This weekend is the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch and it’s celebrating it’s 40th birthday! Here are some amazing facts about birds and which birds you are most likely to see, based on which part of the UK you live.
9 Amazing Facts About Birds
The UK’s only naturalised parrot, the exotic green, ring-necked parakeet can be seen flying wild in London’s parks. The RSPB estimates there are now 8,600 breeding pairs in the UK. No-one is quite sure how they got here!
While exotic birds are still kept as pets in the UK, UK law prevents wild British birds from being caught and sold or kept as pets, which is why you won’t see them in any other country.
There are 408 species of birds found in the UK.
Blackbirds can inherit a condition called ‘partial albinism’ from their parents, which results in some of their feathers being white instead of black. The RSPB receive regular calls from confused members of the public about these birds that look like a blackbird in every way but one…!
Due to global warming, migratory birds are arriving and breeding in the UK earlier than they used to. Swallows now arrive in the UK 15 days earlier and breed 11 days earlier than they did in the 1960s.
Birds that prefer warmer climes, like the garganey, quail and little egret, are benefiting from climate change and their populations increasing. Others, who do better in cooler conditions, like the dotterel, whimbrel and common scoter, are in decline.
Barn owls can raise up to 11 eggs in a single brood. The greatest known age for a barn owl in the whole of Europe is 21 years. Old enough to get a key to the front door.
There are three types of woodpecker in the UK – green, the greater spotted and lesser spotted. In spring and summer, the RSPB frequently receives calls from people who are convinced they have a middle spotted woodpecker in their garden, but this is because young greater spotted woodpeckers look like middle spotted woodpeckers (native to France) until they’ve matured.
The yellow wagtail is a summer visitor to the UK, flying over 7,000 miles to Africa in the winter. Large declines in breeding numbers across Britain place them on the red list for conservation concerns.
Common birds by region UK
North East: House Sparrow
North West: Dunnock
East Midlands: Collared dove
West Midlands: Bullfinch
East of England: Brambling
South East: Wren
South West: Blue tit