British birds

  • Screech Radio: why I’m playing swift calls in my back garden

    Screech Radio: why I’m playing swift calls in my back garden

    14th June 2018

    Photo: © Bromhall. Adult swift with two chicks. Swifts usually nest in holes and cavities in building roofs, but new construction methods have made these in short supply   After Tony Tilford saw how edible-nest swiftlet numbers have been boosted in…

  • Feather by Feather

    Feather by Feather

    25th May 2018

    Photo: © Krzeslak   Jarrod Cotter turns his attention to the cuckoo, whose characteristic call that once announced the arrival of spring is now rarely heard in the British countryside   THE cuckoo is a dove-sized bird with ash-grey upperparts,…

  • Europe’s migratory marvel

    Europe’s migratory marvel

    23rd May 2018

    Photo: © goean. Northern or common wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) pair: note the female’s light brown plumage (left) in comparison to the male’s black mask and wings   Often travelling thousands of miles from its winter home to summer breeding…

  • A pocketful of sunshine

    A pocketful of sunshine

    25th April 2018

    Photo: During the breeding season, male yellowhammers have vibrant plumage; bright yellow on the head and belly, as well as red-brown feathers streaked with black   Few native birds are as cheering to the eye or the ear as the…

  • Thrushes Bulletin with Austin Middlemiss

    Thrushes Bulletin with Austin Middlemiss

    10th April 2018

    Photo: Austin Middlemiss. Two in one: the Siberian cock’s left side is more advanced than the right, showing the clear contrast between the first-winter and adult plumages   WELL the inevitable has happened: I’ve bought another flight. However, the reason…

  • A masked killer that needs our help

    A masked killer that needs our help

    16th February 2018

    Photo: Tony Tilford. A male red-backed shrike. Note the cock bird’s grey head, pink chest and black highwayman’s mask Well-known for its seemingly brutal predatory and feeding habits, the red-backed shrike has become virtually extinct in the UK as a breeding…

  • Greenfinch Maestros

    Greenfinch Maestros

    5th February 2018

    Above: Such a proud moment: Mark Jones’s father Walter Jones was an outstanding breeder of British hardbills, mules and hybrids. Here he is pictured at the 1992 National Exhibition where he was a supreme champion with a clear buff goldfinch x…

  • Thrushes Bulletin by Austin Middlemiss

    Thrushes Bulletin by Austin Middlemiss

    5th February 2018

    Above: Winning exhibits at the 2015 Morpeth CBS open show. Austin nearly didn’t make it to last year’s after some softbill cages he’d ordered took longer to arrive than expected WELL I managed to get a show team out at the…

  • My history of hawking

    My history of hawking

    13th December 2017

    Photo: Laura Keens. Graham recently flew his Harris hawk in the fields near to the C&AB office GRAHAM WELLSTEAD has flown many species of birds of prey during his nearly 70 years of keeping them. Here he recounts some of his…

  • Cuckoos: Masters of mimicry and disguise

    Cuckoos: Masters of mimicry and disguise

    29th November 2017

    Photo: © World. Dove-sized and ash grey with grey barred underparts, the European cuckoo can be frequently seen across the UK, although numbers are higher across southern and central England. Note how it perches low on a branch with wings drooped,…