Canary? Not quite…

yellowhammer on wall.JPG

Yellowhammer, Ladybridge

Spring, summer, autumn, winter: birding is so exciting for us all year round, and as the seasons change, so does the variety of bird species.

Earlier this year in spring time, while on one of our walks down the canal, a woman and man approached us with a dog and said they’d seen a beautiful bright yellow canary down there.  We had already seen it in all its glory and taken a picture, so we were able to show them the picture of the “canary”.  Easily mistaken if you’re not familiar with types of birds, but it was in fact a beautiful male yellowhammer.

The above is probably our best picture, but we’ve seen them in many different locations.  As soon as we hear the call we know we are close to them.  They often tuck themselves into a hedgerow, or perch high in a tree, making a “tsui” call followed by a “zie zie zie zie zaaar!”  The male has a head and underparts of bright lemon yellow, but breeding females have much less yellow on them and have strongly brown streaked underparts.  The nest can be found on the ground, mainly in banks or low down in a bush, well hidden and made from stems, grass, moss, leaves and fine plant material.  They lay 3 to 5 whitish eggs, with black and red irregular scribbles on them.  They can also been seen in groups on freshly ploughed fields.  We’ve seen many in the fields walking up to Babworth woods.  They will pick at grain, spiders, seeds, insects, etc. and we’ve often seen them doing this.

Canary or not, they are as pretty and pleasant in voice.  They are a widespread  year round visitor, so don’t miss out, get out and about and see this little ray of sunshine that cheers any dull day up.  They certainly cheer us up.  Hammer of the gods – you bet!

yellowhammer in grass.JPG

Yellowhammer, Ladybridge

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