This weekend has been the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. We have been keeping an eye out for the birds in our gardens and have seen a few cheeky Robins, a couple of Blackbirds, a Starling and one beautiful Buzzard. We also are very lucky that we can enjoy the birds at the natural burial grounds and we thought it might be nice to share with you some of the birds you may see if you visit and a few facts we have found out about them.
You can find Robins across all of our natural burial grounds. They are very inquisitive and clever, and can be quite cheeky and nosy and if you are digging in your garden they are sure to be nearby. They are associated with Christmas and we recently found out about a lovely little Christmas tale of why the Robin has it's red breast. As the tale goes, a little Robin protected the baby Jesus while he was in the manger and the heat of the fire that had been lit got too hot, so it flew in front and puffed out it's chest and that's how they got their little red chest.
Buzzards are one of commonest birds of prey & can be found at all our natural burial grounds. One interesting fact we found out was they now breed in every county in England, Wales and Scotland for the first time in 200 years. We have a regular visitor at Pembrokeshire who is often seen flying over the meadow. Winter can be the best time of year to see birds of prey especially, at Delliefure. They are very advantageous & when it comes to mowing the meadow will fly overhead and keep close so they can swoop down to find their dinner in the freshly cut grass.
Blue tits can be found all year around and you should be able to see these colourful little birds at all our natural burial grounds, we saw quite a few in the summer. They stay close to where they are hatched and can be quite versatile little creatures nesting in a variety of situations, including holes in trees, birdboxes and even letterboxes and street lamps. Anything with a small hole that will provide good protection from rivals and raiders will do.
Starlings have beautiful spotted bellies and were once abundant but have suffered in recent years with a population decline. Starlings can often be seen in beautiful clusters flying over the natural burial grounds before going to roost. They have beautiful bird song, but one very interesting fact we found out was that they are also fantastic at mimicking other noises including other birds and our man-made mechanical sounds.
Peregrine Falcons can be found across the UK and like to live in open countryside, but like to make their nests in high positions, including cliff sides and quarries, and some of our taller buildings which offer a great alternative. You may catch a glimpse of these at any of our natural burials grounds we have seen them flying at Henley-On-Thames. Something we found, out which we thought was fantastic, was that they are the fastest creatures on the planet.
We have seen lots of black birds on our bird watch. The male black birds have distinctly glossy black feathers however the females are a beautiful brown. Black birds can be found all year around and are very territorial when they are nesting. They are very attentive parents which we found out first hand when we got to watch them nesting on an old log pile. They make beautiful nests of twigs, grass, straw and mud.
At Henley on Thames Woodland Burial Ground you may see Red Kites flying overhead. They live across the UK and their reintroduction in England and Scotland over the last 20 years has been a success after they were previously hunted and persecuted and their population greatly diminished. They are scavenger birds which will tidy up left over carrion. In the past were valued in towns and cities because they helped to keep the streets clean, so you could say they are the natures street cleaners.
These a just of few of the birds that you may see at our natural burial grounds, there are also lots of others you may see. We would love to hear in our comments if you have spotted any particular birds at one of our natural burial grounds that we can add to this blog. We are always delighted to see pictures of the wildlife enjoying our burial grounds too and welcome any wildlife photos and posts on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Leedamnaturalburials
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