Common birds of Islington Parks
We really enjoyed a nice walk around Wray Crescent Park with Sally from Islington Ecology Centre in Gillespie Park.
She shared some great ideas for ways to make our little piece of green space in Islington’s second most green-deprived ward in the most green-deprived borough in the UK nicer.
She was also kind enough to send us a useful leaflet that lists all the most common birds in Islington parks.
Common birds of Islington Parks
You can download the entire leaflet for free as a PDF right here (clicking this link will download it to your system) so you can print it out, but we’ve also reproduced some of the words below, as we think people might be interested to learn about the birds we see every day in our parks.
We dug out some video to help identify them.
Robins are officially the UK’s favourite bird. Robins sing all year round and tend to be one of the first birds to start the dawn chorus. The red breast is about territory, and both males and females have it. They are one of the few birds who hold a territory all year round. The Robin has increased its numbers by 45% since the 1970s. Robins are very nosy birds. They often come and perch alongside gardeners and other people working in the parks. Hoping they will turn up something interesting to eat.
The Sparrow is a very sociable bird. They normally feed in flocks and like to nest together in a group. They constantly chatter to each other. They were one of the most common birds in London and ‚’Cockney sparrow’, was slang for a Londoner who was small and cheeky. There have been many theories about their decline in London. Their population dropped in the 1990s by 60% in 10 years. This drop coincided with an increase of diesel cars, so this is one theory for their decline. There are small pockets of thriving Sparrow communities in Islington and these can be seen around bird feeders and in the hedges.
Magpies are big, noisy chattering birds with a harsh clack-clack-clack sounding call. They are sociable, often seen in pairs or in groups.
There are many myths and superstitions about Magpies. Seeing two together is supposed to bring you joy. In parks you can see them on the ground where they bounce along, or up in the tops of trees. They are scavengers, predators and eat pests. Magpies are in the same bird family as crows (Corvidae).
The Green Woodpecker
The largest of Britain’s woodpeckers the Green Woodpecker has a big rounded body. In flight it looks like a fat pigeon with a short tail. In parks you can see them in grassland or meadow areas. Down on the ground, looking for their favourite food, ants, in the grassland anthills.
Jays are the most colourful bird in the British crow family, but they are not always easy to see. They are quite shy woodland birds.
They are well known for burying acorns in the ground, to retrieve later, to keep them going through the winter months. Look out for one of their beautiful blue and black striped feathers, which can be found on the ground in autumn. Look for them in wooded areas of parks, flying between the trees.
The Wren is one of our smallest birds, but it makes up for it in the loudness of its song. Its song is loud with a ringing bell sound at the end. Hearing it may be the only way you know a Wren is about. Unless you are lucky, or very patient, often all you will see is the movement of something small in the corner of your eye, as a Wren flies away. Wrens have small round bodies and often have an upturned tail. Wrens are found in parks in the bushes and small trees. A male Wren build several nests in spring. He invites the female to see them and she chooses the one she likes the best.
The Long-Tailed Tit
The Long-Tailed Tit is a beautiful bird with a very long tail in proportion to its body. They are sociable, and are normally seen in flocks of 10-20 birds. They are never still, always on the move to somewhere else. They have an undulating flight as they sweep through the trees singing ‚’tsee-tsee-tsee’ In the Park you can see them in the small trees and up in the tops of larger trees, often hanging upside down. If you spot a group of small birds with long tails, you can’t mistake them for anything else.
The Great Tit
Great Tits are Britain’s largest bird in the Tit family. They are easy to tell apart from the others as they have a distinctive yellow waistcoat, with a black line down the centre of their bellies. They have 34 different calls, one of them sounds like they are calling ‘teacher-teacher’. In parks you can normally see them up in the tops of trees popping about from one branch to another, mostly on their own but sometimes with other birds like Blue Tits.
The Blue Tit
The Blue Tit has a fluffy blue cap of feathers on its head with a white face. Like other birds, Blue Tits can see ultraviolet light. Under UV their blue heads glow brightly, helping them to attract mates. They are dainty birds, about half the size of a Robin. They have become a common bird in gardens, often seen on bird feeders. They have increased in number by 70% since the 1970s. They tend to live their lives near to where they were born. They can be seen in wooded areas of parks. In winter they can form flocks with other Tits.
Keep your eyes peeled for these and other species and please share this information (and the leaflet) with others. And if you want to join us in Wray Crescent, please pop your name into the form below to be added to the (intermittent) mailing list!