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Springwatch: Your questions answered

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 14:09 UK time, Monday, 6 June 2011

All of us here at Springwatch and Unsprung would like to say a big thank you for the amazing response we've had to the shows so far. You've sent hundreds of your wildlife questions in already. In fact we've had so many that much as we'd like to it would be impossible for us to solve all your mysteries. However we took some time out this weekend to answer some of the most common.

DerekBez wants to know if this visitor is a bee or a wasp, how to tell the difference and what he's doing in the picture...


Wasp by DerekBez

Wasp © DerekBez

This is definitely a wasp. It can though be quite difficult to tell the difference between bees and wasps because they share so many characteristics. Wasps in general are thinner with smoother bodies and bees tend to be rounder. And more often than not if it's hairy on its abdomen and legs then it's a bee. But the only way to really get to grips with the differences is through experience. Get yourself a good book or insect ID guide and get out there and practise.

The wasp in DerekBez's picture is stripping the wood. Mermaidmad Jennifer Leather wanted to know why a wasp in her garden was doing this too. The reason is that it's chewing the wood fibres up to form a pulp to use in building its nest. Like this one by Andrew Joseph from earlier this year.

Michael Siveter wants to know if his nest-building wren is too late to have eggs. According to our friends at the BTO the core breeding season for wrens runs right through from mid-April to the beginning of August with occasional nest encounters for about a month either side. So congratulations Michael, you should have chicks soon! Incubation lasts around two weeks and the hatchlings will fledge just over two weeks after that.

A few people have been asking about how they can stop their cats bringing in dead birds and mice or attacking fledglings. Do1999 is wondering if she should let her new kitten out at all, and Crunchy is very concerned for the fledglings in their area due to the high numbers of feline hunters.

If you have similar worries, look at this guide to helping cats to be wildlife-friendly. There's advice for bird lovers to help make your feeders and nest boxes safer for your feathery friends. And for cat owners there are some simple steps you can try to help birds and mice hear your cat coming.

Barry Smitherman runs a wildlife hospital in north London and he's concerned about the arrival of lots of healthy fledglings that ill-advised members of the public are bringing in. Please please read our guide on what to do if you find young animals, because more often than not they are perfectly healthy and awaiting the arrival of nearby parents.

Some of you have asked about relocating nests. Dorothy wanted to know if she should attempt to move on her nest-building swifts as they have chosen a potentially dangerous nesting site. All wild birds nests are protected by law so it is an offence to damage or destroy a nest. If you have concerns about nesting sites you could try to provide good nesting alternatives for the birds in your garden.

On the subject of nest building, Nick Rolfe asked what would be the best size of hole for a redstart nestbox. According to the BTO Nestbox Guide redstarts only need a small hole. Check out the RSPB's advice to making a nestbox.

Many of you are asking if there are unusually high or low numbers of a certain species this year. Swallowgirl is wondering if there's a reason that she is seeing loads of cuckoo spit, Sparrowfriend has noticed a lack of the usual mallard ducklings in their area, and Lindamarylou is wondering if there is a decline in wrens across the country.

If you've noticed significant changes in the bird, bug or mammal populations in your area, it could simply be that they have found elsewhere to nest or forage this year. The best thing to do to find out what's happening is to get involved with nationwide surveys such as the Springwatch Survey, and surveys run by the RSPB, the People's Trust for Endangered Species and Buglife. Be sure to check back on their websites for the results. The RSPB's bird garden birdwatch results are in for 2011 and you can download their county by county results here.

Please keep those wildlife questions coming on the Unsprung blog post.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Are people really that daft that they dont know the difference between a wasp and a bee even my granddaughter at three knows that

  • Comment number 2.

    I was with my dad and a wasp or it was big enough to be a hornet, was on the garden wall and it was at least 3 inches long!!

  • Comment number 3.

    that will be a hornet

  • Comment number 4.

    the funniest way to tell the difference is to make it sting you if it stings more than once it is a wasp if it stings and stays in you it is a bee! :)

  • Comment number 5.

    Alan, have a look at the kleptoparasitic solitary bees, and tell us how easy they are to differentiate from wasps then. Not all bees are bumblebees!

  • Comment number 6.

    rimo its really not that difficult at all

  • Comment number 7.

