Learn about birds

 

Blackbird

(Turdus merula)

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Identifying Features: Male: Black with yellow beak female: dark brown
Average Length: 24-25 cm
Average Lifespan: 3 Years
Average Wingspan: 35 - 38 cm

Feeding: Natural Insects, worms, cotoneaster berries & windfall fruit
How to feed: Ground feeders & bird tables
What to feed: Peanuts, mealworms, berries, apples, raisins

Nesting: Hedges & shrubs


Where to see: Widespread across the UK. Gardens, rural, lawns

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Song Thrush

(Turdus philomelos)

Identifying Features: Smaller than the mistle thrush and less upright when standing. The breast has arrow shaped spots.
Average Length: 23 cm
Average Lifespan: 3 years
Average Wingspan: 33 - 36 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Worms, insects, berries and snails
How to feed: Ground feeders
What to feed: Fruit, raisins & mealworms

Nesting: Shady place in a bush or tree, constructed from grass, twigs & earth.

Where to see: UK wide; woodlands, parks, hedgerows & gardens

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Pied Wagtail

(Motacilla alba)

Identifying Features: The pied (or white) wagtail is a dainty small, long-tailed and rather sprightly black and white bird. When not standing and frantically wagging its tail up and down it can be seen dashing about over lawns or car parks in search of food.
Average Length: 18 cm
Average Lifespan: 2 years
Average Wingspan: 25-30 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Flies, beetles, moths, caterpillars
How to feed: Using ground feeders is more likely to attract pied wagtails.

What to feed: In the autumn and winter, when insects are scarce, pied wagtails will come into gardens to feed on seeds.

Nesting: Pied Wagtails build their nest in holes in walls, buildings, or old nests of larger birds. Grass and mosses are used to construct the small cup-shaped nest.

They will use open-fronted nest boxes.

Where to see: Pied wagtails can be found across the UK, leaving some of the highland and northern areas of Scotland in winter. They are best looked for near water and can be found in most habitats, even town centres. They gather together in large roosts, sometimes in towns, often assembling on roofs beforehand.

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House Sparrow

(Passer domesticus)

Identifying Features: Male has a chestnut brown back with black streaks and a grey crown; female is paler and without the grey crown.
Average Length: 14 - 15 cm
Average Lifespan: 3 Years
Average Wingspan: 21 - 25 cm

Feeding: Natural. seeds, nuts, berries, buds, insects and scraps
How to feed: Bird tables
What to feed: Sunflower hearts, black sunflower seeds & seed mixtures

Nesting: Untidy, domed or cup shaped, but will use next boxes with a hole or communal nestboxes as well.

Where to see: Widespread across the UK. Towns, villages, farmland & countryside

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Robin

(Erithacus rubecula)

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Identifying Features: Red breast, brown body.

UK’s voted favourite bird


Average Length: 13 - 14cm
Average Lifespan: 2 Years
Average Wingspan: 20 - 22cm

Feeding:
Natural: Insects and worms, meal worms
How to feed: Ground feeders & bird tables
What to feed:  Meal worms, peanut granules, suet treats & cheese

 

Nesting: Open fronted nest boxes
Where to see: Widespread across the UK.  Hedges, gardens, woodland & parks

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Coal Tit

(Periparus ater)

Identifying Features: Smallest European tit; has a white patch on the nape.
Average Length: 11.5cm
Average Lifespan: 2 Years
Average Wingspan: 17-21 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Insects, seeds, black sunflowers seeds & sunflower hearts
How to feed: Hanging feeders
What to feed:  Peanuts, suet treats, seed mixes, sunflower hearts

 

Nesting: Hollow trees or mice holes; constructed of moss, wool, dead leaves & spider webs.

 

Where to see: UK Wide. Woodlands; especially conifers, parks & gardens

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Greenfinch

(Carduelis chloris)

Identifying Features: Mostly olive green with a yellow tinge to the underbelly with yellow to the outer wings.  Usually brighter in summer.
Average Length: 15cm
Average Lifespan: 2 Years
Average Wingspan: 25-28 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Seeds, wild fruit & berries
How to feed: Hanging feeders & bird tables
What to feed:  Sunflower hearts, black sunflower seeds, seed mixtures

 

Nesting: Usually in colonies in dense shrubs, constructed of twigs & grass lined with fine roots & hair

 

Where to see: Common UK birds found in woodland, hedges and gardens.

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Chaffinch

(Fringilla coelebs)

Identifying Features: Double white wing bars; male has a pinkish peach breast with a blue grey crown & nape. Female has grey brown underparts
Average Length: 14.5cm
Average Lifespan: 3 Years
Average Wingspan: 24.5-28.5 cm


Feeding:
Natural: Seeds, beech-masts & grain
How to feed: Ground feeders & bird tables
What to feed:  Mixed seeds, sunflower hearts, peanut granules

 

Nesting: In a fork of trees or shrubs; cup nest made of moss, grass, feathers & hair bound with spiders webs

 

Where to see: Widespead across the UK; usually found in hedgerows, woodlands, fields & parks

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Great Tit

(Parus major)

Identifying Features: Largest of the tit family, with a black crown, nape & throat.  The belly is yellow with a black stipe.  Males have a broader stipe on the belly than the female
Average Length: 14 cm
Average Lifespan: 3 Years
Average Wingspan: 22-25 cm

Feeding:
Natural: caterpillars and spiders, seeds & berries
How to feed: Hanging feeders
What to feed: Peanuts, suet treats, mixed seeds, sunflower hearts

 

Nesting: Cup nest made from moss, down & grass. Frequently use nest boxes with the larger hole.

