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Alyth Bird Blog #7

Birds you can spot in Alyth during lockdown – seventh in a regular series

What do you think is the commonest bird in Britain? This time we are looking at three and, for the seventh year running, the commonest is the wren (11 million pairs). In second place is the robin (7.35 million pairs); third is the house sparrow (5.3 million pairs – see Blog#2); and fourth is wood pigeon (5.15 million pairs).


Did you think that the wren is the commonest bird? If you didn’t, that maybe because it is pretty unobtrusive – until it sings that is. It’s that thing about the smallest things making the most noise. The wren is a tiny brown bird with a short, narrow tail which is sometimes cocked up vertically.

FACTOID: The male builds several nests and the one that the female prefers is then lined with feathers and used. Men – take note!

Listen to the wren by clicking the photo above


Surveys reveal this is the UK's favourite bird – it has won the title of our ‘national bird’ in a newspaper poll. Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown. Robins sing nearly all year round and despite their friendly appearance, they are aggressively territorial and are quick to drive away intruders.

FACTOID: Known as the gardener’s friend, their approachable nature is unique to Britain – continental robins are shy and wary of humans. If you want to see a robin, just start digging your garden and one will appear as if by magic.

Listen to the robin by clicking the photo above

Wood Pigeon

Although the fourth commonest, wood pigeon has been voted as the most conspicuous bird in a recent poll. This is maybe because although shy in the countryside it can be tame and approachable in towns and cities and it makes a loud clatter of its wings when it flies away . Our largest pigeon, the woodpigeon is largely grey with a white neck patch and white wing patches, clearly visible in flight.

FACTOID: In Scotland, there used to be a belief that applying cut-up pieces of the bird would cure adder bites, and that sticking pins into its heart would summon a prospective lover – sounds like voodoo to me?

Listen to the wood pigeon by clicking the photo above

We hope that you have enjoyed our seventh Alyth Bird Blog – please feel free to comment, ask any questions, or post your photos. Next time – birds of Alyth Burn.

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