    . At 20:10 6th Jun 2011, Alan wrote:
    Are people really that daft that they dont know the difference between a wasp and a bee even my granddaughter at three knows that


    A bit uncalled for, Alan. These forums are for everyone to ask questions whether you consider them daft or not, and shouldn't be made out to be stupid. You might not have meant to be unkind, but sometimes a little bit of consideration of others' feelings can make forums a much nicer place.

  • Comment number 8.

    The wasps in my garden have stripped the wood from the shed door, after i painted it they left fine stripes all down the door, you could hear them actually scraping the wood.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have sparrows born in my eaves who are eating from fat balls hanging on my feeder table, is this unusual as I thought they are ground feeders

  • Comment number 10.

    In April two great tits were going in and out of my nest box and now there no where to be seen what were they doing then are where could they be now????

  • Comment number 11.

    it would appear i have caused offence but my posting no harm was intended i just assumed that like me and my children and grandchildren that people would have know about bees wasps hornets and hover flies from an early age sorry for any offence if it was taken the wrong way

  • Comment number 12.

    Thanks for this post, recently we have had wasps come to one particular fence post in our garden to strip the wood. It's fascinating. Sometimes there's three workers on the same post at a time! The nibbling noises are so loud we thought at first it was a mouse trapped in our shed! They come every day now. I've got it on video and posted to YouTube. I've never been a big fan of wasps, but I have a new respect for them now. They deserve as much interest and praise as other creatures receive.

  • Comment number 13.

    I had a few bees crawling into holes in my concrete fence posts. After a few days or so, they sealed up the holes with a muddy mix which has dried solid. There is another hole that looks like it's got an old cocoon case in. What were/are they doing?

  • Comment number 14.

    It is very dangerous to advise someone to let a bee or wasp sting them. That person could be allergic to the sting and be very ill.

  • Comment number 15.

    Do owl chicks regurgitate pelets like there perents

  • Comment number 16.

    Has anyone yet solved the mysteries around those Great Spotted woodpeckers stealing young from nesting boxes. I've been a birdwatcher for over 50 years and this is the first year I have heard of it.

  • Comment number 17.

    this may seem silly but how do i ask the hosts questions i can't find anywhere to put one

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi, On a completely different topic, I have just seen in my nestbox ( it has a camera on it ) an adult great tit feeding her one surviving chick the dead chicks in the nest!!! Quite distressing to watch. Is this normal? She had 7 chicks hatch but only one survives. Thanks for any ideas
    Judith

  • Comment number 20.

    Chris seems to be the snake expert - can he tell us how to tell the difference between the sexes of Grass Snakes? Here's a photo I took in April of one at a local pond http://www.flickr.com/photos/43210094@N03/5776542409/in/photostream - I managed to get within a couple of feet of him/her. Which is it, Chris?

  • Comment number 21.

    I have always love Springwatch and Autumnwatch but of late the programme is mostly about birds, birds and more birds, where are the, stoats, weasels, otters, beavers, deer, foxes etc etc etc. I know Kate Humble is the President of the RSPB and spring is all about the "birds and the bees" but it really would be nice to see a variety of different species in the programme.

  • Comment number 22.

    Just found out last night from watching Springwatch that the strange bird call I heard close to my house in Antrim, Northern Ireland was a Grasshopper Warbler, Thanks guys!

  • Comment number 23.

    Do you expect the adult Fried Pie Catcher to remove the dead chicks like it does with the fickle sacks

  • Comment number 24.

    Can anyone explain the reason for the massive influx of Red Kite to Cornwall last Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Some 70+ Red Kites were seen on Saturday alone. The wind direction was South Westerley. Any ideas PLEASE ?
    Thanks for your fabulous programme, Sue

  • Comment number 25.

    i want to know type of butterfly i saw it is red and white and small and very pretty

  • Comment number 26.

    hi could you tell me how many times a sparrow mates a year and how soon afther there first lot of young please

  • Comment number 27.

    can anyone give me some advice please
    i bought a bumble bee house about 3 years ago, placed it in the undergrowth and put an old mouse nest in it and honey water in the spring to try and tempt a queen bee i have also grown wild flowers that bees frequent but i have not had a bee use it. what if anything am i doing wrong??

  • Comment number 28.