 

Where to see: Widespread across the UK; usually found in gardens, parks & woodland.

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Blue Tit

(Cyanistes caeruleus)

Identifying Features: Bight blue head cap and dark blue eye stripe with yellow belly
Average Length: 11.5cm
Average Lifespan: 3 Years
Average Wingspan: 17.5-20 cm


Feeding:
Natural: Caterpillars and seeds. In springtime they feed also on pollen, nectar and sap, and in the autumn on berries.
How to feed them: Hanging feeders
What:  Peanuts, suet cakes, seed mixes, sunflower hearts & seeds


Nesting: Small nest box with 25mm hole

 

Where to see: Widespread across the UK. Gardens, parks & woodland

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Long Tailed Tit

(Aegithalos caudatus)

Identifying Features: Black & white with a pinkish underbelly; tail is very long (over half the length of the bird)
Average Length: 15cm
Average Lifespan: 2 Years
Average Wingspan: 17-19 cm


Feeding:
Natural: Insects & their larvae, spiders & berries
How to feed: Hanging feeders & bird tables
What to feed:  Peanuts, peanut cakes, cheese, suet treats

 

Nesting: Usually in hedges, bushes, trees & brambles, made of moss, feathers, hairs & spiders webs.

 

Where to see: UK wide apart from far North West Scotland.  Usually found in farmland, shrub land, woodland and gardens

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Collared Dove

(Streptopelia decaocto)

Identifying Features: Collared doves are a pale, pinky-brown grey colour, with a distinctive black neck collar (as the name suggests). They have deep red eyes and reddish feet.
Average Length: 31-33 cm
Average Lifespan: 3 years
Average Wingspan: 47-55 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Cereal grains and smaller seeds, berries, shoots
How to feed: Bird tables, ground feeder, but they are increasingly managing to feed from hanging bird feeders, especially if seed trays are fitted.
What to feed:   Small bird seed and grains

 

Nesting: Like all pigeons, they use a flimsy platform of twigs in a tree, but sometimes on a building.
Where to see: Collared doves can be seen just about anywhere, but often around towns and villages. They're common visitors to gardens. 

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Starling

(Sturnus vulgaris)

Identifying Features: Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings, starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens.
Average Length: 22 cm
Average Lifespan: 5 years
Average Wingspan: 37 – 42 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Insects, spiders, worms and fruit
How to feed: Bird tables, feeders
What to feed:  Starlings seem to feed on just about anything: berries, fruit, scraps, suet. However, they feed only invertebrates - not "junk" food - to their young


Nesting: The male builds the nest from grass in a hole in a wall, tree or building, but the female lines it with feathers, wool and moss. The male may decorate the nest with leaves and petals in order to deter parasites and improve his chances of attracting a mate.

 

Where to see: Starlings are conspicuous and widespread in the UK, occurring everywhere except for the highest parts of the Scottish Highlands. They are most abundant in southern England and are more thinly distributed in upland areas with moorland. Still one of the UK's commonest garden birds. In winter, huge roosts can be found in plantations, reedbeds and city centres. 

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Dunnock

(Prunella modularis)

Identifying Features: Also known as a hedge sparrow.  Looks like a dull grey sparrow.  The black beak is finer than a sparrow’s
Average Length: 14.5cm
Average Lifespan: 2 Years
Average Wingspan: 19 - 21cm

Feeding:
Natural:  Beetles and ants, and spiders, seeds and berries
How to feed: Ground feeders
What to feed:  Sunflower hearts, mixed seeds, cheese

 

Nesting: In dense shrubs & hedges; cup-shaped made of moss & twigs & lined with moss & hair

 

Where to see: Widespread across the UK.  Woodland, farmland, parks & gardens. Usually seen on the ground close to cover.

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Wren

(Troglodytes troglodytes)

Identifying Features: Rich brown in colour with a short cocked tail which they repeatedly flick
Average Length: 9 - 10cm
Average Lifespan: 2 years
Average Wingspan: 13 - 17cm

Feeding:
Natural: Spiders and insects
How to feed: Ground feeders & bird tables
What to feed:  Cheese, mealworms, peanut granules, suet treats

 

Nesting: Globe shaped nests in walls, banks & trees.  Will use open fronted nest boxes for nesting & roosting too.

 

Where to see: UK wide found in woodlands & gardens.

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Wood Pigeon

(Columba palumbus)

Identifying Features: Largest pigeon in the UK. Mainly grey with white neck and wing patches. 
Average Length: 38-44 cm
Average Lifespan: up to 15 years
Average Wingspan: 68-80 cm


Feeding:
Natural: Vegetable shoots and leaves, berries, nuts, seeds
How to feed: Bird tables, ground feeder
What to feed:  Bird seed and grains

Nesting: Like all pigeons, they use a flimsy platform of twigs in a tree, but sometimes on a building.

 

Where to see: Can be seen just about anywhere, but often around towns and villages. They're common visitors to gardens. 

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Goldfinch

(Carduelis carduelis)

Goldfinch.jpg

Identifying Features: Mixture of red, white & black on the head with a golden brown body & bright yellow wing bars.
Average Length: 12 cm
Average Lifespan: 2 years
Average Wingspan: 21-25 cm

Feeding:
Natural: Seeds, fruits & insects
How to feed: Hanging feeders
What to feed:  Niger seeds, sunflower hearts, mixed seeds

 

Nesting: Usually constructed in a tree towards the branch.  Made of moss, grass & lichen.

 

Where to see: UK wide; often found by seeding plants in parks and gardens.

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