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Unsprung: Get involved now

Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 17:24 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

Springwatch is approaching fast... the office is a hive of frantic activity. Now then - as ever - please may we request your help?

Last year we initiated the search for Britain's Barmiest Bird Nest, won by those pioneering blue tits who nested in the rotating arm of the train level crossing - remember them?! And the incredible collared dove in the (active) car wash came a close second.

I'm afraid those two are going to be very hard to beat, but we're going to try. So if you know of any extraordinary nest sites please, please let us know. If you can film it that's even better. And if you find an absolutely incredible nest that we simply mustn't miss and you can't film it yourself, just let us know and if we can, we might try to get a crew out to you.

Let's see if any birds choose an even barmier (is that a word?) nest site this year, than those dizzy blue tits. Thank you!

Unsprung will be a bit different this year with just one programme a week on Fridays. We are going to try our one or two new things, without losing the essential main theme, which is responding to your questions and showing your videos and pictures. We thought we would have a short "Wildlife Myth busting" section - you know, like "can a swan really break your arm?" and "Do dock leaves really stop nettle stings hurting?" that sort of thing. We would really like YOUR myth busting questions - what myths would you like us to put to the test - to try to "bust" or perhaps discover, to our amazement, that they are actually true? All your thoughts and suggestions gratefully received...

And as always, you can tell us your stories and ask us questions by commenting below, post your photos in our Springwatch Flickr group or add your videos with the movie uploader.

Update 19 May: The first Unsprung has moved and it's now LIVE. Catch it straight after the main show at 9pm Thursday 3 June, BBC Two.

Update 5 June: Thanks for all your questions so far. We answered as many as we could on Thursday's Unsprung (which you can watch again). Please keep your questions coming in.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Looking forward to the return of Springwatch.
    Any chance we can have the theme tune as a ringtone please?

  • Comment number 2.

    I have just sprayed my roses to get rid of the aphids but suddenly realised that the blue tits are feeding on the green fly. Do you recommend that we should not treat the flowers or are there alternatives to chamical sprays.
    Very worried I have poisened the young.

    Stephen Cheetham

  • Comment number 3.

    I loved the Unsprung program every night - but i'd say it left you lot pretty recked after it! Good idea to have it on Friday - will it be live?

    Myths - Do birds prefer to poop on your Whites rather than your Coloured clothes on the washing line?

  • Comment number 4.

    If we set up a nest box with camera within the next week is there a chance that tits will nest and hatch in it this season ? We do have a lot of birdlife in the garden and our neighbours have already watched great tits and blue tits hatching on camera but theirs were in position by early April.

  • Comment number 5.

    We have a kestrel in our tawny owl box which we are watching via live video feed from two cameras. We would love to give Springwatch free access to it if you want to show it on your programmes. Hatching should be end of May/beginning of June, with the youngsters leaving the nest at the end of June. There are 5 eggs being incubated.

    If you are at all interested in kestrel-cam then do get in touch - I assume you can get my email address from my site login?

    Many thanks.


  • Comment number 6.

    The swan breaking a man's arm myth is a good one, surprising how many people believe that - almost as many as those who believe bats flying around overhead will get tangled in your hair!

  • Comment number 7.

    Any chance of the Springwatch team paying a visit over to the Isle of Wight?
    The Enchanted Manor, is a well known Guest House over here. , Every evening they put food out for the badgers, who always make an appearance (along with a couple of foxes). It's such a fantastic sight, and I never get bored of watching them.
    Many thanks

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Martin. I would like to add two questions to this blog. I would love to know how my local Robin knows when i'm digging or planting in the garden. Is it the sound of digging or the smell of freshly turned soil?? He shows up as soon as I start and waits patiently till I move away a bit to start looking for worms..

    And why do we associate Doves with peace and Ravens with death, fear and mysticism ??

    Many thanks

    Oysterbay (London)

    Cant wait for SW..

  • Comment number 9.

    I am so happy that SpringWatch is back.

    Over the winter I have seen:
    Lapwings (and chicks)
    Barn Owls
    Great Crested Grebes
    Little Grebes
    Reed Bunting
    Grey Heron
    Black-tailed Godwit
    and Canada Geese with 5 chicks.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have seen 3 sparrow chicks being feed in my back garden.
    I also think that a Dunnock pair is nesting as well.

    I do hope that we get more in the few weeks

  • Comment number 11.

