Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Help your buntings!


Mild, still and rather wet before the big blow tomorrow! 

Harrington Airfield hosted up to five Grey Partridges this morning with plenty of common birds such as Chaffinch, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer coming down to the broadcast mixed seed.

A wet and grey Pitsford Reservoir continued to host the Red-necked Grebe today, the bird being visible just south of the causeway at 1.30pm (but seemingly not being visible earlier in the day). Two Redshanks also remain...

The commencement of the 'hunger gap' is about now whereby certain seed-eating birds struggle to find sufficient food to survive and/or remain in suitable condition for breeding. Modern farming practises, minimal and poor quality stubble and spent wild bird cover all add up to no food for birds such as buntings and finches. No new seed has been produced since the early autumn and won't be available again until early summer, so with the exhausted seed bank Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings rely very heavily on feed stations and gardens. Our garden is small and not to the liking of Yellowhammers, but several have been present during the last couple of weeks and are likely to increase in number as they come in for broadcast grain and seed.

If you want to maintain your local Yellowhammer population, why not think about starting your own open air feeding station, which with the permission of the landowner might be the edge of a field, a footpath or somewhere where you know there are already Yellowhammers?

Best of luck!

Neil M

Red-necked Grebe
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Reed Bunting.


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