Birding ideas in lockdown

Walmsley Sanctuary Video:

A great and atmospheric video of the Cornwall Birds sanctuary at Walmsley –

by 3rd Year Photography student Dylan Jackaman of Exeter University at Penryn. See Dylan’s twitter feed at  @DRJackaman for more.

Nocmigging Article by Tony Blunden: With more time in the garden and garden bird recording proving more popular more birders are turning to recording the nocturnal migrants passing overead. Read the full article here – Night Flight or Nocturnal Migration

Garden Listing League: To help with those self-isolating at home and as many of us are able to spend more time in the garden this spring, we have set up a Garden Lockdown Listing League here on the website to help in keeping motivation going and improving your garden list (you may just get hooked) in these strange times. To take part just email your tally and updates to us at the usual address. Let the competition begin.

Gull News,  from Penzance: We bought this house in 2006 but it wasn’t until the next Spring that we realised we had also ‘bought’ a pair of Herring Gulls as well. They’ve nested on our roof ever since, and they’re planning to do the same again this year. Trouble has been that we’ve never been able to see the action, other than putting fallen youngsters back up on the roof 2-3 times each year.

About 5 years ago a pair started nesting on our neighbour’s roof. I suspect one of them might even have been a youngster from our roof a few year’s earlier. Anyway, I can now sit and watch their antics whilst in my armchair. I’ve already seen mating activity and their nest is just below the ridge. One, presumably the female, has been reorganising the nest cup and sitting in it for a short time. It seems to me that this activity is a few weeks earlier than usual. Last year i completed the gull survey for this tetrad, and counted 46 active nests The survey was during May when interestingly some gulls were only just starting to nest-build even then.

Tony Mills

Herring Gulls – T Mills

Birding Ideas: With no reasonable possibility of going out birdwatching at the present time, here are a few ideas which may help ease the pain:

The simplest and safest solution is to stay at home and watch birds in your garden or urban surroundings. This can take many forms from simply enjoying watching birds to detailed note taking and creating lists. Whatever works for you, there is no right or wrong way to look at birds, the most important thing is to enjoy them.

To increase your enjoyment you might try:

  1. The BTO Garden Watch Scheme, for details follow the link.
  2. Making a list of all the birds you see in your garden or from your window during your period of isolation. This could be in the form of a total ‘lockdown’ list, or daily or weekly lists. Maximum counts of each species visiting at a certain could add more value to these list. Separate counts on different days or times of day can also be interesting, especially when compared to previous totals.
    The more you record the more useful your sightings become, especially if you can include numbers. CBWPS would be more than happy to receive any records, as long as they include the minimum of date, location, observer name, species and ideally numbers.
  3. To enhance your enjoyment you might try sketching or painting birds in your garden. It doesn’t matter how good (or bad) you are at art, the important thing is that it makes you really look at the birds you are seeing.
    Alternatively you could try photographing your birds as they are often quite tame and relatively near as you are hidden in your home. Nowadays quite cheap cameras have good optics and a zooming capability and even phone cameras can get surprisingly good results.
  4. Creating or improving wildlife habitat within your garden. Potential ideas include planting a new wildflower meadow, setting up some bird feeders or even digging out a new wildlife pond. Any habitat improvement, big or small, will be appreciated by wildlife and hopefully be rewarded with better views of an array of species. A great article with more ideas can be found here,


Bird id

Test your Counting Skills

Just for Fun

How many birds can you identify in this clip?

6th April 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all

  1. Which former England goalkeeper died in the Munich air crash whilst working as a newspaper reporter?
  2. Which wader has the longest single migratory flight?
  3. In Star Wars what was the name of Han Solo’s spaceship?
  4. Which altitudinal migrant makes its journey twice a year on foot?
  5. What was the title of the trilogy of novels written by Flora Thompson?

Answers at the bottom of the page

4th April 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all

  1. What is the alternative name for a castle in chess?
  2. In Disney’s “Aladdin” who provided the voice of the Genie?
  3. What is the smallest intercontinental migrant bird?
  4. What was the name of the organisation that was fought by the Men from UNCLE?
  5. Which bird undertakes the longest migratory journey?

House listing at Sancreed


Dave Flumm sent us this photo of a rather unusual attempt to add some extra birds to his garden list, which appeared to pay off as Helmeted Guineafowl was apparently added to the ‘escapes’ list at around 25 mile range toward Redruth! A great idea, and any (more serious) garden totals since lockdown began can be sent to us at to appear on our Garden Lockdown Listing League 






3rd April 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all.

