Britain’s Favourite BirdsJuly 16th, 2015
Many of us enjoy watching the local variety of birds in our garden or whiling away the hours in a woodland hide. Now, the nation has spoken and voted for its first national bird – the robin. The man behind the poll, ornithologist David Lindo, set about the labour of love after being dismayed that Britain was one of the few countries not to have an official bird. First, Lindo conducted an online survey by asking voters to whittle down a shortlist of 10 from an original list of 60 birds. Then, it was time for the birds to fight it out for the top spot. Here, we run down the shortlist in descending order.
1) Robin (34 per cent – 75, 623 votes)
With its bright red breast, the robin is seen throughout the year. Males and females look identical, but young birds lack the iconic red breast. Instead, younger robins are spotted with golden brown flecks. They sing almost all year round and although they may look cute, they are extremely territorial.
2) Barn Owl (12 per cent – 26, 191 votes)
This nocturnal hunter is found across the UK countryside and is easily recognisable for its heart-shaped face.
3) Blackbird (11 per cent – 25, 369 votes)
Their mellow song is commonly heard in gardens all around the country. While the males are black in colour, the females are often brown with spots and streaks on their breasts.
4) Wren (9 per cent – 19, 609 votes)
The most common UK breeding bird, the wren is tiny, brown in colour, and has a remarkably loud voice.
5) Red Kite (6 per cent – 14, 057 votes)
Renowned for its graceful aerobatic displays, the red kite has recovered from a small and declining population to its current numbers of about 3,000.
6) Kingfisher (6 per cent – 13, 922 votes)
A small bright blue and orange bird, the kingfisher is found near slow-moving or still water where it hunts for fish.
7) Mute Swan (6 per cent – 13, 480 votes)
This elegant bird can weigh up to 9kg (20lbs) and is one of the largest flying birds in the world.
8) Blue Tit (6 per cent – 13, 123 votes)
This brightly-coloured little bird can regularly be spotted in gardens around Britain with its characteristic blue cap and yellow breast.
9) Hen Harrier (5 per cent – 12, 390 votes)
This bird of prey has been intensively persecuted, particularly due to its effect on the number of grouse available to shoot.
10) Puffin (5 per cent – 10, 674 votes)
A distinctive bird, the puffin is only seen in Britain in the summer as it spends the winter months at sea.
The USA has the bald eagle, Australia has the emu, Japan has the green pheasant, and now we have our own ‘gardeners’ friend’ and a plucky national symbol to match. At Southern Ecological Solutions, we have worked on large-scale habitat creation projects, teaming up with national house builders and organisations such as the RSPB to deliver exemplar habitat creation schemes.