Today I took a short walk after breakfast to try and “get my ear in” to bird songs and calls again. Last year, with some help I managed to teach myself a few of the more common bird calls so I decided to head out and see what I could remember (leaving the camera at home!). On leaving the house I was greeted immediately by the amazingly loud call of a tiny wren (gærdesmutte). As one of Europe’s smallest birds I’m still astounded at the volume of sound they can make, with their characteristic thrill towards the end of each phrase (hear it here). I stood silently and waited for him to appear and was treated to a beautiful view of the minute but very assertive bird!
Next I heard the very common call of the great tit (musvit) which sounds to me like “teacher-teacher” or “see-saw, see-saw” often with more emphasis on the first syllable (hear it here). Great tits are exceptionally common here, more than any other bird that I’ve noticed. They regularly appear on “bird TV”, aka our bird feeder by the window! After a short while I heard the characteristic chattering of a pair of magpies (husskade). One was carrying nest building material (twigs) which is a sure sign of spring!
Soon after this my attention was caught by something slightly different. In the distance I could hear a faint knocking sound. As I got closer, it became clearer and above me, trying to make himself heard was a greater spotted woodpecker (stor flagspætte). He moved from tree to tree looking for branches (possibly dead ones) to drum on and make the best sound (which depends on drumming frequency, 10-40 strikes per second!). This spring drumming is a display to attract females attention. (Hear it here)
Finally I came across a bird singing which I didn’t recognize immediately. I walked along the edge of the beech/oak wood nearby and heard a watery somewhat unsure song. I stood and listened for a while trying to figure out what it was and where it was coming from. I spotted a few blackbirds high in the tree but from what I remembered it wasn’t a blackbird’s call and on closer inspection none of them were singing.
After some time a small bird flew from the trees around the corner and I followed him, sure it was the singer. After a few jumps I managed to get a look at him and it was, as I had suspected a little robin (rødhals)! (Hear it here) It’s the first time I’ve heard a robin sing here and it’s one of the songs that can take me a minute to figure out! It was a very nice start to the morning but it will be a whole different game when the migrants arrive in the next few months! When I come acorss a call/song I don’t recognise, I record it on my phone and compare it to others on the internet…it might help anyone who’s interested!
In the last few weeks while out and about I noticed something odd, almost subconsciously. While waiting in a car in a small village on an island located south of Funen in Denmark I made my first observation. In the village on the island of Tåsinge I noticed a sticker on a window above a door leading into a house. It was black and outlined a bird of some sort. Interesting decoration I thought and it quickly slipped from my mind.
A few days later I was walking through a long glass corridor in the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and again I noticed a very similar black silhouetted bird sticker. This time it was on a large glass panel, alone. I was on route somewhere at the time and again the observation quickly slipped from my mind.
Today while browsing on-line for some Christmas gifts (on the Irish Peatland Conservation Council website http://www.ipcc.ie) I came across another similar sticker and finally the penny dropped! These large bird stickers are designed to mimic birds of prey to deter small birds (their prey) from potentially dangerous glass windows. Interestingly they are available in black and red, depending on the type of glass and how the bird may view it! Simple, but brilliant!