    Could anyone tell me why a mad sparrow is harrasing the House Martins from settling into there nest, they have rebuilt and repaired any damage and now the Sparrow will not let them near....just keeps attacking them everytime they are in or flying to the nest,it really is territorial,is this normal carry on....HELP

  • Comment number 12.

    We have blue tits nesting inside an old drain-pipe, at the back of the house There are already some chicks as we can hear them chirping very loudly. The mum is very attentive and feeding regularly. They are called Chirpy, Cheep and Tweet. Unfortunately we cannot see them inside the nest and just guessing how many chicks there are. This is the first time it has happened while we have been living here - been here 12 years. V. excited.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hello Martin
    I heard this story years ago; some people say that hedgeogs carry apples on their spines in Autumn. Has anyone ever seen this? It sounds unlikely to me.
    I have also heard about great tits getting through open windows and ripping wallpaper to shreds, maybe because the paste was attractive to them. Wildlife artist Eileen Soper describes this behaviour in one of her books, too. Is their any truth in it?
    Thank you,

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Martin,
    A question for you,during the Snowatch special you were concerned about the kingfisher in your village leaving,did it return?I do hope it did.
    Can't wait for S/W and unsprung,roll on the 31st.
    See you then
    MRK Wohman

  • Comment number 15.

    We have just been outside listening to a cuckoo calling, something we did not hear at all last year. The swifts have also returned, a sure sign that summer is on the way. It therefore seems strange having to bring in all the tender plants from outside to avoid the forecast frost!

  • Comment number 16.

    I have a very tame robin that keeps me company on my alottment, the trouble is that it is as bald as me, is there anywhere I can show you a picture fo your opinion about its problem?


  • Comment number 17.

    Hi all, thanks for all your questions, observations, stories etc. Please keep them coming in.

    @mullet We'd love to see your photo on the Springwatch Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/bbcspringwatch/

  • Comment number 18.

    We live in Shropshire, high on the Clee Hills. We have 2 pairs of curlew, nesting somewhere close to our land. We love to listen to their lilting call and watch them fly in formation. Would anyone be interested in filming them? I understnd they are on the decline. We too have heard the cuckoo.

    I presume you can access my email from my registration details?

  • Comment number 19.

    A few from my childhood:-
    Don't pick dandelions ,they'll make you wet the bed????
    Don't pick toads up or you'll get warts ???
    My Dad always had eel skins hanging over the washing line to dry ,he believed that they cured sprains,if wrapped around the joint...was he right?
    Be seeing you
    MRK Wohman

  • Comment number 20.

    We have had blackbirds nesting in some clematus 7 foot off the ground every year for about 13 years, never had any trouble and always rear 2 broods of chicks. Went out today and found 2 dead chicks, from their 2nd brood of the year, on the ground underneath the nest. Was hoping that you might be able to help explain why this might have happened. They were flying in and out feeding a lot over the last week or so. I havde also noticed they are still flying in feeding, not as often, but still going in and out. Would the blackbirds havve pushed their dead chicks out of the nest to keep the other chicks healthy, or would the chicks have fallen out and died?

    Thank you for any help recieved

  • Comment number 21.

    We have one pair and one single swallow roosting in our gutters at night - is this normal? They are fairly aggressive and swoop quite alot around the perimeter of the house, but there is not nest in site yet. Our house looks out onto farmland and you can see them swooping and diving for food. Sometimes they seem to have totally disappeared from site but as soon as we step out onto the patio they quickly return to frighten us away. This is my first year in the new house and is a little unsettling - especially since they are supposed to stay until september.

  • Comment number 22.

    I heard the Cuckoo mentioned on Radio 4 recently but can't remember what programme. The context was with reference to their continuing decline in the UK.
    I just wanted to post, for anyone who might be interested, that I heard a Cuckoo today (20 May 2010) in King's Wood, near Clipstone in Nottinghamshire.

  • Comment number 23.

    Very peculiar question - but here goes. My mum has recently become obsessed with - as she calls it - 'aquatic worms' in her pond. They appeared over the winter and can only be described as earthworms - there is nothing else they can be. We have trawled the internet and nature books but can find nothing of ANY resemblance. And these worms are ALIVE. Mum counted one wriggling at the bottom of the pond for about 8 days or so before it dissapeared.

    Normal worms cannot survive in water so every website says - What are they? Please help!

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Martin & Team

    Another question. Why is it seen as lucky to get bombed on by a bird and where did this idea originate from :)

    Many thanks

    Oysterbay MLKW

  • Comment number 25.

    When is the Messageboard going to be opening???

  • Comment number 26.

