said...

I think, if I remember right, that you can only tell marsh tits and willow tits apart by their song!

Anonymous said...

Eigon is right - the Marsh tit and Willow tit are easiest to distinguish by their calls. The Willow tit has a clear, bright 'tsew-tsew-tsew-tsew' call. The Marsh tit is a more complex 'pi-tchew' or 'pi-tchuwuwuwu'. Of course, they each make plenty of other sounds too.

See Collins Field Guide Bird Songs and Calls for a fuller description and even some recordings on CD.

alf

SurvivalTopics.com said...

I've heard tell its just about spring, but in my neck of the woods winter keeps its icy grip until about May 1.

Did see a chipmunk out and about yesterday in 20F raiding sunflower seeds from the chickadees.

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