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Spring Birdsong: How to Identify Garden Birds from their Song

Spring Birdsong: How to Identify Garden Birds from their Song

The sound of birdsong is one of the first welcome signs that spring has sprung. Our trees, our hedgerows and our gardens are once again noisy with the warbling and calling of birds.

Each bird species has its own unique song. Here are a few pointers on how to identify them:

Robin
You may have heard the robins in your garden singing their high-pitched trill all the way through winter. During the spring and summer, their song takes on a little more gusto. They tend to sing first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. At dusk and dawn most other songbirds are roosting so robins get the stage to themselves.

Listen to the song of the robin here.

Great Tit
The great tit starts singing early in the spring. Its song is hard-sounding, with two sharp notes – higher and then lower – repeated again and again. Because great tits love to visit bird feeders, it’s often possible to see as well as hear them singing.

Listen to the song of the great tit here.

Wren
Despite its small size, the wren has a powerful set of lungs. If you catch sight of it singing, you’ll see its whole body vibrating with the power of its song. Its calls are loud and warbling and easy to recognise even though they’re so varied.  

Listen to the song of the wren here.

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaffs are some of the first migrant birds to arrive in the UK in the spring. And they stick around until the end of the summer. The chiffchaff has a gentle, plodding song that sounds just like its name.

Listen to the song of the chiffchaff here.

Blackbird
Blackbirds are year-round singers. They can sometimes be heard singing quietly in the undergrowth during winter months. But it’s from spring until the end of July (the end of the breeding season) when you’re most likely to hear its full-throated song. Blackbird song is varied, rich and flute-like, often ending with a few squeaky, high-pitched notes.

Listen to the song of the blackbird here.

Chaffinch
The chaffinch is another bird with great variety in its song. Typical characteristics, however, include a loud trill that descends into a little flourish at the end. The noise can be remembered with the phrase, "chip chip chip chooee chooee cheeoo".

Listen to the song of the chaffinch here.

See if you can distinguish a few garden birds from their song this spring. Recognising the species that visit your garden will help you to provide the right food. And give you lots of enjoyment too.

How to Look After Your Garden Wildlife in July

How to Look After Your Garden Wildlife in July

How to Look After Your Garden Wildlife in July

During the height of summer your garden is likely to be in full bloom – bursting with beautiful colour and scent. There’s also lots of wildlife about. Here are a few tips for looking after your garden wildlife in July:

Frogs
Baby frogs are likely to be making an appearance around now. Plant foliage or leave long grass around your pond to provide them with shelter from predators.

Hedgehogs
Baby hedgehogs are also on the move in July. They like meat-based cat or dog food and water. Providing these things will give them the extra food they need to prepare for hibernation in the autumn.

Birds
Avoid trimming your hedges until you’re sure there are no birds nesting there. Blackbirds and thrushes can nest as late as August. Also, keep your bird bath topped up with water on warmer days to provide drinking water.

Bees
Wildflower weeds such as daisies and dandelions provide a good source of nectar for bees. Leave areas of your lawn for these plants to grow. Also consider planting bee friendly biennials that will flower next year.

Plants
Your plants and flowers are a lifeline for bees and butterflies. Be sure to give them plenty of water during dry spells to keep them fighting fit.

Looking after your garden wildlife in August

Looking after your garden wildlife in August

Water, Water Everywhere

Water is often much needed in the dry days of August. So fill up your bird bath or just pop a plastic bowl of water out. For the birds make sure it is somewhere high up so they can spot predators. For hedgehogs and other ground animals pop a little saucer of water out and keep topped up.

Sleepy Birds

You might feel your garden is a bit quiet this month. That is because the birds are sleepy! Many are moulting - an annual shedding of their feathers to get them ready for winter months.