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Mid Summer changes

An Article by Mike Stentiford, MBE

These  current months of high summer can be something of a fidgety time for any species of bird that regards our garden or neighbourhood purely as a temporary place of residence.



Although we, ourselves, still have a few remaining weeks to enjoy the outdoor fruits of high summer, for long-distance travellers such as Barn swallows, House martins, Sand martins and a whole range of unobtrusive little warblers, it’s a time of careful preparation..

It’s all down to that gentle but strengthening inner voice that tells them that the time is nigh to start checking their return air tickets to the African continent.

Some of our summer migrants have already packed their bags, bade farewell and are well on their south-bound way - the Swifts and a handful of Cuckoos being prime examples.

For many of the summer visitors still biding their time though, putting on all those extra grammes and gaining a proficiency certificate in feather fitness is steadily becoming an essential priority.

Even those familiar garden birds that have neither an obligation or inclination to strap on their back-packs for an exotic winter break – the Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blue and Great tit – are beginning to loosen up their grip on their previously well defended territorial gardens.

There are, of course, other familiar garden species that do enjoy a winter break although they’re not adventurously inclined to book a flight as far south as Tropical Africa. A prime example is the Goldfinch, or, as it was known by Edwardian society, the five-coloured linnet. Although many of them are more than happy to stay put - thus honouring their British passports - others will form impressively large ‘charms’ and head off to south-west Europe for a winter of reasonable content.

But there, wherever any of the little treasures decide to go, I think we all agree that, following a hugely demanding nesting season, they truly do deserve something of a good extended winter break – yes?



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