    Last week Martin was talking about the Bee Fly and I was wondering if anyone can help figure out what I've seen. At my Gran's house I kept seeing what looked like a small bumble bee but totally black in colour hovering on a rhodedendron. I only saw it on this plant and its movement was really quick. It also had pollen sacks on its legs. It looked a bit similar to the Bee fly but definitely wasn't one and I can't find it on the identification chart on the Bumblebee conservation trust website. Can anyone tell me what it was? Sadly I didn't catch it on camera.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi, I put food out for the birds during the winter, sultanas, seeds of different sorts, and peanuts which are enclosed in small mesh cages, but all equipment is thoroughly cleaned before each refill.
    As the weather improves during the spring, I reduce the feeding until by the begining of the nesting season I stop the feeding, giving parent birds the chance to feed their babies with the food nature intended. The worse food to put out on bird tables is whole peanuts, parent birds have been known to take them to feed to their babies, the peanuts then can get lodged in the babies throats and suffocate them. I feel this warning should be put out each spring, so good intentions dont end in tradgedy.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi, I live on very very marshy land in Kent. It is quite remote and has lots and lots of reeds and reed beds. At the end of the garden, there is a nest in the reeds which contains the noisiest bird I have ever heard (including the wren)!! I hardly ever see it, only darting into the reeds, but I think it's between the size of a wren and a blue tit, quite brown with a shortish tail. It sings from about 8 in the morning, constantly, until dusk with a very fast up and down repetetive tune that has whistles and brrs too... I've looked and listened on the RSPB site and I think it could be a Reed warbler. However, it also sounds so much like a Marsh warbler and as they are so rare, that I thought I'd see if anyone could tell me how to differentiate between them or knows which one is which????
    Much appreciated

  • Comment number 31.

    I was wondering of anyone can help. My sister lives in watford and has spooted a number of beautiful colored parakeets. could they of been realased or something else? its very unusual to see them.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi,
    I have noticed over the past couple of years that male blackbirds, especially during springtime, seem to purposfully dive under moving cars. I'm often driving through small towns or villages and have regularly noticed the birds launching themselves off roadside walls or hedges and flying under the front of my passing car. Just wondered if anyone else has seen this kind of behaviour too. It isn't just blackbirds- many other garden species do this too. Is it a kind of display during the breeding season or is it simply that they are startled and fly down under passing cars when taking off?

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Martin and team loving Springwatch as usual, I wonder if you can help answer a question for me, half an hour ago in my garden just after I had filled up my bird feeders, all the birds were there as usual when out of the blue a Jackdaw took a sparrow, the sparrow was making a dreadful noise but none of the other birds responded, we do have Sparrowhawks here and all the birds flee for cover, but they just carried on while the Jackdaw attacked and took the bird into a tree, this to my knowledge has not happened before, I have been feeding them for years, now it has happened once do you think it will happen again? I would appreciate your thoughts best wishes Jacky

  • Comment number 34.

    we have bird box in our graden and no birds is in the bird box
    nesting why is that?

    Jason wilkes

  • Comment number 35.

    I would like springwatch to do a feature on swifts. every year they return to nest in my home and it's wonderful to watch them soaring through the sky. As they don't land, the nearest i get to a close up of them is when they fly into their nest at break neck speed. would love chris to tell us more about them.

  • Comment number 36.

    This year I have monitored Pied Flycatcher nests a few miles from Ynyshir. In over 50% of nests that hatched/fledged there were one or more unhatched eggs left in each nest.
    Is this unusual and could it be related to Pied Flycatcher polygamy?

  • Comment number 37.

    Hello everyone. It is so lovely that the Ospreys have chosen to breed in Wales. Could you please tell me why the Ospreys come to the U.K to breed, surely it must warmer and drier in Africa. So what makes them travel so far on what surely must be a dangerous journey.
    Many thanks
    Hilary Keats

  • Comment number 38.

    Hello everyone. It is wonderful that the Ospreys have started to breed in Wales. Could you please tell me why they choose to come to the U.K to breed. It must be warmer and drier in Africa, so why do they choose to make what must be a dangerous journey to breed here?

  • Comment number 39.

    We would like to know why, over the last few months, we have heard owls hooting during the day. They are commonly heard at night but we've never heard them in the daytime before.

  • Comment number 40.

    Great Tits were feeding young in a box close to my window. Noise of youngsters getting louder so expecting departure soon. Saw adult bird on bird feeder which had some old peanuts from last year but I did not see it then return to feed its young. Suddenly all activity stopped and next day I found 6 dead almost fully fledged birds inside. No sign of adults since. Never in many many years have I had a similar outcome. Usually they use another box far down the garden which is now occupied by bumble-bees. A sad mystery. Any ideas of the cause ? [Googling gives me a whole list of possible diseases for garden birds.]






