Tag: house sparrow

The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring


Today, 20th March 2016, is officially the first day of spring in the UK.

Well, winter seems to still be keeping a cold grip so far. with only two or three sunny warmer days last week.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting in our back garden reading and drinking a breakfast coffee, when I spotted delightful House Sparrows frenetically flying about among our garden bushes, looking for food and more importantly for them, nesting material to build their nests. I have watched starlings do the  same too.

Three Robins collecting nest material in our garden

Male House Sparrows foraging for nesting material – photo by PH Morton

This activity always signals that spring is in the air, especially for nesting birds;)

I witness the antics of the birds coming to grips with various sizes of twigs, dried grass/leaves and other suitable material foraged from our and other local gardens.

Some birds seem daft as they hold the material in their beaks, then get the urge to communicate with other birds tweeting away nearby, and so drop their hard-won twig etc often from our house roof gutter!

Each spring, sparrows used to nest in a small hole in the eaves of our house roof in our back garden. These sparrows were subsequently dispossessed by larger starlings, who will once again move in this year.

We are fortunate to have a reasonable size population of House Sparrows in our local gardens as sadly they are in decline in many parts of the UK.

We think that having many bushes, and some trees in our and neighbouring gardens which provide food, safe habitation and location for nests for garden birds helps keeps the local sparrow population stable

We also have our garden robins, who also nest in the bushes.

Our pet budgerigar hears these birds singing through the window and will noisily cheep & twitter back 🙂

Dawn Chorus

As spring approaches, I look forward to the full dawn chorus of birdsong that gently wakes me up earlier as the day light gets longer. During the darker months from early November through to mid-March, birds can be heard to perform from around 5am to 6am. In the summer months with warmer and longer days, the bird song increases and can start at 3am. I am a fairly light sleeper and for as long as I can remember, the dawn chorus has gently woken me at times, being nature’s nicest post nocturnal alarm.
We call it birdsong, maybe it should be called melodic speaking as the birds are calling and announcing that they are alive and awake in their territory, looking for food and a mate 😉

We live in North West London, blessed with an abundance of parks, gardens and trees for birds to roost & occupy.
In cold dark winter only a few brave and hardy birds can be heard singing. However in spring then to summer, the avian aria choir has grown, as migrating birds have returned from their summer holidays in warmer climes. Lying in bed I sometimes can hear the calls of some individual birds, who keep good time most days!

Blackbirds, house sparrows and robins like to lead the singing then comes the cawing of crows.

Even before before sunlight starts to appear some birds want to be the first act!

Even late at night, occasionally we can hear some bird singing long after roosting time, this could be because of the ever bright streetlights confuse some birds?

Some years ago at the begining of a summers day, I took my then young son for a dawn walk up to near by Hampstead Heath. It was about 5am, the sun was up and it’s golden light streaming through the tree branches,making the leaves translucent green, the  ‘wall of sound’ of birdsong that came from surrounding trees was amazing!

A full dawn chorus lasts anything from an hour to an hour and a half. Sadly ever increasing traffic noise in early mornings can disrupt or drown out the chorus.

Scientists have warned that disrupting the early-morning ritual which males use to attract mates could lead to a decline in the bird population.

Noise pollution also drowns out the sound of approaching predators and blocks warning calls, leaving birds open to danger.

In some urban areas, birds are singing at a higher pitch or louder, to avoid being drowned out. Some robins have even opted to forsake the dawn and sing during the relative quiet of night instead if not confused by street light polution.

Even our pet budgie Bert joins in tweeting ( not on a mobile phone :)) when he hears his birdie brethren outside sounding forth at breakfast time!

I feel priviliged to still be able to hear this wonderful sound every day, whether as a curtain raiser to dawn or when early morning sunlight streams through the window curtains.

I hope that this wondrous melody of mother nature never fades…

Early morning singer our garden Robin

Our resident robin an early morning singer in our garden-photo by Peter





Enjoy and relax with the sounds of summer dawn birdsong 🙂