Exploring wildlife in the Cotswolds - How to tell birds' eggs apart
PUBLISHED: 01:44 23 June 2012 | UPDATED: 10:36 21 February 2013
There will be eggs a-plenty across the Cotswolds this month, both chocolate varieties and smaller ones from which a new generation of birds will soon be hatching. What to look out for when observing the nature of the Cotswolds...
Another familiar sight in our gardens is the blackbird. These favour bushes, creepers or trees for building their nests from grass, rootlets and mud, into which they lay between four and six greenish-blue and brown-speckled eggs between March and July.
The prize for the neatest and roundest nests must surely go to the chaffinch, which picks bushes or the forks of trees for its cosy constructions made from moss, lichens, wool, feathers and hair. Chaffinch eggs are a pink-tinged grey with brown blotches and usually appear during April and May. Robins, perhaps the best loved of British birds, seek out holes in walls, trees or banks and even unusual spots indoors and outdoors - for their nests, which they build from grass, wool, moss and hair. Their eggs, laid between February and July, are white and speckled with light red and usually number five or six. Should you come aross such a nest, however, bear in mind that blue tits and great tits lay similarly coloured eggs and also have a habit of finding odd places in which to hatch their young. Blue eggs spotted with black are more than likely laid by the song thrush, which makes nests from twigs, grass and moss with a smooth lining of mud in bushes, hedges, trees and creepers. These tuneful birds generally lay in batches of around four or five between February and July.By the summer most young birds have flown the nests, but itsalways worth checking hedges carefully before preparing to let loose with the shears.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
...is a countywide charity which manages 60 nature reserves covering over 2,500 acres. Its aim is to secure a natural environment which the people of Gloucestershire and visitors can enjoy for generations to come .Local membership numbers 23,000 people and 350 regular volunteers give their time to support the Trusts work. Membership of the Trust costs from just 2 a month. Join online at www.gloucestershirewidlifetrust.co.uk tel: 01452 383333 or visit the Trusts Conservation Centre at Robinswood Hill Country Park, Gloucester.
Look but dont touch!
Thats the key thing to remember should you stumble across nests in hedge rowsand trees this spring. Wild birds are currently laying eggs in a wide range of colours and sizes across the Cotswolds. From high up in tall trees to concealed spots in hedgerows, various species have their own favourite spots for nesting. Some, such as robins, even make use of discarded pieces of household equipment, such as old kettles and flower pots, to hatch their young.
Laws prohibiting the taking or even touching birds eggs are strict: its been illegal to remove anything from nests since 1954 and other legislation, including the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb a number of species while they are nest building. Breaking these laws could result in a fine of up to 5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. There are times, however, when we all come across the nests of wild birds or the empty shells discarded after the babies have hatched and its always interesting to know what has laid them. According to the British Trust for Ornithology, wood pigeons are the most frequently seen birds in the UK and they make flat nests out of sticks in trees and bushes, laying their two white eggs between April and August.