Today marks the beginning of this year’s RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch.
Over the next three days (until Sunday 31 January 2021), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds are encouraging people across England, Wales, and Scotland to spend just one hour counting the birds they spot in their garden, from their balcony, or in their local park. So grab yourself a cuppa, as well as maybe a notepad, pen, and some binoculars (if you have them) and make yourself comfy!
Here are just a few of the birds you might see this weekend:
Many people refer to these majestic creatures as peacocks but did you know that is actually the name for the male of the species? These birds are called peafowl with the males known as peacocks and the females being peahens. Here are ten more fascinating facts about these incredible birds…
1) Peacocks fan out their lengthy feathered trains, which can measure up to 2.2 metres long, to attract the females. Their “eye-spots” are called ocelli.
This week four endangered northern bald ibis, who were bred at ZSL London Zoo, were safely transported to Spain. This is where they will soon be released as part of a special conservation project, which is helping reintroduce these unique looking birds to Europe.
The quartet – who were lovingly nicknamed Iris, Indigo, Igor and Ivan by the zoo’s keepers – hatched last year. On 20 February, they travelled to Southern Spain’s Jerez Zoo where they will learn how to be wild before being released in Andalucia.
The species vanished from Europe almost 300 years ago. It’s now believed that there are just 600 northern bald ibis left in the world, reduced to one small part of Morocco (and two breeding pairs in Syria) where they are threatened by habitat loss, hunters and pesticides.
“We’re really hopeful that they’ll go on to breed in the wild – ultimately securing the future of the species” said Paul Atkin, ZSL London Zoo’s bird keeper.
To find out more about the northern bald ibis, head to birdlife.org