The 12 days of (a wildlife) Christmas – 4 calling birds

Blue tit on feeder with house in background - Ben Hall/2020VISION

For day 4 of our 12 days of (a wildlife) Christmas I've been trying to identify four different bird calls from my urban Ipswich garden, and I hope you’ll do the same!

To celebrate day 4 I've decided to conduct a garden bird census and have had a go at some bird call ID – a lovely mindful exercise to kick start each day! I've had a chatty magpie sitting on my roof, a melodic blackbird and was treated to a flock of tits hopping around the hedgerow at the bottom of the garden. I was especially excited to see long-tailed tits who are often found in large excitable flocks and have a very distinctive contact call to listen out for.

Similar to wrens, long tailed tits will also roost together in groups during winter to conserve heat. Check out this video of 16 long-tailed tits squished together on a branch, jostling amongst themselves to get the best position!

How many birds can you see or hear in your garden? Registration will soon be opening for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and this is a great opportunity to contribute to a very valuable dataset. This citizen science project has been running for 40 years, and is incredibly useful in monitoring trends and identifying which species are in need of our help.

If you’ve enjoyed identifying birds in your garden and want to learn more, why not try out one of our Bird call ID or winter bird ID courses at Lackford Lakes! Learn about bird call in  January or February and winter bird ID this Sunday, or in January.

Winter can be a good time to give our resident birds a helping hand as many of their main prey sources are in short supply in these colder months. Ensure your garden is wildlife friendly; many invertebrates will over winter in long tussocky grass, old seed heads and fallen leaves so leave your garden to go a little wild! You can also consider leaving out some food in the colder months. Feeding stations can however help spread disease between birds, so be sure to regularly wash your feeders!