Summer Drinks in the Garden? Keep those Bird Baths topped up for guests!

August 9, 2018

Out with Summer Visitors and looking out for Winter Arrivals

August 9, 2018

August: When Garden Birds Start to Wander Further Afield

August 9, 2018
Migrating Barnacle Geese in Flight

August may be the quietest month of the year for bird song but it can be an interesting month for garden birds. For most garden birds the breeding season is over and many are losing old feathers and growing new ones in a process called moult. This loss of feathers is why many birds seem to go missing in August as they not as mobile so choose to spend longer periods of time in safe cover.

August is the month when many of our birds will start wandering and unfamiliar and exciting species can turn up in the garden. All of our regular summer visitors begin to feed up to make their journeys south to wherever they spend the winter, for some this might be as close as Spain, others will travel much further and could spend the winter months in South Africa!

As they feed and start moving away from their breeding territories they often move into different habitats and many may pass through gardens searching for food on their journeys south so it is a very good time to keep an eye on feeders and garden shrubbery for anything unusual amongst your usual garden birds.

Some birds like the Cuckoo have already left and made their migration over the Sahara towards central Africa where they spend the winter. Many others however will remain for several more weeks making the most of the northern summer before departing. Even our resident species will begin to move around in August, it could be one of the best month's of the year to discover a Coal Tit, Nuthatch or Chiffchaff in your garden.

It could be an adult looking to move outside an area where they've used up most of the natural food or a juvenile making the first steps away from the nest territory to seek out food and discover suitable areas to spend the winter. Making sure you have feeders well-stocked during August may even result in resident species like Coal Tits hanging about your garden and the nearby area for weeks or months over-winter if they find a good easy food supply!

Here's a handy guide to the three garden wanderers that might make it to your garden feeders in August.

Coal Tit

The Coal Tit population has expanded in a big way in recent years due to the abundance of their preferred habitat – pine plantations. Individuals that breed in pine plantations on higher ground often move into lowland and gardens, particularly ones with conifers during the winter.
Look out for the white patch at the back of the head and white cheeks and the double white-wingbar on the steely-grey upper parts of the smallest of Britain's true tit species.

 

 

Nuthatch

Another resident that is continuing to expand north and slowly colonise Scotland Nuthatches can often be attracted to garden feeders. They are a little feisty and often chase other Nuthatches out of a territory including their own young and it is often these young birds or juveniles that can pop up on a garden bird feeder unexpectedly. With it's blue-grey back and tail and long black eye stripe as well as it's acrobatics Nuthatches are easily recognised as there re no other similar species in Britain.

Chiff Chaff

A summer migrant that has done well in recent years this small leaf warbler is increasingly wintering in Britain and can turn up in gardens on migration anywhere. While in Spring they sing and feed high in the canopy they will feed in low vegetation and can even sometimes be seen catching spiders from a washing line or other prominent perch in gardens.
A small buff-yellow warbler with a pale eyebrow, generally dark legs, listen for the single often repeated 'hweet' call and watch for the tail pumping down as it feeds among the leaves.

 

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