We welcome Hampshire’s County Bird Recorder, Keith Betton, to tell us about the songs and calls of birds around Froyle – using recordings and photos. Keith lives in Farnham and is an author and broadcaster, and apart from previous talks to our group you may have spotted him on BBC TV’s Springwatch programme.
Doors open Froyle Village Hall 7pm for talk to start at 7.30pm. All welcome, entrance £3 for non members, members free. As a precaution, some windows will be open for ventilation, chairs will be spaced and we encourage you to wear a mask. A list of names attending will be kept.
Do you know the difference between the song of a Robin and Wren? Or do you just enjoy hearing a Springtime dawn chorus. Find out why birds sing and how to identify them just by listening. The RSPB has some examples on their website at https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-songs/what-bird-is-that/ of the common birds you’ll find in and around your garden or local area.
Keith appeared in Springwatch 2021 with Chris Packham episode 4 to visit a Stone Curlew nest in Hampshire, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000wgzw/springwatch-2021-episode-4 and forward the recording to 48min 30sec.
Summary written after an entertaining and informative talk: ‘Bird Song Around Froyle’ In March, Hampshire’s County Bird Recorder Keith Betton gave an enjoyable and informative talk on bird song that can be heard in Froyle. Keith explained that birds sing to establish and maintain a territory, and to attract a female. That is not to say that singing is restricted exclusively to male birds. Female Robins for example sing in Winter when they separate from their partner and establish their own territory for a time.
Keith used recordings from the Collins Bird Guide app (available for Apple and Android devices) to illustrate the songs of birds likely to be seen and heard in Froyle. Some of the more striking songs of the common birds are the rich ‘chocolatey’ song of the Blackbird, the note and phrase repeats delivered by the Song Thrush, and the powerful, loud and fast song of the tiny Wren. If you hear a bird of prey in Froyle, it is most likely to be the mewing sound of the very vocal Buzzard. Other notable sounds include the territorial tree drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. The Green Woodpecker on the other hand mainly uses it’s loud ‘yaffle’ or ‘laughing’ call instead. The quality and variety of bird song is important to the birds themselves. When attracting a mate, the variety of sounds a male has in his repertoire suggests to a female that he is an older, more experienced, individual who would make a good partner to start her next family.
Getting to know songs of birds is helpful to identify the presence of birds that are not easily seen, such as the Bullfinch, and to identify birds that look alike. For example, the Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler look similar (apart from different coloured legs), but they sound very different indeed.
Keith closed by updating us on the Peregrines nesting on Winchester Cathedral. Live streaming on the nest activities is viewed by many people around the world. The link is: https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/explore/peregrines/. Alan D