Thursday, 7 February 2013
Dunnocks are singing
At last we have had some sun and the merry sound of birdsong has increased. Robins and great tits are the most common songs at the moment but the other day I heard a familiar voice. I had forgotten who it belonged to. It was a bit like a robin and a bit like a wren but without much shape to the song - no beginning or ending. Just a chattery, chirrupy burble that rattled along and after a short pause was repeated. Then suddenly I saw him sitting on a wall - Denis the Dunnock. Also known as hedge accentor or hedge sparrow, though he is much shyer and more fragile looking than a true sparrow.
from the onejackdawbirding blog
He spends most of his time fossicking around on the ground like a mouse, in and out of the undergrowth, where he hunts for insects and spiders with his thin little bill.
I say 'him' but you can't really tell the males from the females. They can, of course, but their sex life is unusual. They are rather promiscuous and a female may have several boyfriends at the same time. The males are also likely to be two timing. They don't seem to mind and one nestful of nestlings may have three or more adult birds feeding them.
They nest in thick scrub so we will be careful not to destroy any more bramble patches at Filnore Woods after the end of February, when the nesting season starts.
As well as the bubbling song they have a loud 'tseep' call which they repeat, especially when two male birds are competing for territory. Perhaps they do mind sharing after all.
If you get this direct to your email you won't be able to hear the song on the video below but you can if you visit 'Filnore Woods Blog' at http://filnorewoods.blogspot.com.
Video by Alex Sally on YouTube