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Birds in the garden - Page 11 - Carers UK Forum

Birds in the garden

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
553 posts
I get lots of dunnocks too: wee brown birds that hang around in hedges and trees and are very inconspicuous. Probably have rather less fans than most garden birds, very drab, but most people dont even notice them.
What on earth is a dunnock? Can you show a photo of one? Are they like the Scottish equivalent of tree sparrows? Or maybe normal ones?
Hi This is a dunnock. Its about the size of a sparrow and looks very much like a sparrow, but it isnt in the same family of sparrows at all. It has a grey head and underparts, but the main way of telling the difference is its beak - it has a long thin one like a robin (it eats insects like a robin) rather than a short chunky beak like sparrows (they eat seeds) and it has no bib. Also, sparrows live in flocks and are cheerful noisy birds whereas dunnocks go around singly or in pairs and dont make a lot of fuss. Their song is a bit like a robin, but I loved a description I heard of the song (thank you Simon Barnes) as being like a bathroom singer - they want to sing like a robin and they sing it with great gusto, but its all a bit, well - flat and they only know one song! Image
We have dunnocks nesting in our garden and I can hear them singing at the moment.

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We had dunnocks the winter I moved back 09/10, then i hadn't seen them again til this year - I think we have a pair either in our yard or next door.
I wanted to identify another stunner of a bird I've been seeing a lot of late. It's skinny, with long legs, long tail and is black, white and grey. Imagine an anorexic reverse panda crossed with a zebra and then turned into a bird, and shrunk an awful lot.
I bought this ace book, The Oxford Book of Birds, with full colour illustrations, from a charity shop for a squid. The anorexic panda zebra birds turned out to be pied wagtails. I now have images of these birds playing flutes, wagging their tails whist being followed by a stream of worms enchanted by the bird's flute music. In real life, I saw no such thing, and I didn't even see them do any tail wagging, but it's still a smashing name.
I took 2 photos of the tree sparrows. They're totally rubbish, as usual.

For some reason, the forum isn't letting me up load photos. Probably just as well.


Anyway, smart phones are good for impromptu photos, but titchy, tetchy, twittery wild life is a different matter.
Therefore, I need to invest in a dedicated digital camera with a good telephoto lens. I have a budget of £70 max; any ideas on a make to buy?

Oh, and the little Green G's (as I've called them; G stands for Goddesses and Gods) who frequent my fat balls (!) more than any other bird have turned out to be finches; greenfinches to be precise.
However, my book has no illustration for the pair of doves that have developed a soft spot for my dad's workshop roof. They're a pale, soft dove grey all over, and have a black collar that goes all around their throat. They are very slender and elegant looking.
But my book was published in 1965; maybe this type didn't exist then?
Hi sajehar
I love pied wagtails and the way that they run along the ground. Im surprised that you didnt see the tail wagging - perhaps you were looking for it to wag from side to side like a dog, but actually the tail wags up and down. They run along the ground and when they stop their tail jerks up and down.
The doves are called collared doves and were very rare at the time your book was published, but now they have become much more common. You always see them in pairs, I think they mate for life (I think!).
You're right; I was looking for them wagging from side to side. It never occurred to me that it might be up and down (that's not wagging, that's something else.... rocking, like a see saw.)
Maybe they should've been called pied rockers Image Image Image With sunglasses, instead of flutes? Or maybe pie-eyed rockers Image Image Image with little joints hanging from their beaks?
My book does mention collared doves. I quote,"... and a narrow black and white half collar."
But the doves that come to our garden have a totally black collar that goes all around their throats. And they always, but ALWAYS, turn up together, so you are probably right about them mating for life. Don't swans do that too, and wolves?
Maybe they're a genetic mutation from these other collared doves described in my near 50 year old book?
This is a picture of collared doves. The ones in my garden dont have the black collars going round their throats - as in the picture. I cant think of anything else they would be though. Perhaps it is a mutation. Image

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Not a mutation: some of these different kinds of doves cross-breed, so I guess you might be seeing either a juvenile, or a hybrid.
Wood pigeons, stock doves and feral pigeons can inter-breed, but collared doves are much smaller and I dont think that they do. I think it must be just a variation.
553 posts