Big Garden Birdwatch in January

Big Garden Birdwatch in January

Garden Birds at Flyte so Fancy - Images, Identification, Facts and Figures.

Garden Birds at Flyte so Fancy

Garden Birds at Flyte so Fancy

During the last weekend in January each year, the RSPB hold their Big Garden Birdwatch. You can sign up to take part and spend a lovely weekend counting the different birds in your garden.

The RSPB say "Across the UK, over half a million people took part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2023, counting a whopping 9.1 million birds! House Sparrows took the top spot, but counts of these chirpy birds are down by 57% compared to the first Birdwatch in 1979. In fact, we’ve lost 38 million birds from UK skies in the last 60 years. With birds facing so many challenges, it’s more important than ever to get involved in the Birdwatch. Every bird you do – or don’t – count will give us a valuable insight into how garden birds are faring."

Types of Garden Birds

At Flyte so Fancy we love that we have a huge number of sparrows, lots of different kinds of tits, many finches, countless collared doves and goldfinches on our feeders here every day. And we also have resident woodpeckers, nuthatches, pheasants, partridges and large numbers of voracious starlings.

Our highlight each spring, however, is the return of our Swallows and House Martins. We are still trying to get good photos of our Dunnocks, Siskins, Wrens and Thrushes. One spring day, for several minutes, we counted 41 Goldfinches (it was difficult, it's true) feeding from our feeders or on the ground.

Please visit our Garden Birds section for the Flyte so Fancy range of Bird Tables; Bird Feeders and Bird Feeding Stations; Bird Food; Bird Nest Boxes and Owl Nesting Boxes.

Below is a selection of photographs we have taken over the years of our little feathered friends in the Flyte so Fancy Garden, as well as some little tidbits of information about each bird. Scroll down, and keep scrolling, it is long ...



* Identify: Small, highly coloured, bright red face with black eye mask scowl, pale brown back, yellow wing patch, black tail. Males and females very similar, females have less red on the face.
* Nature: Highly social, living in large groups. Can be aggressive on feeders. Loud twittering call.
* Feed on: Fine Thistle seed (nyger); aphids; other seeding plants
* UK estimate: 1.2m breeding pairs
* Collective name: A Charm
* Size: 12cm long, 21-25cm wingspan
* Habitat: Gardens, parks, bushes, rough ground with thistles, orchards
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe, very numerous in the south of England
* Breeding: Nests in broad-leaved trees, raises up to 2 broods a year
* History: Popular as cage birds in Victorian England, led to a decline but saved by the RSPB
* Migration: Many, but not all (when well fed) migrate to Spain for winter
* Conservation status: Green

Blue Tits

Blue Tits

* Identify: Small, easily identifiable, blue and yellow garden bird. Blue cap and wings with yellow chest and green back, thin black stripe around the head. Male is brighter than female
* Nature: Likes living in large groups, a feeder with 5 blue tits at once is probably feeding 20 others
* Feeds on: Insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts
* UK estimate: 15 million birds
* Size: 12cm long, 18cm wingspan
* Habitat: Broad-leaved woodlands, parks, hedgerows, gardens
* Regions: Found throughout the UK except for Scottish Islands
* Nesting: Usually holes in trees, but have been found in letterboxes, will readily use purpose-made nest boxes
* Breeding: Known to lay up to 12 eggs per clutch but up to 30% do not survive the first month
* Migration: Rarely leave their home area and stay within 20km of breeding place
* Interesting Note: Blue Tit is the only one of the British Tit family with blue in its plumage
* Conservation status: Green

Great Tits

Great Tit

*Identify: Largest of Tit family, green and yellow with black head and white cheeks, black stripe down the front
* Nature: As all Tit family, like living in sociable groups but can be aggressive to smaller birds
* Feed on: insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts
* UK estimate: 2.5 million pairs
* Size: 14cm long, 24cm wingspan
* Habitat: Broad-leaved woodlands, parks, hedgerows, gardens
* Regions: Found throughout the UK except for Scottish Islands
* Nesting: Usually holes in trees, will readily use purpose-made nest boxes
* Breeding: Lay one clutch up to 11 eggs
* Migration: Rarely leaves their home area and stays within 20km of breeding place
* Loves: Mature gardens with plentiful seed feeders
* Conservation status: Green

Long Tailed Tits

Long-Tailed Tits

* Identify: Small, pretty, slightly round birds with long tails. Distinctive pink, white and black plumage.
* Nature: Gregarious and noisy, likes to live in flocks
* Feed on: Insects and spiders in trees, and occasionally, seeds in winter
* UK estimate: 340,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 14cm long, 16-18cm wingspan
* Habitat: Woodlands, hedgerows, gardens, scrubland
* Regions: Found throughout the UK except far north of Scotland
* Nesting: Makes domed nests shaped like bottles, lined with feathers, covered in moss and lichen
* Breeding: Lay up to 12 eggs per clutch and babies are ready to leave after 14 days
* Migration: Stays within 20km of breeding place
* Conservation status: Green