  • Comment number 41.

    we got bird box in our greden we have no
    birds in the box nest

    why is that?
    Jason wilkes

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi, need some advice on bees, please. We have found some bumblebees (I think) "nesting" in a small bird house (6"x6"), which is screwed to a fence. This fence is rotten and needs replacing. Is there a safe way (safe for us and the bees) to move them? I've heard so much about bees this series and would love to keep them in the garden. Is there a safe way to resite the home they've adopted?

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Martin.Chris and Kate I appear to have a small colony of Leaf Cutter Bees who have taken up residence in pots of cactus in my greenhouse.They appear to be burrowing into the pots from both the top and bottom of the pot,Is this normal and if so should I leave well alone?

  • Comment number 44.

    Yesterday you were talking about breeding problems when feeding birds. My husband says that breacrumbs should not be given to birds in breeding time because chicks need proteins and cannot digest bread. Could this knowledge help? I would also like to know if any research on the effect of genetically modified peanuts on birds has been made, as I suspects that a lot of the peanuts we give to the birds come from this sort of cultivation. I know that the soil becomes sterile... what about the birds?
    And now appreciations for the programme: a lot to learn, to watch and a lot of fun! I come from Venice: herring gulls, sparrows, pigeons, and that's about it unless you go out on the lagoon... Well done to you all!

  • Comment number 45.

    I appear to have a small colony of leaf cutter bees nesting in pots of cactus in my greenhouse.They are entering the pots from both the top and bottom of the pot.Is this normal and if so do I leave well alone

  • Comment number 46.

    Hello everyone. It is wonderful to see the Ospreys breeding in Wales. Please could you tell me why they came to the U.K? The weather in Africa must be a lot better than ours so why do they make the very long and I am sure, dangerous journey.
    Many thanks
    Hilary Keats

  • Comment number 47.

    Bumblebees frequently nest in our garden - and we've figured out it may have something to do with the seasonal appearance of field mice. The mice seem to
    arrive in the autumn and stay until early spring. I know they must leave around then, because they stop digging up my tulip bulbs and going into the greenhouse to eat sunflower and pea seedlings and are no longer to be seen taking food from the bird table. Cats also come into the garden in warmer weather. This probably suits the bumblebees. I don't know a lot about this relationship between bees and mice and would be interested to hear what you know....

  • Comment number 48.

    Over the last week or so we have had a blue tit in our garden that appears very friendly. It follows us around the garden and sometimes lands on us. When we go in it sits on the kitchen window sill for a while. Also, it often waits on the fence by the back door where we usually go in and out of the garden from. I think it is an immature bird and seems to be seeking for us to feed it. Sweet as it is, we obviously try to discourage it from becoming too freindly with humans and certainly don't feed it. It must be fending for itself OK as it appears very healthy and flies very well. There used to be two of them but a suspicious pile of blue tit feathers on the lawn tends to suggest one of them was taken by a predator. Although we have buzzards and sparrow hawks in the area it is rare to see them any where near the garden. We do have lot of rooks and magpies however. My first question is, could the blue tit have been taken by a rook or magpie and secondly is this type of friendly blue tit behaviour common?

    Regards

    Chris Sweeney from Cadnam on the edge of the New Forest

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi
    I live in Epping in Essex and I was walking in the forest last week and saw what I thought was a rather large pure white weasel or stoat is this normal or was it some other animal

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi,
    I saw a sparrow hawk in my garden take out a starling, it was struggling to kill it so it hopped across the lawn with its prey towards my pond. The sparrow hawk jumped in and after flapping around a bit shocked it appeared to be holding the Starling under to drown it!
    I thought the sparrow hawk would become waterlogged after so long so I went out to see if could help and to stop my bodercollie from trying to eat it! But it flew up out of the water with ease

  • Comment number 51.

    i wonder if any of your experts could identify this insect for me , i took the picture in my back garden

  • Comment number 52.

    we had a blue tit and 4 chicks but they have all fledged now and the other 4 dead chicks are still
    in the nest box with all the twigs and feathers and that. what should we do with the nest box ? or should we clear it out? eve .

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm pretty sure that the sound is a magpie

  • Comment number 54.

    I understood that an embryo formed on a yolk, and was not part of it. Therefore to have two chicks you would need two embryos not two yolks.