    Last July I was at Fremington Army Training Area,nesting up one of the corridors was three chicks,their parents used to dive bomb us when we walked up the corridor.
    The chicks fledged the day we left.I took photo'd on my mobile phone & have uploaded them.

  • Comment number 27.

    also agree its good that your back make it longer this time? Need to ask if a sparrow hawk would take a whole wood pidgeon. Thought it might have been one of these as we have lost 2 blackbirds this year. just feathers and beak left on lawn. today pidgeon feathers and some inners. Please can you help.

  • Comment number 28.

    I have a pair of Peregrine Falcons nesting at the top of the Clock Tower in Birmingham University and a pair of Mallards nesting in grass on the quadrangle here too.

  • Comment number 29.

    I live in East Wittering, Wessex and on 2 separate windy days I have spotted a lone seal. They both headed off towards Portsmouth. But I wondered are they lost? They both looked very surprised to end up on our beach thank you

  • Comment number 30.

    This is for Simon King. I have just watched his programme, 19th May, and though he did not identify the cemetery with the roe deer I know it well and guide there often. Sadly the deer are no longer there; the parents were shot with airguns by vandals and the two young have gone. This was a few years ago. There have been rumours of the young having moved to other parts of the city. There is also a group of up to 6 who graze regularly on the edge of the motorway heading south from the city and with a fairly direct link to the cemetery. It is really sad that vandals should have behaved like that. The parks' department does patrol it but not at night. I was there one night when the deer were being shot at and they were very frightened and panicking and we hoped they had headed out from the area but that was not the case and the shooting stopped when it was realised that my group were there. We did not see the vandals at all only heard the shots and saw the panicking deer.

  • Comment number 31.

    Mythbuster question:

    Is it true that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets interferes with bees’ navigation systems, preventing them from finding their way back to their hives?

    Marske by the Sea

  • Comment number 32.

    Would Springwatch be interested in filming a pair of Long Eared Owls which fly and perch in the early evening allowing good sightings.Chicks starting to fledge-good photos possible.Long eared owls usually difficult to see or photograph ,these ones have been visible most summers nesting at edge of conifer plantation on golf course near Glasgow.

  • Comment number 33.

    gusee what i think ive got a stoat living in my loft and to cap it off she now has a litter of kits. comes in thro the outhouse up the cavity wall to tend to the kits. the noise is amazing but im afraid the bird nests are suffering. a good film opportunity have a couple of photos of her coming out of outhouse. i have not been into the loft but i can here her dragging stuff inside the walls. amazing but pretty noisey at night right over the main bedroom hmmm.

  • Comment number 34.

    We live on the edge of a small town and delight in the birds attracted to our garden. We have always fed the birds throughout the year and this year we thought we would try live worms. The birds love them and it is quite enjoyable to see how many one of our blackbirds can hold at once. This feeding seems to have encouraged them to seek us out and ask for more. We find them looking at us through our kitchen window or, if we are outside, they come and stand at our feet.

    Are we encouraging the wrong sort of behaviour? Are they becoming dependent on us? It is giving us some concern.

    Any answers?

  • Comment number 35.

    We have a family of foxes who have a burrow under the decking in our suburban garden in Liverpool.
    Yesterday there were 3 adults and 4 cubs running around as they do every evening from about 9pm. We also have a pair of mallards in our pond and they all seem to get along just fine.
    We figure that if we feed the foxes then they wont eat the ducks. Is this a bad thing?
    They seem to be thriving on dried dog food supplemented with the occaisional half pound of lard!

  • Comment number 36.

    good morning - we live on the edge of the mudflats by the Nene - thats about 1hr from Pensthorpe. In the garden we have put up two owl boxes - one is attached to the house/marsh side and we have a camera so we can watch the owls. Our two owls have been joined by a third and they all appear very happy as a threesome - not sure if it's two males or two females and still waiting for eggs but lots of activity - bringing in mice, cleaning each other, mating...do you think it is too late for eggs? and have you heard of three living together before? ONe of the owls uses the second box but they all roost together.

  • Comment number 37.

    heard first cuckoo this morning,not been here for about 3 years welcome back

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi all! Looking forward to the new series. I wondered whether you could answer a query for me? We have a seagull nesting on some flats next to us and it is very interesting that as she is on the nest, pigeons from all around come and visit her, looking over and surveying the nest. She is not at all aggressive towards them and seems to be talking to them while she sits there! When both parents are not there they seem to babysit the nest for them. Is this a natural thing for birds to do this for other types of birds?

    Thanks Jacqui

  • Comment number 39.

