Meet the Eurasian common cuckoo bird and the North American brown-headed cowbird, both brood parasites. As a boy many years ago in northern England, I pursued a little brown bird called a hedge sparrow, flicking its tail and shuffling through dense bramble undergrowth and […]
Author of She Wore A Yellow Dress
Eurasian/common teal bird (male) The first Eurasian teal bird I ever saw was a flock flying south over the sea at Spurn Point, Yorkshire, in England, presumably on their way to wintering grounds around the Mediterranean or closer. The identification of this small duck […]
Dotterel, a small plover, and a word in Britain used to describe a person easily deceived, stupid or gullible; why?
As a small wader and member of the plover family of birds, the dotterel is known for its friendly, sweet and trusting behavior towards humans. As a result, it is easily caught, was hunted for sport, eaten by royalty as a delicacy during English Tudor […]
Eurasian Siskin Male The “siskin” is a genus of small, lively finches named using the old German word “zeischen”, meaning “whistler” or “chirper”, and in parts of the UK the birds have been nicknamed “aberdevines”, possibly to describe our habit of feasting on seed-cones […]
The European goldfinch, a native of Europe, North Africa and western and central Asia, is honored for its bright red face that extends from just behind the eye to the beak. Legend has it that the bird came across a suffering Jesus carrying his cross […]
Which bird is called A Woosell (ouzel) Cocke by William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or as a colly (calling) bird on the Fourth Day of Christmas, or announced in a farewell song published in 1926, or was rumored to die if it ate pomegranates. Today, it is the national bird of Sweden, has as its cousin, the American Robin, and 24 of them feature in a nursery rhyme.
We are members of the Thrush family and love our life in Britain, so much so that 6 million pairs stay close to their breeding grounds nationwide throughout the year, and are joined in winter by fellow blackbirds from elsewhere in Europe. Across Europe, the […]
Which British bird is supposed to have influenced the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and is the name given to Alabama’s state bird?
In Britain, the Eurasian yellowhammer (member of the bunting genus of birds) is famous for its countryside presence, and identified by a distinctive song, as well as the color of its feathers. We are sparrow-sized and males display a brightly-colored yellow head and yellowish underparts, […]
Which British bird was killed and imprisoned in cages due to its habit of attacking the blossom of commercial fruit trees?
We are a small, colorful European bird and member of the finch family, known as the Eurasian bullfinch, about 15cm (six inches) in length, and weigh around one and a half ounces (35 grams). Our name reflects our bull-headed appearance. You will see us in […]
The current global pandemic reminds me of an early birdwatching experience at Spurn Point Bird Observatory in Yorkshire, England where I visited for several days during October 1962. There were no communications with the outside world, and on the day I left the Observatory, I […]
Which species of large Atlantic gull is sometimes nicknamed the “minister” or “coffin-bearer”, presumably because of the color of its plumage?
We great black-backed gulls are the largest gull you will ever see, slow and heavy in flight and often hunched up and threatening on the ground. Expect to see us individually or in small colonies along the northern shorelines of the North Atlantic and adjacent […]
Which British bird Required a UK Law to Stop it Being Eaten as a Countryside Delicacy and its Eggs taken for Cooking?
I am a lapwing, also known as a “peewit” because of my distinctive call. Unfortunately, the lapwing has become a casualty of changing British farming practices that have caused loss of habitat and a reduced food supply due to less rotational farming, new tillage and […]
Which British Bird used to peck the tin foil off milk bottles to get to the cream after they were delivered by the milkman?
I am the blue tit, with the word “tit” derived from the Old Norse word meaning tiny. We are common in Britain and most parts of Europe. Our appearance is as a small, very active and dainty bird (12cm/4.5 inches in length), often hanging upside […]
50 percent of Bird Species are dimorphic (distinct differences in appearance between the sexes); usually it is the male that is better-looking, but there are exceptions.
I am a red-necked phalarope, known as the peerie (small) duck in the Shetland Isles, and a species where the matriarch is the dominant sex. We are a wading and swimming bird, but not a member of the duck family, and rarely are seen in […]
I am a northern fulmar. My name was derived from old Viking language of “ful” meaning foul and “mar” meaning gull. There are around 500,000 northern fulmars that breed in colonies throughout Britain on steep cliffs at places such as St Kilda (Outer Western Isles, […]