  • Comment number 55.

    This year we have got 6 nests of sparrows, the chicks flew the nest 2 weeks ago, the numbers of nests and chicks have raised, there were 4 chicks in 2 nests and 5 in the other 4. They sound to have more chicks again, is it possible they would have laid more eggs when they still had the 1st chicks in the nests. We have also had an increase in the frogs, toads, and newts. We have also got a thrush nest and blackbird nest. Chris will be pleased because we have also got loads of slow worms this year.

  • Comment number 56.

    Watching the birds feeding in the garden I saw crow try to take a live fledgling blackbird, is this normal?

  • Comment number 57.

    once the blue tits leave the nest box in my garden - do i clean the box out or leave it for next year?

  • Comment number 58.

    Please can you tell me if it is rare to have tree bees building a nest in a old bird box as i have them in my garden lovely to watch valerie

  • Comment number 59.

    two unrelated questions for the team;
    1] can you tell us something about the digestive systems of owls etc that allow them to swallow and digest rodents whole?
    2] many years ago in Switzerland, I heard a very interesting lecture relating to the disturbing effect of motorway traffic on bird behaviour. In particular, the researcher found that more lepidoptera larvae were found close to motorways than further away [motorway running through a forest, e.g.]. He concluded that such larvae were less predated because there were less birds near a motorway.
    do you know about this work?

  • Comment number 60.

    My sister ( does'nt have a computer) but was telling me she has crows in the garden , and they were dragging a squirrel away, she would also like to know how to get little birds into the garden instead of crows . she lives in Barnet/cockfosters area .
    from gabbyann

  • Comment number 61.

    I work out doors handling fish all day. Throughout the summer wasps come down to the buckets of dead fish and chew small balls of fish meat off to take back to the nest. Very often they land on my hands which are covered in fish oil and try to chew "fish" off my hands. It is fascinating to watch and where before I was nervous of wasps, I now love them! In ten years of watching this behaviour I have only been stung twice and both times the fault was mine - I didn't see the wasp and accidentally squeezed it.
    My main question was - I have a small garden but try to encourage wildlife by having a pond, overgrown area and plenty of bushes and cover for birds. Unfortunately the neighbourhood cats have now discovered my bird table and are taking the birds. How can I stop this from happening. I did have a half grown wild rabbit lodging in the garden but it has disappeared too - possibly the cats again. Any advice would be much appreciated by me and the birds!

  • Comment number 62.

    I am now totally confused about feeding - should I, shouldn't I. I buy large amounts of ground feed, table feed, peanuts, worms and fat balls. Living next to woodland and farmland I have now attracted vast amounts of ravens, crows and jackdaws. In the morning it is like Hitchcocks film 'Birds'. None of my neighbours has said anything yet but all the birds are sitting on top of their tv arials and roofs waiting for me to feed them. I thought that once you started to feed birds they come to rely on that feed so I am worried about stopping. Other birds that come to feed are blackbirds, sparrows, a variety of tits and finches, woodpigeons and ring necked doves, starlings, buntings - and more. There is a woodpigeon and an ordinary pigeon who are totally in love and sit and kiss, is this unusual.

  • Comment number 63.

    Dave A 56 Yes.

  • Comment number 64.

    I have an unusual poo found on a high roof in south east London see my photos on flicker. Help can anyone tell me what animal left this? Its high up on a town house roof with no access for a 4 legged animal, could it be some type of bird, I think to solid for a bird. How can I put a picture here?

  • Comment number 65.

    Hello Springwatch
    My Treat of the Week
    This morning as I was about to leave for work to Blue tits alighted on my Bird feeder. At first I thought nothing much about it, 2 Blue tits both the same size, looked identical but what followed was, to me, amazing. One of the birds flitted to the nut feeder, pecked a few times and then flitted back to where the other tit was waiting. Then much to my surprise the waiting beak opened and was fed by what I now knew was the parent. This happened a few times before the youngster joined the adult pecking away at the nuts and even though the youngster was feeding itself the parent was also feeding it. Is this a case of baby training?

  • Comment number 66.

    A Question for IT bods on Springwatch.
    I make no apologies for being uneducated as far as identifying birds are concerned. I have a large number of "Brown" birds come to my garden and surely they cannot be all Sparrows? I have tried many websites to help me identify what I see with some moderate success but is there any software out there that I can use to help me for example compare my photos with a datbase or am I being too CSI?

