Nature Connections 5
Spring is such a positive and busy time in nature and birds are no exception. If you stay still and quiet for a moment (you could make it today’s Sit Spot), listen carefully and you will be amazed at the different bird songs you can hear. This is because it is the heart of the breeding season and so the male birds everywhere are singing to attract a mate to then build a nest and breed together. This is the inspiration for today’s activities. I have just been outside for my Sit Spot and taken this photo of the birds I saw- nature photography is not as easy as you might think! I saw a pair of goldfinch sitting in my neighbours tree (they are one of my favourite birds), lots of carrion crows, herring gulls flying overhead and a gorgeous little blue tit in my neighbours plum tree, amongst the blossom.
For everyone, wherever you are – a bird song Sit Spot.
Find a comfortable spot to sit, stay still and close your eyes (if you are inside, open the window and sit close to it). Listen to the bird calls; you may not be able to identify which bird is singing but you could try counting how many different birds you can hear). Usually the larger the bird, the deeper the bird song. The most common birds you may hear are the loud cawing of crows, the coo of the wood pigeon, the tuneful, bright song of the blackbird and one for anyone living near the sea is the herring gull (this is the correct name for what most of us know to be seagulls). How many of these or other birds can you hear or see from your window, garden or while you are out and about?
Out and about – bird watching
If you have a pair of binoculars, take them with you when you go on your walk today. Keep an ear and eye out for any birds and when you see them stop and watch closely. A good idea is to try to camouflage yourself so the birds are not disturbed by you and you can watch them for longer. Remember to stand still and do not look at the sun when using binoculars. Stop and be still and quiet (this means the birds are less likely to fly off) and watch what they are doing. What colour are they, what size are they and are they alone or in a group? Can you identify the bird? You can always take a photo on your phone if you are close enough and have a look in a bird book or on the RSPB website when you are home to try to identify it.
In the garden – bird watching (as above) or build a nest.
Why not try building your own bird’s nest? Gather as many natural resources from what you find in the garden. If like me your adult isn’t much of a gardener, you might be lucky enough to discover some sticky weed growing around the wild edges of your garden. This is excellent nest building ‘glue’ as it helps hold the other materials together. Look out for long grass, thin/bendy sticks and twigs, soft moss for lining the nest and any comfy looking leaves. Remember to avoid picking anything that is growing on a bush or tree. Can you also try making mud eggs to go inside your nest? If you wanted a real challenge, try building a nest using only your thumb and index finger as a ‘beak’. Not as easy as you might think! These birds are extremely skilful.
Inside at home – bird windows.
Here is a great activity I found on Sussex Wildlife Trust’s website. They have lots of good ideas in their ‘Go Wild at Home’ section. This activity helps birds avoid flying into windows. Follow the steps on the activity sheet below.