Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday 8th August
The woods are very quiet at this time of the year. There is still lots going on but it is literally quiet; there is almost a total absence of bird song. Occasionally there is just a rattle from a wren or the odd contact call from long-tailed tits but overall, no song at all.
The breeding season is all but over with the 2nd robin brood becoming more independent despite still being fed by the adults. This is also signified by the occasional high-pitched call of a just-fledged sparrowhawk. This bird would have hatched just as the
young of the smaller woodland birds leave the nest. This way the adult sparrowhawks have plenty of food for their young in the form of stupid, uncoordinated just-fledged chicks. A study has been carried out that has revealed that it takes around 56 great tits to feed a sparrowhawk chick from hatching to fledging! So, the fact that the sparrowhawk young has left the nest indicates that the bountiful time is more or less over. The sparrowhawks probably had 3 young but I can only hear and occasionally see 1; the other 2 probably did not survive and may even have been eaten by their surviving sibling. As cute and colourful as our woodland birds are, it is a brutal world for them.

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