21st November 2014

Sadly, yesterday I found this dead Goldcrest in the garden. These, our tiniest birds are coming to gardens more now we’re getting to winter. Over half a million pairs breed here but the numbers go up to 3-5 million with an influx of migrants fleeing even bleaker weather in Scandinavia- one has been found that was ringed as far away as Russia. They make landfall on the east coast, feed up and rest, and then spread out over the country. . In the past, people simply didn’t believe such a tiny bird (about 5-6 grams, the weight of a ten pence piece) could travel independently across the North Sea so it was called the ‘Woodcock Pilot’, as it was thought to hitch a ride in the feathers of

Close-up of the Goldcrest I found dead yesterday

Close-up of the Goldcrest I found dead yesterday

I think the Goldcrest died from disease

I think the Goldcrest died from disease

This shows its crest and it has aa bright orange-red inside it's beak, faded a little here.

This shows its crest and it is a bright orange-red inside it’s beak, faded a little here.

Long claws help it hang and manoeuvre  on branches and twigs as it uses its thin beak to get at tiny, hidden insects in conifers

Long claws help it hang and manoeuvre on branches and twigs as it uses its thin beak to get at tiny, hidden insects in conifers

migrating Woodcock! It felt even lighter than I imagined- the weight of eggs laid by a female in one brood outweighs the normal weight of its body. I also hadn’t realise how bright orange the inside of its beak is (it has faded a little since it died but you can still see it in the photo). Its thin beak is ideal for picking small insects out of pine-needles and crevices. Their sweet song is so high-pitched many older people can’t register the sound. They do have high mortality rates, like most small birds, and this one looked as though it has a disease, but keep looking- they are about. Sian has just seen one in her garden. Conditions: A cooler, cloudy day, with a little breeze and rain moving in in the afternoon. Temperature: Max 8- Min 7C.

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1 thought on “21st November 2014

  1. The weight of a ten pence piece, gosh, I am amazed. Nature’s creations are fascinating, I wouldn’t have known about the orange inside of the beak either or how sharp the beak and claws are. Poor little thing. Very interesting to read about it though, thank you.

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