  • Comment number 67.

    I found something hanging in the tree today which i beleive to be a bees nest, im not sure though??? I have uploaded a fews pictures for you. Please can you confirm what it is. regards Jasper

  • Comment number 68.

    Re rubbish dumps - how do seagulls find a tractor ploughing even when nowhere near the coast or landfill sites?

  • Comment number 69.

    Dear Springwatch Team,

    This year My Dad and Myself put up a birdbox on the side of our Semi-Detached house in Weston-Super-Mare. About 2 Months ago we spotted 2 Blue Tits gathering materials for a nest in the box, in the first 2 weeks they were happily going in and out of the box every 20 mins or so. Then at about 4-5 weeks they suddenly just disapeared, i decided to set up my video camera to make sure they were not going into the box when they was nobody about, however there were still no sightings. After this conclusion my Dad went up the ladder and looked inside and there was a nicely established nest. This Puzzled Us..

    Why Have they Just decided to leave this nest?
    Could we have done something to disrupt them into leaving the nest?
    And Where else could we put it next year?

    We have a 15 ft tree in the front garden.
    The front garden is used less by the family.

  • Comment number 70.

    We have 9 or 10 adult pigeons which have nests nearby frequenting our garden but you never see fledglings with them. Why is this?

  • Comment number 71.

    Regard the Pitsea waste site. In the local area we are shortly to start recycling
    waste food. Sureley this will have an effect on the wildlife on the tip?

  • Comment number 72.

    Chris P 66 Dunnocks?

  • Comment number 73.

    jasper 67 I couldn't find your photos, but then I can't find mine any more. What you saw could be a swarm as it is about that time of year for them. 'A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon.' If it is/was it will go look for a suitable place to make a home. A beekeeper will collect it to put in an empty hive.

  • Comment number 74.

    I know this is not strictly a nature question, but it intrigues me. My neighbour has recently cut large branches of an elderberry tree. All th cats in the neighbourhood come round from time to time and lick the stump. Why?

  • Comment number 75.

    During early springtime we had mystery. We could hear a bird song which ended with what sounded like a frog croaking. It only lasted about 5 weeks and happened last year as well. We live on the edge of Bishopstoke Wood in Hampshire but the sound was coming from some other trees nearer our home. (Not in the wood itself). Please help before next year comes and we're left puzzled once again! Love to all! ps...more Itchy & Scratchy please....

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 1)

  • Comment number 76.

    HI Guys I wanted to know if you would be interested in me filming my bird table. (Also for Chris plus black fluffy dog who keeps the cats out of the garden).Everyday I have a huge volume of Sparrows, Starlings , Jackdaws, a couple of Magpies, Then some stragglers, Blackbird or 2 and Blue and Great Tit. They seem to have a pecking order. No pun intended. The noise as the Starlings feed is unreal and they don't seem to worry about how many they can fit on the table at once.They are always entertaining once the fledglings are out and about. Once an adult landed on the lawn and 6 juveniles all begging for food landed around her. 2 kids drive me crazy. I know time is running out ,but I could probably get it you for Wednesday. Starlings get a hard time because they are noisy and make a mess, but they have a real sense of family.Even long after fledging. The Sparrows who live under the eaves just seem to go along with the madness. I was interested in the lady who said a juvenile Starling had got tangled in the mesh around a fat ball. Why don't people take it off. It is lethal. Most 99p shops sell fat ball feeders now, so please buy one and take off your mesh roll it up and knot it. Then in landfills it is safer.Maybe us Springwatchers should start a campaign to ban the mesh. I really hate the stuff. Sorry.
    Also Matrin was showing us the toadlets ,but were they. They looked like froglets to me. If you looked carefully you could see the stripes forming on their backs like Common Frogs.We have a huge concentration of them in our local canal their must be hundreds and they have stuck together right from Tads.About 11 years ago 5am ish, I can remember taking my old dog for a walk down there and I was scared to move there were little tiny frogs everywhere, but it has never been like it since.
    Also the Hedghog project. I feel a bit guilty about this as my girls have bunnies and we have rabbit proofed the garden. I always used to get them, but sadly no longer. How I can I let them in and out without letting out the rabbits. And are the rabbits at risk of aerial attack from Buzzards. Does anyone know if a pet bunny has ever been taken? I know of a Buzzard trying to take a cat locally that was fast asleep when pounced on, but the bird had to let go it was too big. I love Buzzards they are amazing, but I don't want the bunnies eaten. Mind you they are big Rabbits.
    Any feedback gratefully accepted.