    19 May 2010. Heard and seen about 4 housemartins at Chichester, West Sussex.

  • Comment number 40.

    @Jacqui Goring, if the pigeons are also nesting there it makes sense in that they have an interest in guarding the area. If not, it's quite amazing!

  • Comment number 41.

    welcome back to all the gang. read an article in daily mail about introducing sea eagles into england, and how it would be a bad thing.the article also went on to say that the rspb were using this as a way of getting attention + publicity and had not thought it through. i am a long time admirer of these magnificent birds which have long been persecuted, mostly by farmers. what is teams view on this.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hello, i am a little worried about the fact that i have still not seen any frog spawn , tadpoles or any frogs of any age yet this year. I usually get lots of adults in my garden and i have not seen one.Has anyone else noticed a lack of spawn or frogs. i live in coalville leicestershire.

  • Comment number 43.

    I work at a School in St. Albans, Herts and we have put a nesting box on the side of the school with a camera in - everyday the children are amazed to see how much the 7 chicks (blue tits we think as eh colour is a bit fuzzy!) have grown. They love to watch on a big screen in the hall as mother bird comes to feed them, and are starting to notice the difference each day as they grow. Not the barmiest place for a next but a fantastic one for us. What i'd like some advice on is how we may psssible get footage of them taking their first flight as they get bigger. Our headteacher is retiring this Summer, she instigated the box and every morning she checks on her "babies". This would be something she would treasure forever - any ideas anyone?? thanks

  • Comment number 44.

    I am 48 and i have seen many things to do with British nature, but tonight my 9 year old son and i saw a Cuckoo fly over us to a near by tree and Call mid flight!! "CUCKOO" then the bird landed just out of sight and another Cuckoo started replying they alternated for about 10mins. I have 5 children and we called everyone outside to witness this event.
    Lovely jubbly!

  • Comment number 45.

    We have some Great tits nesting in a box in our garden and they are getting help feeding their 5 young from a wren! Is this VERY unusual?

  • Comment number 46.

    The Springwatch Specials have been great. I fully support the actions that need to be taken to protect our wildlife, as shown in Chris Packham's programme. However, serious effects of climate change are already having an impact on many third world countries - the Pacific Islands and Bangladesh for example. Their people face losing a space to live. Could we have something on this topic please?

  • Comment number 47.

    We have a nest box with a camera inside. Bluetits are nesting, and they have at least 3 hatched young, so parents are very busy coming and going. The chicks are tucked down very low in the nest and you can only see them when food is imminent, and only as large open beaks! We live in West Carmarthenshire.

    If anyone wants to watch them, they are on:

  • Comment number 48.

    Hello Martin

    Great tits are nesting on my allotment at the bottom of a 'rhubarb chimney' which is about 50cms tall. The parents go in and out via clay saucer top that has a hole in it. I'm a bit concerned that the young won't be able to get out when its time to fledge.Do I need to do anything to help or just leave them to it?

  • Comment number 49.

    A leveret appeared in my garden and lolloped around then came right up to my feet and sat there eating bits of my Perennial border then dashed off, but I managed to get some photos so will post them. Cuckoos have been very busy and fly right over our garden and sit on the telegraph wires. Meanwhile we have two pairs of Swallows busy making the nests ready in the stable. Blackbirds have fledged and another pair are busy nesting. I love this time of year. The snow earlier in the year has made it feel like a "real" spring this year.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi Martin and the team,


    I heard the first Cuckoo on the 17th of April. It has been 'cuckoo-ing' since then, but one day I heard it sound comically different; the 'cuck' part of the call started off fine, but then the 'coo' 2nd part went all wrong, as though the Cuckoo had a sore throat. It struggled on like that all morning and went quite for 2 days after that.

    Do birds get a sore throat, or common cold?

    It was fine since then, so it didn't die.

    PS. I've only ever heard ONE Cuckoo call at a time - never two simultaneously.

  • Comment number 51.

    A 2nd Cuckoo question - (probably for Chris.)

    Dear Martin and the team,

    Cuckoos are born and brought up by a different species of bird with different songs, so HOW do they know what their own song is? They all call 'Cuck-oo' when they are adult birds, but how do they Learn that?

    Is it that they grow up in the nest hearing their real parent calling? or is a bird's call part of some kind of pre-programmed innate behaviour?

    Thank you for any ideas.

  • Comment number 52.

