Autumn Migration of Wild Birds October 30 2015

Autumn is such a time of coming and going for our wild bird population.  Some birds are arriving from the Artic and Iceland, others such as Gannet, Terns and Manx Shearwater leave their breeding grounds and fly off for the winter season and then there are various breeds of geese and swans who return here for the winter.  Meanwhile, the Swallows and House Martins set off once again for the journey to Africa, to spend their winter in warmer climes.

Swallows start their autumn migration in late August, with short distances every few days.  For example, swallows that have spent spring and summer in Ireland begin their migration by flying to Wales and then into southern England.  The vast majority of breeding swallows leave our shores by late September. 

The wood pigeon is seen in apparent migration in autumn but it is thought that it does not actually leave the UK but merely moves south.  Some starlings are residents here in the UK but many others arrive here in autumn to spend the winter here, as it is milder here than in Europe.  Most Blackbirds are also residents here but some blackbirds have migrated from Scandinavia to spend the winter here, again due to the fact that it is milder and therefore there is a better chance of food. 

Robins are also another breed of bird which is resident and also migratory.  The European Robin spends the winter here as it is milder – this species of Robin is paler than the one we are accustomed to and is less tame.  At the same time, some female British Robins spend their winter in southern Europe.  Robins are one of the few species of bird that sing all the year round and during December will search for a partner.  Once they have paired up, usually by mid-January, they will defend their breeding territory.  The male will continue to sing and proclaim that territory belongs to him and his mate.  About 10% of Robins die in territorial disputes.