The secret lives of sparrows

Wednesday 22nd April: Isolation Day 31 During my daily ‘exercise’ (or rather, sitting down with camera poised), my aim over the past week has been to capture the daily antics of a rather overlooked bird, the humble house sparrow. Not spectacularly coloured or great songsters but fascinating in their own right, they have always one…

Wildfowl Wednesday

Wednesday 8th April: Isolation Day 17 We are now mid way through our third week of social distancing and fortunately I am still finding ways to keep occupied and stay in touch with nature in between working from home. The government guidance means no more photo trips away from home so I am spending all…

The chase

Despite a drizzly morning and a thorough soaking, nothing could dampen this male pigeon’s spirits today. He and his mate provided me with great entertainment as he pursued her in circles like a hyperactive wind up toy. Whilst he clearly had just one thing on his mind, his mate was less than enamoured and gave…

The darker side of ducks

For all creatures no matter how great or small, their primary aim in life is to survive long enough to reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation. This instinct can result in some startling behaviour as demonstrated with the local mallard population here in Aberystwyth. Mallards are very common birds and often…

Spot the difference

What a difference a year can make…After a distinct lack of ladybirds last year, this year these beautiful little bugs are back and appear to be thriving! Quite what caused the disappearance last year I’m not sure, perhaps it was the cold snap caused by the ‘beast from the east’ which wiped out many hibernating…

Bird Behaviour: Food sharing

Many species of bird will share food with each other, a behaviour known as allo-feeding. This most commonly occurs between parents feeding their chicks however it is also seen among adults, particularly during the breeding season and as part of courtship behaviour. But why should a bird waste energy feeding it’s partner who is more…

Love is in the air

Although capable of breeding year round (provided they can find enough food) the harbour pigeons have waited for the welcome return of warmer weather before beginning their breeding efforts. Now this spring is well underway, the quiet morning air is regularly filled with the sounds of the male pigeons soft cooing calls as they strut…

Spring fever

As spring fever grips the country, here in Aberystwyth the mallard population have kicked off their breeding season with a bout of enthusiastic courtship displays. The purpose of such behaviour is for the males to demonstrate their health and desirability as a mate, and for the females to choose the best fathers for their offspring….

Happy Valentine’s Day

Did you know jackdaws are one of the few birds which truly mate for life? Jackdaws form pairs as young birds and will then remain together for all of their lives in a partnership sometimes referred to as a ‘marriage’. The couple will travel and feed together, and both birds are responsible for raising their…

Capturing the moment

For our familiar mallard ducks the breeding season starts early, long before the welcome warmth of spring arrives to take the chill off the land. As early as October they begin to pair up, the males displaying enthusiastically despite the driving rain and freezing winds. Today on a relatively warm and sunny day in February…

Love birds

Rather surprisingly, Pigeons are one of the few species of birds who are truly monogamous, often forming lifelong pairs. Unlike most wild birds they are also capable of reproducing all year round, provided conditions are favourable and their is enough food for the adults and chicks. With the sun shining I have been spending a…

Three’s company

With Autumn now in full swing, mallards are turning their attention to finding a mate for the breeding season ahead. Whilst these ducks are usually monogamous, it would appear the mallards here in Aberystwyth have decided to do things a little differently. One particular female appears to have paired up with two males, something almost…