Their melodious song and their charming personalities
have endeared robin redbreasts to the British public;
in 1960 they were named the UK’s national bird. The
characteristic image of a robin on a spade handle is
a consequence of their highly territorial instinct. The
male is simply seeking a good lookout spot!
FAVOURITE FOOD Super suet balls, mealworms,
and sunflower hearts.
3. BLUE TIT
Blue tits are generally very common throughout Britain. There may be 3,300,000 breeding pairs in the
country. Blue tits look for their meals in tree canopies,
although they do spend some time on the ground
searching for food, especially in winter.
FAVOURITE FOOD Sunflower hearts, high-energy
no-mess seed mix and coconut shell treats.
Cheerful garden visitors with their sharp, quick
song, chaffinches have been known to live for up
to 14 years. Males have pink cheeks and chest,
and a blue-grey nape and crown; both sexes have
distinctive white flashes on their wings. During
winter, European chaffinches migrate to Britain, but typically only the females.
FAVOURITE FOOD Seed feast mix, nyjer seed
and high-energy suet pellets.
7. SONG THRUSH
Song thrushes live up to their name by singing for
much of the year, though their delightfully
musical calling begins in earnest in the New
Year. Another whose numbers are in severe decline
(they’re on the RSPB red list), song thrushes are
ground feeders and particularly partial to snails.
FAVOURITE FOOD Live mealworms, super suet
and fat balls.
Numbers have plummeted in cities in recent years:
London lost 75 per cent of its sparrows between 1994
and 2000, though the cause is still unknown. They are
very sociable birds, often nesting in colonies. Some
have been found living 2,000ft underground in a
Yorkshire mine, while others have lived their whole
lives inside warehouses!
FAVOURITE FOOD Fat balls, seed feast mix and
hanging bird cakes.
Its twittering song, and flash of yellow and green as it
flies, make this finch a truly colourful character. Though
numbers have dropped due to isesases, it is a regular
garden visitor, able to take advantage of food in rural
and urban areas. Although quite sociable, they may
squabble at the bird table.
FAVOURITE FOOD Nyjer seed, premium peanuts, and black sunflower seeds.
A woodpecker’s tongue can be up to four inches long
depending on the species, and it wraps around the skull when retracted. Many have barbed ones to
extract bugs from trees and holes. Woodpeckers
don’t get headaches from pecking: they have
reinforced skulls that diffuse the impact and their
brains are well cushioned and protected.
FAVOURITE FOOD Super suet cakes, premium
peanuts, buggy and fruit pellets.
Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed
head and triangular wings, starlings look black at
a distance but at closer range they are very glossy,
with a sheen of purples and greens. During autumn
and winter, hundreds of thousands of noisy starlings
come together in huge clouds, wheeling, turning and
swooping in unison. You can see this fascinating
sight, known as a murmuration, on nature reserves
and other sites around the UK.
FAVOURITE FOOD Insect suet pellets, sunflower
hearts and dried mealworms.