At this time of the year with darkness dominating the day, most birds spend much of their time roosting. Larger birds such as rooks, jackdaws and pigeons will often form huge roosts both for protection and warmth. Many birds have the ability to sleep with one eye open, i.e. shutting down half the brain while the other half remains active as they are vulnerable to predation especially from owls. Smaller birds seek sanctuary and warmth in thick bushes and hedges. Sparrows in particular like privet hedges where they congregate just before dusk squabbling and chattering. In extremely cold weather, wrens will collect together in one nest or nesting box and the record to date is 60 in one box! If you have a bird box it is likely that it is occupied, probably by a blue tit.
Richard and Jane Meeres have a blue tit (which they’ve named Elgie ’) roosting every night in their porch lamp, enjoying the heat from the lightbulb!
Don’t forget to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch on 25 27 January this year. Go to www.rspb.org.uk for details.