When to Watch Wildlife

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PMcS 2005

 

Bird nesting times


Go to the main birds page for more information about birds, nests etc..

Birds lay their eggs and raise their young to coincide with the time when their particular food source is most abundant.  Thrushes, for instance, are able to eat all sorts of insects, slugs and seeds found on the ground and hence are not too limited by peaks and troughs of food.  They just need to ensure that there is enough to feed them and their young, and that the trees and bushes in which they nest can provide enough cover.

Insect eaters need to wait a little longer until their prey hatches or emerges.  For instance, winter moth caterpillars abound in May and some species wait for this event.  Seed eaters need to wait for plants to flower and set seed and hence are later still.  Some birds of prey feed on young birds their populations are highest from mid summer onwards.

The table below shows how these varying strategies influence the nesting period of birds.

Key

E Eggs in the nest
N Nestlings in the nest
F Fledglings being looked after by their parents

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Ground feeders such as thrushes E          
N            
F              
Insect feeders such as swallows E            
N          
F              
Seed eaters such as goldfinches E        
 
N          
F            
Birds of prey such as kestrels E                  
N              
F          
Sea birds E        
N        
 
F            

 


 

All images and text are copyright PMcS 2006