We see wild birds all the time – in gardens, perched on buildings, soaring high in the sky… but how much do we really know about the species all around us?
Find out some interesting bird facts here which will leave you all of a flutter:
Did you know… building nests takes a while?
Long-tailed tits take up to three weeks to build a unique-shaped nest made of moss, spiders’ webs and lichens, lined with 1,500 or more feathers. The nest is usually shaped a little like a bottle with a roof. The entrance hole is commonly toward the top of the nest.
Did you know…wild birds are protected?
All wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (and its subsequent amendments). This means it is an offence to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built.
It is also an offence to take or destroy an egg of any wild bird or to kill, injure or take them.
More than 80 species of rare birds, including barn owls and kingfishers, are also under special protection through Schedule 1 of the Act, which states it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb a wild bird while it is building a nest or when it is in or near a nest with eggs or young.This also protects the dependent young of these birds from being disturbed.
Did you know…how many species of wild bird there are in Britain?
There are more than 500 species of wild birds that live in or visit the British Isles, with 200 of these breeding regularly. Some of these bird populations – such as house sparrows and starlings – have been rapidly declining.
Did you know… wrens are quite handy?
Male wrens impress potential mates by building up to five or six nests within their territory. The hen then usually adds the interior décor by lining the chosen nest with feathers.
Did you know… there are lots of different types of nest?
While many of us may believe we know what bird nests look like, there is actually a great deal of variation in the types and location of birds’ nests – dependent on particular species.
While nests are generally used to provide shelter and protection for the eggs and young from unfavourable weather and predators, there is less uniformity in how these look.
Nests can be shallow scrapes in the ground, prepared by waders such as the curlew, or simple twig platforms used by woodpigeons and collared doves, however most garden birds construct cup-shaped nests to hide their eggs from view.
Starlings and tits also use holes in trees for more protection and to reduce the risk of eggs or young falling out, while puffins make use of empty rabbit burrows for cliff-top nesting.