  1. Played by Steve Coogan, who is the star of “Knowing me, knowing you”?
  2. How many rings have BTO ringers used in the last century?- 6 Million, 12 Million, 24 Million, 36 Million
  3. In Magnum, Orson Welles provides the voice of which character who is never seen, the owner of the estate Magnum protects?
  4. Who was the first ever Substitute to take the field in the history of the football league?
  5. What is the nickname of the New Zealand rugby league side?

Gail Charman sent in this uplifting newspaper article.

2nd April 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all.

16. What is the nickname of Norwich City F.C.?
17. Which is the only British breeding bird of prey which doesn’t have yellow feet?
18. Who designed St. Paul’s cathedral?
19. Which actress played the part of nurse Tina Seabrook in casualty?
20. What colour are Great Crested Grebe’s eggs when newly laid?

1st April 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all.

  1. Who plays the role of Maximus in the 2000 film Gladiator?
  2. Who was the English player to win the Embassy snooker world championship in 1991?
  3. In 1970 what was the first top ten hit for T. Rex?
  4. What species of bird was killed by a ‘fast ball’ during a match at Lords Cricket Ground in 1936 and is now mounted with the match ball at the MCC Museum?
  5. What prevents the Mountain Chicken from flying?

(Scroll down for answers to previous questions)

Blue Tit, Kate Dalziel

Jackdaw, Kate Dalziel

House Sparrow, Kate Dalziel

House Sparrow, Kate Dalziel

Some Sheep Wool proved very popular for nesting birds today in Feock (submission K Dalziel). More great ideas on encouraging birds to visit your garden can be found under ‘Birding Ideas’ below

30th March 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all.

6. In which town do the characters in birds of a feather live?
7. What is the smallest flightless bird?
8. What is the study of birds’ eggs called?
9. What is the collective term for a group of ravens?
10. Who is Donald duck’s girlfriend?

(Answers to yesterdays quiz at bottom of page)

A Short Nuthatch Tale: With more time on my hands I managed to sit for a few hours and take these photos in our garden in Liskeard. We have named them Nancy and Nigel Nuthatch. Firstly Nigel checked it out and then Nancy popped her head out and said, “Oh Nigel I love it lets quickly put in an offer so we can move in with immediate effect”.  Offer accepted, Nigel was then despatched to start moving in the appropriate furnishings. Hopefully we will have baby Nuthatches in the coming weeks, plenty of time for me to think of more names beginning the N!

Nuthatch investigating bird boxes – L + A Birtwistle

Nuthatch investigating bird boxes – L + A Birtwistle

Nuthatch investigating bird boxes – L + A Birtwistle

Linda & Andy Birtwistle
UPDATE – Two chicks were successfully fledged on 28th May.

29th March 2020 Update:

Your 5-A-Day: Bird-related quiz questions for all.

  1. Sandra and Carol, played by Nerys Hughes and Elizabeth Estensen, were the main characters in which TV series?
  2. What was the name of the bird with the voice of Bernard Cribbins used to advertise BT?
  3. What name did Sir Malcolm Campbell christen the car in which he broke the world land speed record in 1928 and 1931?
  4. Which bird gave Fleetwood Mac a no.1 instrumental hit?
  5. What familiar seabird do sailors call Mother Carey’s chicken?

Answers when we post up tomorrow’s 5 …

Answers to 5-a-day quiz:

1. Liver Birds
2. Busby
3. Bluebird
4. Albatross
5. The Storm Petrel

6. Chigwell
7. The Kiwi
8. Oology
9. An unkindness
10. Daisy Duck

11. Russell Crowe
12. John Parrot
13. Ride A White Swan
14. House Sparrow
15. Because it’s a species of large Frog!

16. The Canaries
17. The Osprey (they are blue/grey)
18. Sir Cristopher Wren
19. Claire Goose
20. White

21. Alan Partridge
22. 36 Million (that’s 11.3 tonnes of metal!)
23. Robin Masters
24. Keith Peacock (Charlton 1965)
25. The Kiwis


  1. Rook
  2. Robin Williams
  3. Ruby-throated Hummingbird which weighs just 6g
  5. Arctic Tern flies up to 22,000 miles.They experience the most daylight of any bird.


  1. Frank Swift
  2. Bar-tailed Godwit which can fly 6800 miles in one flight from Alaska to New Zealand.
  3. Millenium Falcon
  4. The Mountain Quail of North America walks down the mountains to winter in the milder valleys below
  5. Larkrise to Candleford