The dawn chorus always evokes such pleasure in Spring, but the demise of many sparrows, chaffinches and thrushes have diminished and thus the volume of the dawn chorus.

Blackbirds seem to be numerous. Wrens and robins are abundant in mild Winters, but harsh weather causes a vast decrease which may take three or four years to recoup.

Thrushes of all species have lessened in this area. Large flocks of mistle thrushes, fieldfores and redwing could always be observed on sites within the village. Now they seem to find food in distant fields and in much smaller flocks. Perhaps insect food is not so abundant as in the past.

Cats also take a vast toll of smaller birds, whilst magpies flourish enormously, fed largely by small birds and their eggs. A ruthless thief.

Pheasant and wood pigeon are numerous, the former being bred in captivity and released for hunting parties.

They are not so prevalent away from the gamekeepers or shooting interests and are thought to be in decline in these situations.

Partridge and skylark, ground nesting birds, are in decline. It is more difficult for a tractor to avoid their nests than for a horse to circumvent.

The most poignant decrease in bird population has been that of the lapwing. The Horniwinks nested on moorland and farmland.

A change in farming practice was one feature which helped in their demise. Wet marshland and moorland was drained and blanket pesticide control in the 60's aided their disappearance (the food chain being poisoned).

The curlew also faded away at the same time.

A loss of habitat has decimated our owl population. Rough grassland and field margins provided food for tawny and brown owls.

Consuming small mammals carrying an abnormal amount of pesticides from crop spraying has been unhelpful. However, crows and rooks seem as noisy and occur as widely as they have always done.

[ Back to top ]