Wednesday 18th March
Click to play Read by Matthew
This is probably the best time of year to identify birds - for many reasons! Only evergreen trees have their leaves so birds are easy to see in deciduous trees. Spring is the time of year that birds look their best because they are have their best plumage ready to impress one another during the breeding season. If you cannot see a bird, but can hear it singing this is one of the best ways to identify birds! Did you know that bird species have their own voice? When we pick up the phone, or hear somebody call our name, we can make a good guess about which human being is calling us. Birds are similar. Each type of bird has its own voice, and during Spring the males are singing their wonderful variety of songs to do two things; the male sings to attract a female - he is showing off how strong and clever he is. He is also showing how strong and clever he is to any rivals in the area that may wish to try to take over his territory. It's a bit like X-factor for birds or "The Voice" but without Tom Jones!
If you want to know more about identifying birds by their colour or song there is a great amount of information on the RSPB's website. To start off look up "Great tit" which is a bird that lives in the UK in high numbers and in a wide variety of habitats - garden, woodland, hedgerows. Listen to its song "Tea-cher, tea-cher, tea-cher" that also sounds like a bicycle pump "whistling air in and out"
Next time you are outside listen for "Tea-cher, tea-cher, tea-cher"!
Other birds that have songs that are fairly easy to learn and recognise are Blackbird (loud and strong tune from the top of a tree) Blue Tit (high pitched quick twitter) Starlings are brilliant mimics they will put "everyday" sounds into their song - door bells, phone rings, cars beeping. Starlings also do a "bomb drop" whistle! Try putting descriptions to bird songs that you hear to help you remember them.