When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Black caps ruffling feathers in East Lancashire gardens
9:00pm Sunday 13th January 2013 in News
FLOCKS of ‘angry birds’ are ruffling feathers in East Lancashire gardens.
Thousands of Blackcaps, migrant warblers from central Europe, who would normally spend the winter in the Mediterranean, are descending on gardens because of the food on offer and the warming winter climate.
They have been fighting off other birds, like blue tits, goldfinches and other similar-sized birds from garden feeding stations, for the tasty treats on offer.
The only native species that seem to have weathered the frosty reception are robins, who are known for their feistiness, and house sparrows, which flock together to out-compete this ‘new kid on the block’.
Experts are now conducting a survey to try and find out how many of the birds are in the UK and to learn more about their behaviour.
Dr Tim Harrison, garden blackcap survey coordinator, said: “Blackcaps are elegant garden visitors but they often bring with them considerable attitude.
“Some are so protective of garden morsels that they defend them even when they are not eating themselves.
“This may seem pretty unfair to other garden birds but perhaps underlines the importance of garden feeders to the survival of Blackcaps.
“Numbers of Blackcaps in gardens are increasing rapidly and reached a record high for the month of December in 2012.
“With so many of these eye-catching birds currently around, now is a great time for us to find out more about their behaviour.”
To take part in the Garden Blackcap Survey, visit www.bto.org/gbw or call 01842 750050.
PANEL The blackcap is a warbler with a distinctive black or red-brown cap (crown and forehead), and a little smaller than a house sparrow.
The male has grey-brown upper parts, pale grey underparts, and a glossy black cap. The female is similar but has browner upperparts, buff underparts and a red-brown cap.
The blackcap's alarm call, ‘tacc’, sounds like two pebbles striking one another.
Blackcaps usually pick insects, such as caterpillars, flies and spiders from among the shrubs and trees during the breeding season. At other times, and particularly in the winter, they feed on fruit, such as berries.
They will sometimes visit bird tables in the winter, and they may feed from suet bars, especially those impregnated with dried flies.
Blackcaps are predominantly summer visitors, however, there are an increasing number over-wintering in Britain.
Comments are closed on this article.