  • Comment number 77.

    WARNING!!! NEVER USE THIS KIND OF FAT BALL FEEDER!!!
    One of my fledgling bluetits obviously squeezed his way inside the fat ball feeder to get to the crumbs left at the bottom, then tried to get out from the bottom of the feeder where the bars narrow. Without the sense to exit up where he entered the poor creature strangled itself to death.

    Please, if you have this kind of feeder TAKE IT DOWN NOW. This all happened within minutes – I’d just replenished the seed feeder and had only gone back to the shed to get more fat balls and table top feed. By the time I came back it was too late. I’m devastated, so upset.

    Sorry, I have to paste the image of the feeder so you’ll be warned of its type, and I didn’t have the sense to take the body out before photographing, and I’ve already thrown the whole thing into the bottom of a dumpy bin (I can’t reach down to get it out).

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/61150239@N07/5833123728/

  • Comment number 78.

    WHO DUNNIT?
    I was renovating an old window frame last weekend and before I could paint it I find that a bird's been helping itself to the wet putty. What type of bird is likely to have done this? And what is it being used for - food or nesting material?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/64070805@N03/5833406739/in/photostream

  • Comment number 79.

    could anyone recommend a good pair of Binoculars for birdwatching and general wildlife, my budget is between £150 and £200

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi
    just wanted to add we have a fat ball feeder which is a totally different design, just like a peanut feeder but with huge holes and no birds could get stuck in that, check out your local pet store for alternative designs

  • Comment number 81.

    Hi team springwatch. guess what my naughty cat brought me home?. no cannot guess well i'll tell you.I't was a nice hot day beautiful sunshine just right for relaxing and enjoying wildlife at it's best so imagine the shock i recieved when flying from the right of me came a cat flinging something up in the air haveing great fun, not funny for me when i came to the realiseation he was flinging a beautiful weasel, now at this point there would be no point in panicking althou my heart was raceing i had to take a deep breath and wait for him to drop it and lose his concentration for a second, it felt like for ever but finally a magpie put him off by suddenly sounding an alert you could almost here him saying cat alert cat alert. Anyhow back to the weasel, obviously in shock but very much alive playing dead thou i whisked him up not thinking of my own safety i rushed him in checked him for wounds the best i could, i then put him in a modefide cage with warm water, then put him on the shelf between my snake pits as it has a constant tempreture nice and warm for the shock. Later in the day after several hours of waiting he became very much alive and wanting freedom so we walked into the nature reserve to let him or her go, mind you i could not see throu the lid bere this in mind. My kids and husband came with me to witness the event, we found the perfect location around the lake far enough from puddy cats, with lots of prickly bushes and wooded areas, i set the cage down slowly removed the lid bit by bit half way still nothing and i still could not see, Then the rest of the way the last bit of the lid and pop goes the weasel straight at me with a noise that resembled a mad dog barking, he lept and lept as i stepped backwards avoiding his little nashing teeth fineally he pulled himself together and walked into the bush stopped and looked back at me just for a second then left as if to say thanks but come after me and i will eat you. Thats appreciation for you, Would i do it again, absolutely. I love nature. Oh by the way that magpie he is my best alli he follows the cat when he spots him and lets me know when the cats in the garden and also lets every body in a hundred mile radious know the cats on the hunt even at six in the morning he even followed us and the cat up the shop one day the cat waits in the bush for us by the shops to come out then follows us home and the magpie sat on the roof warning all others the cat was about, it was so funny so maybe magpies just save songbirds as well as eating some of there young at least the parents get to live to breed another day. I am so happy the great spotted woodpecker brought her young to us this year and fed them on our insect and fruit suet cake it was a beautiful sight and we also had a marsh frog apeer on our back door,the dragon flies are around the pond and life is buzzing.Feather collecting has started again and nature is calling us all, get out there and enjoy nature at its best. Team all i can say is you are doing a wonderful job and i wish you were on all year round. Please could you find out what to do with a cat that always removes his collers no matter how hi tec and let me know what to do he's driving us all mad.thankyou and bless you all.

  • Comment number 82.

