Early birds


The days are getting longer, Blackbirds are singing in the evening, and the first Sand Martins and Swallows have already been reported: spring is on its way! Many of our resident birds are gearing up for the breeding season but some birds, despite the snow and ice in February, are ahead of the game.

  • Crossbills are typically early breeders, and a pair in Devon had started construction on their nest by 23rd January; by 21st February, their nest contained three large chicks.
  • A pair of Collared Doves on Anglesey had one chick on 6th February.

Collared Dove
Collared Dove, Lochwinnoch RSPB, Clyde (Photo: Joe Graham)

  • Seven Egyptian Goose goslings were in Kent on 13th February.
  • A pair of Tawny Owls had fledged young by the end of February.
  • Woodpigeons and Robins have also been reported with fledged young.
  • Nesting Mallards have been at various locations.
  • A Moorhen has been seen on a nest on the Grand Union Canal.

The pair of Tawny Owls featured in a previous blog post are themselves now on eggs.

(Video: BTO)

Of course, not all birds are ready to nest — in fact, plenty of birds aren't even back in the country yet! You can keep track of the latest arrivals on the BTO Migration Blog, and by keeping an eye on BirdGuides' Bird News Extra webpages.

Written by: BTO