  • Comment number 53.

    a robin has made a nest right next to my back door on a shelf it has 4 babies is this a common thing to do and will they return next year

  • Comment number 54.

    we seem to have a lot of black flying insects in our garden this year and we do not know what they are. They are black buzz and have a long, what looks like proboscus, hanging down. They seem to be feeding on the white lilac, and broom/gorse flowers. I have never seen so many. Could anybody tell me what they are?

  • Comment number 55.

    We know that birds sometimes choose unusual nest sites and now there are a pair of crows nesting high up at the top of the television repeater mast at Romiley, Stockport. The female appears to be sitting on the nest and the male struggles to gain the height needed when returning.

  • Comment number 56.

    Can't wait for the new series to start!

    Question/ Myth: Do newts get drunk?

  • Comment number 57.

    I enjoyed Simon's programme last week, especially the bit about roofs being turned into gardens. Working in an architecture department, I would be interested to learn of any architectural design projects that attempt to integrate the needs of wildlife into new buildings. It seems to me there is a need for those - too many examples of 'sustainable design' are focused on the needs of humans only. Surely it must be possible to design new buildings in a way that they are useful to both people and wildlife. At the moment it seems that wildlife conservation and architecture are two separate fields. I think it would be very good if they could be brought together, both in practice and, especially, education. If you know of any projects that do this, please let me know!

    Marcel Vellinga

  • Comment number 58.

    Am I the only person watching my local bird population being massacred by magpies? For the past 4 years a magpie has carefully monitored all the nests in the vicinity waiting patiently for the chicks to emerge. I have witnessed it swooping in for the kill time and time again. This year (the same as last year) there is not one chick being fed by its parent. Any idea's on magpie control before my neighbourhood becomes a bird free zone?

  • Comment number 59.

    I am very excited as I have a Tree Bee's nest in my small bee house. it's only on a small pole and pushed into a flower pot, I didn't honestly think I would get any bees visiting it let alone nesting in it. I have had a sneaky look inside as it has a perspex lid inside the roof, There are loads of round balls and bees working hard, with bees taking it in turns to fan the entrance, as it is a very warm spot in the garden. ( well I think that's what they are doing) This is a first for me. I can't wait to see what is going to happen next!

  • Comment number 60.

    Our local school has been given an owl nesting box, unfortunately we are not sure where to site it. There are many trees within the grounds which may well be suitable but a bit of advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • Comment number 61.

    Hi there. Can you tell me whether it is against the law to destroy a seagulls nest? I emailed you a few days ago and told you about our seagull nest and the doves that came to observe it. Well, I was looking out of the window this afternoon and a man was leaning out of his window with a big, long stick destroying the nest!!! The mum was going crazy. I know that seagulls can be noisy, but haven't they got as much right to be on this earth as we have! Incidentally, the doves were all lined up on the roof as if they were in mourning.

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.

    most excited about next week!!
    was in lakenheath at weekend walking through pasture with cattle in including a massive hereford bull,i was wearing my england cricket top which is bright red and i swear the big fella was eyeballing me.

    Q;is it a myth that bulls get annoyed by red, 'red rag to a bull'

    annother myth i here allot

    'ash before oak,in for a soak,oak before ash,in for a splash'

    the last 3 years in rutland both species are 'leafing' at the same time which the myth doesn't take into account

  • Comment number 64.

    What great posts about hearing the cuckoo, it's been many years since I heard one, Mum heard one in Warminster, Wiltshire recently.
    Fantastic to see swifts as well as house martins and swallows circling overhead now.
    I love reading the posts on here...thanks.

  • Comment number 65.

    I live in a modern housing estate which has become swallow and house martin heaven. I've never seen these birds making nests in modern houses in any documentary. Could it be because a nearby barn was converted to houses a couple of years ago? We have deep overhanging roofs which the martins like and wide open porches which provide good nesting perches for the swallows, and they're all back this year. Are we unusual here? Has anyone else a similar story?

  • Comment number 66.

    I told you about a week ago that a lonely wasp started to build its nest in my garage...it now resembles a large poppy seed with lots of little'shaker'chambers inside and 2or3 layers of outer walls in a fine ivory-cream colour, I'm guessing it will lay eggs in there? Anyway,something incredible happened in my garden yesterday...I was sitting watching the birds...sparrows,woodcock, blackbird, bluetits, starlings...when a female blackbird swooped in to feed as usual followed incredibly quickly by a hawk(sparrow or kestrel,I don't know but it wasn't much bigger than the blackbird) and was trying to get the female blackbird...it spent 5mins chasing it in n out of the hedging, ducking and diving!!!! Amazing...I'm still awe struck!!! So wishing I had a camera to catch it all!!!! I love Springwatch...can't wait to see what's going to be happening this summer and autumn!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh yes...and over the past 3 wks 2 very large birds have been bothering all the nesting birds they can get at and stealing their eggs!!! They've already chased off 2 magpies nesting nearby and now started on trying to get into my chimney where jackdaws have nested for years...They are grey with black head and wings...what are they?

