will also be features on birdsong and a couple of 'birdsong
for beginners' midweek walks.
guide you through the month, we've put together some birdsong
facts and information about what to listen out for
>>> Listen to some examples of birdsong
do birds sing?
Most birds sing during the breeding season, from February
through until July but a few birds - like robins, wrens and
dunnocks - sing throughout the year. Others, such as song
thrushes, will have brief periods of song outside the main
breeding season (December in the case of song thrushes).
Birds will sing throughout the day, and sometimes at night.
The busiest period for song is around dawn, the least busy
period from midday to early evening.
blackcaps are known to mimic other birds
heard a bird singing at night - is it a nightingale?
Nightingales are the best known birds to sing at night, but
they are not the only ones. In fact, nightingales are quite
rare - especially around Bristol - so the chances are that
the bird you are listening to is either a robin or blackbird,
singing beneath a street lamp.
do birds sing?
In spring male birds sing to advertise to other males that
they are holding territory, warning them to keep away and,
conversely, to advertise to females that they are fit, healthy
and 'available'. Once paired, the song also appears to serve
to keep the male and female together once they are paired.
birds that sing outside the breeding season, such as robins,
do so because they hold winter feeding territories. Robins
are particularly unusual in that females sing as well as males.
birds have favourite places to sing from?
Yes, birds use a series of 'song posts' from which they sing
in turn throughout the breeding season. These mark the boundaries
of their territories and are used by bird surveyors to work
out the size and extent of bird populations in a given area
are the commonest bird songs to be heard around our streets
Robins, blackbirds, song thrushes and wrens are all particularly
vocal in spring. You will also hear dunnocks, great tits,
starlings and blue tits commonly around your neighborhood.
can I learn birdsong?
Firstly, learn the common songs, start with the birds mentioned
in the previous FAQ. The best way is to spend time outside
watching and listening - find a bird in song and stick with
it while it sings.
Supplement this by listening to CDs and tapes of birdsong
(you can get them from the RSPB or listen
to a selection here on the website).
Remember though, it is difficult to learn song without 'field
experience' - so don't expect to listen to a tape and go out
and know birds from their song straight away.
Lastly, if possible, go out on walks with people who know
their birdsong already - any experienced wildlife guide is
likely to identify birds as much by sound as by sight.