December Bird Spotting
See best4hedging’s top species of bird to look out for in your garden this month.
Our natural landscapes are continuously changing, and as we constantly endure the loss of more and more natural spaces to urbanisation. The difference you can make to local bird populations, simply by creating a bird-friendly garden, is huge. It’s not only beneficial to the birds – the enjoyment you will get from identifying the various new species that begin to visit your garden, is a reward in itself.
The number and variety of birds you see is likely to be driven by the weather. The frosty airs see much excitement as greater numbers and variety of species go in search of food and water around your gardens…
1. House Sparrow
One of our most familiar garden birds. But one that has declined by over 65 per cent in the last 25 years. The sound of a flock chattering away in tuneless chirps is one of the most evocative natural sounds. Garden hedges and allotments could be key to its persistence in cities.
Another garden regular that has undergone an even steeper decline than the house sparrow. In winter the starling’s glossy, petrol-stain plumage is covered with a constellation of straw-coloured tips. In winter many of our starlings have travelled from the Baltic States and even Russia.
3. Blue tit
Acrobatic and colourful, blue tits are one of the most popular garden visitors. Their population has seen an upward trend since the 1970s. In winter they usually gather in large flocks with other species of tits.
Goldfinches are a modern success story with a huge increase since the mid-1980s, thought to be due in part to feeding in gardens. With ruby coloured faces, bright yellow flashes on the wings and musical twittering it’s easy to see why flocks are known as ‘charms’.
5. Wood pigeon
Another recent winner among garden bird, woodpigeons have white patches on their neck and wings. This, and their large size, separates them from other pigeons. Woodpigeons are cumbersome clumsy birds and will often hog the bird table hoovering up seed.
6. Long-tailed tit
Long-tailed tits are restlessly active, constantly communicative and as cute as a button. Formerly a bird of woodlands and hedges and a shy and irregular garden visitor, long-tailed tits have become garden favourites as they have increased in numbers and become bolder.
Taken from nationaltrust.org.uk
7. Help to breed birds…
Modern developments have created a lot of damage to animal habitats, including those of birds. So, we owe it to them to make our gardens bird-friendly and help our little feathered friends survive and breed successfully.
Find out how you can help to breed birds here.
- Keep plenty of food and water in the garden – birds and other wildlife need these extra supplies more than ever in the winter months.
- Check your bird baths and ponds haven’t frozen over. To prevent these freezing over place a ball in the centre of the bird bath to keep the water moving.
- Avoid pruning and raking the fallen leaves – the winter berries are a perfect food supply and the fallen leaves keep hibernating wildlife warm and sheltered.
Feeding garden birds in winter is one of the easiest ways to get close to wildlife and the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is a great way to contribute to citizen science from the comfort of your home.