Each spring I am reminded about the origins of our Birdsong Collection. It was inspired by walks that I went on with my Dad when I was young. He would encourage me to listen to a particular bird and try and work out the bird from the song.
It’s funny that the things that you learn when you are young stay with us and this is one of them! It seemed an obvious subject for one of my Collections.
Can You Identify Different Bird Songs?
Technology helps us now. There are now loads of apps which help you listen to birds and identify their calls. We did a quick poll on Instagram recently and these seem to be the most favourite sources that you are using to identify birdsong!
- Birdnet (app from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Chemnitz University)
Maybe try a few out and see if they work for you?
Alternatively, many wildlife websites have recordings of birds which you can listen to and match the bird with the song. Try the RSPB or Song Bird Survival. Write out how they sound in our lovely Birdsong Notebook, to help you remember it! For example the great tit sings "tea-cher, tea-cher, tea-cher" - at least in my head!
Listen to the Dawn Chorus
As the days draw out the dawn chorus is getting earlier and earlier.
I wake up early. I just love the build-up of birdsong as the sky lightens. I often take a warm drink out into the garden to just stop and listen on fine mornings.
Singing is basically the birds way of attracting a mate, since the fittest best fed males produce the best songs. The females are drawn to the mate who sings most strongly, since this is their way of working out that they will be good at raising chicks, with a good territory and successful genes!
If you want to try to identify the different birds in the dawn chorus a good plan is to get up an hour before sunrise, find a quiet spot and then slowly wait for the birds to enter the chorus.
Different species of bird join in a sequence. The earliest birds are often skylarks, song thrushes, robins and blackbirds which are worm feeding birds. Later on, the wrens and warblers join in, feeding on insects that appear as the morning warms up.
International Dawn Chorus Day is the first Sunday in May each year, a great opportunity to join with others to hear the beautiful dawn chorus at its best.
And because birdsong can be soothing, you can also listen to Bird Song Radio to hear bird song at any time of the day!
Helping Birds Thrive
Lack of food and nesting sites seem to be two of the reasons that bird populations are declining, with a sharp downturn in the last fifty years. The good news is that there is lots that we can do to help support the bird populations wherever we live.
Feed the Birds!
A bird feeder is a great way to see different birds, teach children to identify and appreciate them and listen to them singing. Hanging feeders can attract greenfinches, goldfinches, house sparrows and robins.
I love to listen to the sparrows squabbling in my garden, they tend to rush around in flocks, zooming from one bush to another when they aren’t feeding. I try to keep the feeders topped up and clean them fairly regularly.
Here's a quick recipe to make your own fat balls..
Melt 250g of suet with 150g of dry mix (unsweetened and unsalted raisins, peanuts, sunflower seeds, oats and/or bird seed). Pour into a tray and wait for it to cool until soft. Use an old ice cream scoop to make balls, or when soft pour into half a coconut. Cool in the fridge and then hang up for the birds.
Garden for Birds
Lots of plants provide a natural food source for birds, including weeds, so if you have plants with berries, seeds or fruit, make sure you leave a little bit for the birds. If you are a tidy gardener, the temptation is to clear up the leaves and prune everything back in the spring. Go gently, to make sure that there are enough "untidy" places to encourage insects for insect-feeding birds when other food sources may be low.
Something to Drink and Splash In!
Just the other day I noticed a sparrow splashing in a large shallow saucer that I had taken out from under a plant. Birds need a fresh source of water for drinking and bathing and it's amazing to watch them splash themselves and each other. I had to break the ice on it a couple of weeks ago, when we had an uncharacteristic Cornish frost!
Somewhere to Nest
If you’ve got trees or shrubs in your garden the bird friendly thing is to leave them alone until the baby birds have fledged. Prickly shrubs are perfect for safe nesting! If you have space to put up a nesting box out of the way of marauding cats all the better.
Chemicals affect the balance of insect population and can obviously be ingested by birds through their food, so are best avoided. There are loads of great organic solutions which allow your garden and bird population to thrive.
Living in Cornwall, we are so lucky to be surrounded by the sounds of such a variety of birdsong. You can often hear the ‘tap, tap, tap’ of the Stone Chat calling on the nearby coastal cliffs and here at Mount Edgcumbe, where our Shop and Studio is located, there is a local owl who has a lot to say for itself!
This collection captures an image of a little bird perched on a Willow branch.
Choose from our beautiful collection of lampshades and bags in this Birdsong Design.
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