Thursday, November 29, 2007

Listening To Birds

Listening To Birds: An Anthropological Approach to Bird Sounds

This sounds [pun not intended] like an interesting project:
'A two year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council investigating how people perceive, identify and make sense of bird sounds.

What happens when we hear a bird? This is the question at the heart of this project and over the next two years we will be listening to birds with others and finding out how bird sounds become a part of people's lives.

We want to investigate how people listen to birds because we're fascinated by two subjects. First, we are interested in the relationships between humans and birds and the role that sound plays in this. We wish to understand how bird sounds become important and meaningful to people, for example as being evocative of time, place or season. Second, we want to explore hearing and to consider how people become skilled at differentiating what they hear.'

Friday, November 23, 2007

If you go down to the woods today

'Walking around The Lodge at lunchtime, there was a rustle and then the sound of powerfully whirring wings. A fat, brown bird flew from the crispy leaves in the sweet chestnut woodland and away up the hill from us. It made me jump! For a split second, I thought, 'what on earth was that?' but then it became obvious...'
Read the whole thing at Notes on Nature

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Garden tick

Tree (left) and House Sparrows. Note how colossal the HS looks by comparison

Tree Sparrow!

Male House Sparrow

Exciting times in the garden over the past couple of days. Yesterday, D was at home feeling ill. He happened to glance out of the window and saw a Tree Sparrow sitting in the bush! That came as a bit of a shock as we didn't know of any others nearby.

We invited Mark round today to catch and ring a few garden birds, as there are quite a few around at the moment. He put up a single net between the bush and the two feeders and in a couple of hours we were quite successful: the expected Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, House Sparrows, Chaffinches and Greenfinches. Oh, and a Tree Sparrow!

We were probably unlucky not to get a woodpecker (one Green seen this morning, and three Great Spots all at once this afternoon), or a Sparrowhawk. I think the Jackdaws (which have been using both peanut and sunflower feeders) might be too canny to get caught. Perhaps we'll get them next time.

It will be really interesting to see whether the Tree Sparrow stays for the winter. Steve says it's typical for them to wander about at this time of year. This area has a number of features which should be good for them and we'll be getting some nestboxes in place for next spring.

Fingers crossed. Maybe this is the start of a new colony?

  • Blue Tit, 16
  • Great Tit, 6
  • Greenfinch, 6
  • House Sparrow, 3
  • Chaffinch, 2
  • Dunnock, 2
  • Coal Tit, 2
  • Robin, 1
  • Tree Sparrow, 1
photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Friday, November 16, 2007

A warm, fuzzy feeling

A heavy frost had coated everything in crystals. It wasn't long after dawn and already, fluffy, hungry-looking birds were lurking in the bushes. The bird feeders were nearly empty!

Under normal circumstances, you could perhaps accuse me of being a little disorganised, but this morning I became a hyper-efficient bird-feeding machine...
Read the whole post at Notes on Nature

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's that time of year

Beech leaves, beechmast and wasp

Sweet Chestnut

Oak skeleton

Red Admiral



Green Woodpecker hole

Leaf litter

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Friday, November 09, 2007

Inside story on the Sandringham harrier shootings

The RSPB's Investigations Officer, Mark Thomas, has written about his experience:

'I asked what was happening… He explained in a calm, yet clearly traumatised, voice that barely 20 minutes ago, together with two members of the public who he had taken specifically to look for roosting raptors, he had watched two female hen harriers being shot out of the sky.'

RSPB Investigations blog