  • Comment number 68.

    Brilliant!!! SPRINGWATCH IS BACK. Who needs the world cup when the most intriguing & captivating spectacle is going on around us, all year round! BBC,do summerwatch and winterwatch aswell PLEEEEASE!! :-)

  • Comment number 69.

    Cant wait for springwatch again. I have uploaded a couple of pictures of baby starlings being fed in my mums garden on portland, Dorset, UK Also on the flat roofs opposite my house we have a pair of black back gulls with 3 baby chicks. They are I think the same pair from last year. They had one chick then and it fledged just fine. I have some footage of (this is a bit gross) the mother regurgitating the food to its chick.

  • Comment number 70.

    We had several slow worms in the garden at the week-end. They were beautiful but we could do with more information about them. Unfortunately on Sunday we found 2 had died but with no marks to show how this may have occurred.
    I hope you can help.

  • Comment number 71.

    Wonderful news that you are coming back.
    We are inundated with swifts, swallows and housemartins here in Merthyr Tydfil. Wonderful to see them swoop and fly and building nests after the hard winter.

    I was brought up watching trees leaf up as a rhyme my Gran taught me was "if the ash be out before the oak the summer will be but a soak, but if the oak be out before the ash then summer will be but a splash. Here in Merthyr the oak came into leave before the ash so I've got the fingers crossed for a warm and pleasant summer. What about other parts of the Country? Please advise.

    Looking forward to some magical telly before being inundated with football!

  • Comment number 72.

    Knowing that the decline in house sparrows is so well documented, I must say that here, last and this year especially, the numbers thankfully are booming. We have at least two pairs nesting in the roof for the first time in 12 years, and regularly count over 30 at any one time.

  • Comment number 73.

    Thank you for all your comments everyone.

    You've given us some great questions to get Martin thinking!

    San :)

  • Comment number 74.

    Rhys, who wrote.........also agree its good that your back make it longer this time? Need to ask if a sparrow hawk would take a whole wood pidgeon. Thought it might have been one of these as we have lost 2 blackbirds this year. just feathers and beak left on lawn. today pidgeon feathers and some inners. Please can you help.....

    short answer yes a sparrow hawk can kill a wood pigeon, i don't know if it'll eat the whole thing or not. it will definately take it back to a nest if there is one. but if all you had left was feathers and a beak, you looking a mammal (spelling?) scavenger that'll eat bones as well. hope this helps. love from wagtail-boogie

  • Comment number 75.

    Rhys on the 19th May wanted to know if a sparrow hawk would take a whole wood pigeon, the answer is a probable yes. Last year I was indoors when there was a loud bang. I went to see what the fuss was about and I saw a sparrow hawk decapitating a collard dove. Clearly the dove had seen the hawk, panicked and promptly flown into the patio window. Consequently the hawk did its stuff. I realise the dove is a tad smaller than a woodie but I would think it was quite capable of taking one out. Sorry to hear about your blackbirds.

  • Comment number 76.

    Lorna on the 23 May asked about what can we do to stop Magpies eating other birds chicks. I don't really know except move them to another location. In days gone by farmers kept a 'calling' bird. This was a magpie which they put in a cage and left it in a field. The bird would call to its kind to come rescue it, then the farmer would shoot them ( magpies were a problem then, eating new born lambs and such like. As they were persecuted so much they became very rare, resulting in the song 'one for sorrow' etc). I do not condone shooting them but catching them and moving them elsewhere must seem the only thing to do. Just last week a mum duck and her 15 babies took up residence in my garden, but by the following morning the maggies had had their fill and they were all gone. It is so sad but that is the dark side of nature. Please let us know if you do find a cure

  • Comment number 77.

    I am thoroughly appalled at the welsh assemblies decision to go ahead with the badger cull in Wales. The fact that badgers transmit TB to cattle has never been scientifically proven, and in fact probably the reverse is true - in that badgers pick up TB via eating insects in infected cow pats. The modern method of transporting cattle all over the country and the loss of local cattle markets is more to blame in my view - as with the spread of foot and mouth. I am now even more horrified that the new coalition government would sanction a cull in the UK........ Is there anything that can be done to change the minds of the proposers of such an ill- informed idea? This has been tried before in the UK and Ireland with no effective results in fact TB cases were worse in some cases. The badger I think, is part of our national heritage and is a true symbol of our natural woodland life, it surely should not be punished in this ridiculous and unfounded way.

