How early do birds start coming to your garden?
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM
This is a great activity for those who wake up early. During cold weather birds need extra energy to keep warm. They also need to lay down fat reserves to help them through the night. Small birds, like Blue Tits, do not lay down a lot of fat – perhaps only enough to get them through a single night – and this means that they might be under pressure to find food as soon as day breaks. Is there a pattern to the time at which different bird species arrived at garden feeders?
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Pen and paper
- Bird feeders
- A bird ID guide
- Binoculars (optional)
- Camera trap (not necessary but it saves waking up early!)
YOUR STEP BY STEP SET-UP GUIDE
- Fill the feeders before you go to bed or just before light in the morning.
- Find out the time of dawn. First light is before this time, so aim to be watching your garden about half an hour before, so you are awake when your feeding station first becomes visible to the birds.
- Note down at what time you see the first of each species coming into the garden.
IF YOU WANT TO TAKE IT FURTHER
You can continue doing this activity to see if you consistently get the same results. You can also do the same thing in the evening; which birds are last ones feeding in your garden, in low light? Do you have a lot of artificial light locally? If so, how do you think this could influence your activity findings? Do you live in a rural location or in a town or city, and do you think that this might affect the result? Remember that the food you provide will influence the species that you see. If you currently only put one type of food out, why not try varying this and see if you record different birds.