Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma
This time of year is spectacular. As the weather gets warmer, we see flowers blossom and hear the birds proudly singing – it feels that the earth around us is waking up in joyous ceremony.
But it’s not only the nature around us that we can celebrate at this special time of the year – indeed, we can also look forward to welcoming tens of migrating birds to add further colour to our spring and summer months. Here are five birds to look and listen out for in the next few months!
The pied wagtail is a visitor like no other. A bit smaller than a house sparrow, it will catch multiple flies in its mouth in flight, as it darts through our ancient woodlands. It only ventures to mature woodlands, which makes us in Wales very fortunate hosts. If you go down to the woods today – at our RSPB Ynys-hir or RSPB Lake Vyrnwy, for example – you’re in for a wonderful surprise!
Another species which makes Wales its vacation destination is the Manx shearwater. This seabird will come all the way over the Atlantic Ocean from Argentina to land on our shores. Wales is responsible for welcoming half of the world’s Manx shearwaters at this time of year – a massive amount! While they look to land on our coastline and nest in burrows, some can get disorientated and land way inland away from where they intend. If you come across one of these, please get in touch – we’ll have someone available to come and collect it. Gannet
The Manx shearwater isn’t the only bird to favour Wales as a destination for the warmer months. Over at RSPB Grassholm Island, the gannets return to their stronghold. Spending the winter feeding off the western coast of Africa, they will come back to breed on the small, rocky island west of RSPB Ramsey Island. While relatively small, this piece of rock will welcome 36,000 pairs of gannets to nest here every year. Watching these elegant birds fishing, with their large bodies, long necks and beaks, and distinctive yellow heads, is a remarkable sight as well – diving from heights of 30m, they can hit the water at speeds of up to 60mph. They have an extensive network of air-sacs between their muscles and skin to help cushion this impact.
The swift’s journey to Wales is a fascinating one. It will spend most of its + 5,000 mile journey from Africa on the wing, eating, and even sleeping while in flight! Sadly, swifts are in trouble. Last year, this bird was added to the UK red list of Birds of Conservation Concern. The red list includes birds that are of the highest conservation priority and that needs urgent action - and as swift numbers have plummeted, with current losses around 5% per annum, its addition sadly seems inevitable. If this decline continues, we could lose the swift as a breeding species within the next 30 years. That is why we erected a swift tower in Cardiff Bay three years ago, to provide much-needed shelter for these beautiful birds.
The cuckoo is another well-known bird which makes an epic trip to Wales from the African continent, blessing us with one of the most famous and unmistakeable songs. Notorious for removing other birds’ eggs and replacing them with its’ own, it is one of nature’s most remarkable and frankly bizarre sights to see a reed warbler feed a distinctly different-looking cuckoo chick!
Visit us! There’s no doubt that this season is the ideal time to explore and to learn about the wonders that we’re lucky enough to host – and the above are only a handful of the wealth that we’re lucky enough to experience. Go visit your closest RSPB reserve and let us know what you see and hear over the coming months by getting in touch over social media.
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