  • Comment number 78.

    I have been watching a magpie nest for ages now. I live in Leeds City Centre, in a very urban development, you know the sort. I watched 2 magpies build a nest, at first on about 3 diff balconies, but eventually the nest took shap on one in my direct eye line from my flat. Its round the side of another balcony, the flat resident has seens it, it was quite funny to see her notice it.

    The magpies have just about fledged now but they are still hanging about a bit. I actually manaaged to catch the little one leaving one morning b4 work, it bringhtend up my day!!!

    I will try send some of my pics in to the Flickr page or something.

    Can't wait for spring watch!!! going on holl in the middle but will only have to record 4/5 episodes!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    we have just found a pair of nesting robins in a rubble sack at the bottom of the garden all the dhicks look ok parents in and out all the time because of the place they have nested is on the ground will they be safe

  • Comment number 80.

    I found a dead mole in the field, hadn't seen one close up before.
    Then yesterday I saw a live one bumble through the grass and slowly disappear down a hole, what a funny sight to see this fat bottom struggle to get in there!

  • Comment number 81.

    I have just seen a really weird thing ! I was stopped at a set of traffic lights at a really really busy cross roads and in front of the traffic light was a street light with a hole in the pole , a tiny hole mind you. And i saw a bird flit into and then a few seconds later come back out ! Wonder if it has a nest in there ? Dont know what sort of bird it was. I'll try and get a picture but its quite high up so my pic will probably only be a lamp post with a hole in ! :-D If you want to come and film it i'll happily make you a cuppa , its just down the road from my house :-D

  • Comment number 82.

    Does anyone know what bird would be yellow and brown with long tail. Thought yellowhammer as my other half has seen them by river in South Norfolk but had not streaks on head but a black cap. Did think Cirl Bunting on RSPB website but see they are Devon mainly. Any ideas?

  • Comment number 83.


    Two blue-tits have nested in my boiler space in between the bricking and the outlet.

    Their babies have hatched, by the sounds of all the cheeping quite a few, and the Mum and Dad are constantly flying in and out of the hole in the wall.

    You can hear the chirping wherever you are in the house, especially the kitchen, and outside.

    I think this is a rather odd place for blue tits to nest, being it so close to a human environment.
    I think they know we're no threat to them, as they go about their business even if we're outside.

    How cuute is that? `:D:D:D

  • Comment number 84.

    They reckon there are parokeets nesting in Kew Gardens. I have yet to see them however I did spot a cockatoo on Hampstead Heath

  • Comment number 85.

    Springwatch is so good it makes me cry. Also, Martin's hair makes me cry as well since I got all mine cut off! I really miss looking foppish! :(

  • Comment number 86.

    Do foxes kill for fun? It is widely believed that they do but I think this is a myth. I have seen footage of an Arctic fox make a kill and then leave the prey to kill again and then repeat this behaviour several times apparently for fun. However, the footage then goes on to show that when the opportunity to kill anew is over the fox returned to each kill and dragged them one by one into cover either to feed young or for future consumption. I believe that large cats will also leave a recent kill if there is an opportunity to kill again. I think that the instinct to kill as much and as often as possible is probably common among predators and it is this instinct that our foxes are demonstrating and not a joy of killing for its own sake.

  • Comment number 87.

    I have just discovered that a ring-collared dove is incubating her eggs in a rather makeshift nest directly above the green light on the pelican crossing opposite my house, on what is a pretty busy road which feeds onto a by-pass . She is currently getting a soaking in the rain, and the wind is blowing quite strongly. Just a few yards away there is a bench which is often colonised by local youths on summer evenings...I must say I feel a bit worried about her, especially when the chicks hatch and she has to go off and find food for them. They will be pretty vulnerable, and easy to see. There are owls, carrion crows, magpies around - I don't know whether they are likely to predate on this nest. We've had ring collared doves nesting in a conifer for a few years now and on one sad occasion 2 babies were blown out of the nest and didn't survive and earlier this year a large loose nest was blown out of the tree (could have belonged to the wood pigeons who have nested there in the past).

  • Comment number 88.