    One thing i forgot to say to chris i love science geek and itchy and scratchy more more. kate please more info on where is best place to hang bird boxes in garden like shade height and do i need to put moss in.and good job to you i bet that water was nice and refreshing i love the water we have a ford near by full of fish and alsorts of fresh water crustations love getting in kids do to would love to show you our secret world of nature here in charvil reading berks we also have a heronery over the lakes and last year we for the first time had oyster catchers nesting and lapwings on the same island.come team come see if you got the time of corse my family will give you the grand tour.

  • Comment number 83.

    Alan 1 Yes, they are.

  • Comment number 84.

    Alan 1 Yes, they are.

    If it works, does anybody know what this is?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/63941910@N05/

  • Comment number 85.

    We have lots of bird feeders in our garden and during April & May had a whole range of birds and their fledglings visiting (I'm pleased to say this included quite a large flock of sparrows). I had to refill the feeders almost on a daily basis. Suddenly the birds seem to have vanished - it's as if the kids have all left home so the grown-ups have gone off on a nice long holiday! Why is this? Ditto bees. We have lots of lavender and flowers that they like and having seen a huge variety in the Spring, we've seen only a handful during the last couple of weeks. Why has the wildlife deserted us!?

  • Comment number 86.

    I saw in my garden this morning two completely black bees (no stripes). They were the size and shape of a bumble bee - are these a strain of bumble bee I have not noticed before? Any ideas please?

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi Springwatch Team!
    How do Blackbirds detect where Worms or Invertebrates are in the soil? Is it by sound, touch or sight? After spells of heavy rain my garden is now soft enough for the blackbirds to scavenge, so how do they do it?
    Any Idea's?

  • Comment number 88.

    is it possible to have vegitarian birds of prey... buzzards do sometimes get the greens into the nest

  • Comment number 89.

    Earlier in the spring I came across some folded leaves of what I beleive to be the Lords and Kadies, arum maculatum,which had been broken off from the main plant and left some way from the plant. There were quite a few of these "cigars". Can any onetell me what or who was attacking the plants and leaving the evidence around. I have a photo of the rolled leaves.

  • Comment number 90.

    When that jay attacked the wren nest, why did it go in through the back of the nest and not just go in through the entrance hole? Surley that would have easier, and it would have cut off the chicks escape so it could have got more? (Not that I want to see lots of chicks getting eaten!!).

  • Comment number 91.

    This years I have been watching two seperate Blackbird nests but both nests have lost their chicks,one lot was two days old and the other was about seven/eight days old All chicks were found on the ground under or near the nests.The youngest chicks had been pecked Why would this happen to these beautiful birds?

  • Comment number 92.

    Why did ther bee orchid evolve to imitate a bee, if it does not actually need a bee for polination

  • Comment number 93.

    Dear Chris
    I've just seen your film on orchids. I'm confused about the bee orchid
    How does it know how the beck of a bee looks, because it can't see it
    Cymruambyth (ask Iolo to know what my name means)

  • Comment number 94.

    We have Bee orchids on a road side verge by J 35 M6. Is this unusual ?

  • Comment number 95.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 96.

    We had a number of blue tit nest box's this year that have been attacked by lesser spotted woodpeckers - they started to enlarge the nest hole to get at the young and in one case created a new hole on the side to get at the young blue tits - is this normal or is it rest a couple of very aggressive local birds doing this ?

  • Comment number 97.

    Could you please tell me the name of the little bird in the foreground of the below photo? I can't find it in my bird book.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/61150239@N07/5838582605/

    There are always a couple in the garden feeding so I assume they are nesting nearby.

  • Comment number 98.

    Hi,

    I have a question and I do apologise if it is off topic....

    My 2 Year old has just discovered the exciting world of bugs/insects and pulls up every stone he possibly can and catches what ever he can. Is there anything that could harm him that i should be more aware of (other than the obvious bees and wasps)?

    Thank you xxxxx

  • Comment number 99.

    Dear Springwatch
    Love your programme!
    Can you help me identify a bee which has built a nest in grass. It began about a 6 weeks ago, the occupant of a small tuft would make angry buzzing if touched - one day when we were carefully investigating the bee flew straight back to nest
    which is now the size of a small birds nest.
    What will happen next? When will we be able to cut the grass?! Is it a Mason Bee?
    Thanks for help.

  • Comment number 100.

    Why are we seeing more and more bees that cannot fly? I must have seen over 10 in the last week alone, and I have one regular, who I call Mr Walk, who walks to my garden for daily feeding - I lift him ip on to my flowers

 

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