    Re Jacquie Goring's post - it is illegal to attack a nest where a mother bird is sitting with eggs or chicks, and if you see this happening you should call the police and probably get photographic evidence (this was information I received from a staff member at the RSPB when I rang for advice).

  • Comment number 89.

    Looking forward to the return of Springwatch!

    I have a question: People complain that mild winters mean that there are more flies and other insects in summer (not me, they're food for the birds!) This spring, after the hardest winter for many years, my car windscreen is plastered with sad little smears, and we're already finding marauding flies in the fridge. What's going on?

  • Comment number 90.

    Odd nesting place

    I wasn't sure of the correct place to post this, but you might be interested to know that there is a blue tit family nesting in a 'cigarette ends disposal bin' mounted on the wall near a door of the Freebridge Farm restaurant at Kings Lynn. The box is metal, with two small arch-shaped holes near the top. I took a photo of it recently when I was staying in the area; the staff had put a warning notice on the box telling people not to post their cigarette ends inside. It's quite a deluxe residence, because as there are two holes it means the birds can have an entrance and an exit hole. Or they can use one hole as a window! Although I would imagine the metal would make the box very hot in the sun.

  • Comment number 91.

    There's an interesting thread on the Messageboard about

    "Wasp like thingies" it's one for Chris Packham I think?

    ~ we can't work out what large species we're seeing.

  • Comment number 92.

    Mayflies are doing their enchantingly magical dance this week, darting up & down in the sunlit air.

  • Comment number 93.

    I watch most natural history and have hardly every seen footage of cuckoos but a few weeks ago heard the familiar sound of the cuckoo from a hedge in a field of linseed behind my house. I have now heard it every day since, seen the bird in flight and have even seen two cuckoos at once. I can only pick up a very distant picture on my video camera so wondered at this exciting event if you wanted to send some of your crew to my house for filming?

  • Comment number 94.

    Hi folks,

    Living in Norwich i usually read the local EDP paper and saw the bit about Springwatch in Pensthorpe, and it mentioned that feeding birds through Spring and Summer may negatively affect breeding trends in wild birds. I thought I'd just mention that, living in the city, we have spent three months trying to coax birds to the array of food on display in the garden and it is finally paying off as some birds are occasionally having a go. There are a pair of Blue Tits who are always in our garden, and they do sometimes go for the food we've put out, but for the most part they tend to go for all the bugs in our ivy and Clematis, so I guess you could say they are actively seeking "live" food, and are only taking our "Breakfast Crumble" (not a cheap breakfast at that!!) later in the day when they can't be bothered to seek out insects!

    Angie, Hardy Road, Norwich

  • Comment number 95.

    I have badgers in my garden !!!!!!!!!!! its so exciting i am 40 years old and never seen one in the wild, i have been feeding them nuts

  • Comment number 96.

    Myth busting questions:

    Is it true that if a swift were to land on the ground, it would not be able to take off again because its wings are too long?

    When a puffin is carrying sand eels in its beak, it alternates which way round they are so that a sand eel whose head is sticking out to the left of the beak is followed by a sand eel with its tail sticking out to the left, followed by head, followed by a tail etc?

    Is it true that if you pick up a frog, the heat from your hands will 'burn' its skin? And if you pick up a toad, you should wear gloves because its skin is poisonous?

  • Comment number 97.

    Wildlife Chefs. A blackbird in my garden carefully wipes slugs on the grass to remove most of the slime then dips them in the porridge oats on the birdtable before taking them to feed the chicks. If bits of crust I put out are too hard the magpie takes them to the birdbath for a soak before eating them. Anyone else noticed interesting food preparation?

  • Comment number 98.

    At the risk of breaking the trend of comments on fauna rather than flora, this should be a great time of year for orchids. I hope so, as I plan to try and spot half of Britain's species (I make that a challenging 24, but happy to be corrected) on or near the North Downs Way trail in June (for charity)! Will try and update as I go on here.

  • Comment number 99.

    Recently two bee hives were installed on an allotment, just across the lane. We have observed that some bees are behaving in a rather odd manner - landing on the ground and crawling over the grass, seemingly ignoring nearby flowers. Subsequent flight appeared to be uncertain and they did not forage. Could this be due to their recent move causing disorientation?

    Another behavior involved digging in a planter, apparently extracting something from the compost; they immediately flew off, in a direct line, back towards the hives. Could this be foraging for some important mineral?


  • Comment number 100.

    we decided to do our own springwatch and set up our own live village webcam in nest box and we now have 7 healthy nuthatch chicks go to http://www.blackhallmill.org.uk/ and check out the action


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