* Identify: Patterned plumage, colourful with a blue-grey crown, brown back and pink breast. Females are plain brown like a female sparrow.
* Nature: Not as sociable as Tits but they are the most widespread and abundant garden bird in Britain. Very identifiable loud song
* Feeds on: Ground feeder or bird table on seeds and insects
* UK estimate: 6m breeding pairs
* Size: 14cm long, 24-28cm wingspan
* Habitat: Gardens, parks, farmland, almost anywhere
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe
* Breeding: Nests in trees and bushes, raises up to 2 broods a year
* History: Trapped in huge numbers as cage birds in Victorian England, used for 'singing competitions', outlawed in 1898
* Migration: Non-migratory, UK has visitors from Scandinavia for winter
* Conservation status: Green



* Identify: Unmistakable bright reddish-pink breast and cheeks (male) with blue-grey back, black head and tail. Females are plainer with brown back, black head and wings and pale orange breast.
* Nature: Usually seen as pairs, they are shy birds, rarely seen in the open. A low, mournful call of peeu alternating with whistles only audible at close range.
* Feeds on: Seeds and buds of fruit trees, occasionally small insects
* UK estimate: 190,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 14-16cm long, 22-26cm wingspan
* Habitat: Woodland, farmland and mature gardens
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe
* Breeding: Nests in trees and bushes over 4m tall. Raises up to 2-3 broods a year
* History: Considered a pest by fruit growers as they take fresh buds of fruit trees in the Spring, controlled under licence.
* Migration: Non-migratory, although northern birds do fly further south for winter
* Conservation status: Amber



* Identify: Flashes of yellow and green as it flies, this colourful bird's plumage ranges from yellow to green and grey
* Nature: A social bird but can be aggressive at the bird table/feeder, loves trees and bushes, likes ground-feeding too
* Feed on: Sunflower seeds are a favourite, peanuts, seeds
* UK estimate: 1.7m breeding pairs
* Size: 15cm long, 26cm wingspan
* Habitat: Woods, gardens, parks, farmland, orchards
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe in wooded and farmland areas
* Breeding: Nests in trees and bushes, raise up to 2 broods a year, 4-6 eggs
* Note: Declining numbers since 2006 due to disease, preventing eating (trichomonosis), thought to be due to dirty feeders and drinkers
* Migration: Rarely move more than 20km from the breeding site
* Conservation status: Green


Nuthatch on fatball feeder

* Identify: Plump little brightly coloured bird with blue-grey upper parts and white under parts. Chestnut brown colouring on its side and tail. It has a distinctive black stripe over its eyes and along the length of its head. Long pointed beak.
* Nature: Vocal using loud simple dwip song. About the size of a great tit and very agile, likes to hang upside down. Related to Treecreepers.
* Feeds on: Insects, nuts, such as hazelnuts and acorns, and seeds
* UK estimate: 220,000 territories
* Size: 14cm long, 22-27cm wingspan, weight 25g
* Habitat: Usually found in woodland on tree trunks but can be found in gardens with mature trees (hence our photo here of one on our feeder). Territorial as breeding pairs but seldom leaving the woods where they hatch.
* Region: Most of England and Wales. Only one species in the UK (Eurasian Nuthatch – sitta europaea)
* Breeding: Monogamous and territorial. Deep nests in tree cavities or holes, which they reduce in size to prevent predators. A clutch is 6 - 9 eggs which the female incubates for up to 18 days.
* Migration: Non-migratory with a reluctance to cross even short stretches of water.
* Conservation status: Green

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

* Identify: Striking, easily identifiable bird about the size of a starling. Black and white head, back and wings with distinctive red under-tail, the male has a red patch on the back of the head. Bouncing flight.
* Nature: Shy and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks but, although skittish, we frequently see him on our nut feeders with other birds. Very territorial.
* Feeds on: Insects, grubs, seeds and nuts
* UK estimate: 140,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 23cm long, 34-39cm wingspan
* Habitat: Broad-leaved trees and conifers, will also use nest boxes
* Regions: Common and resident in England & Wales. 3 species in the UK, Green, Great and Lesser (Lesser Spotted is rarest & half the size). Young 'Greats' have a red topknot until mature
* Nests: In holes in trees, 4-6 eggs in a clutch
* Migration: Resident all year but can travel over 100km to find mates and breeding sites
* Conservation status: Green


Robin on feeding table

* Identify: The most recognisable of garden birds with grey/brown body and bright red chest. Both sexes are the same plumage. Britain's National Bird
* Nature: Very friendly bird with a beautiful song. Member of the thrush family. Both males and females are very territorial
* Feed on: Worms, seeds, fruits, insects and grubs. Mealworms are a favourite.
* UK estimate: 6.7m territories
* Size: 14cm long, 20-22cm wingspan
* Habitat: Everywhere throughout the UK, parks, gardens, hedgerows, woodland
* Breeding: Can raise up to 5 broods a year. Providing Open-fronted Robin Nest Boxes can encourage breeding.
* Nesting: Cup nests made of dead leaves and moss. Nests in any nooks and crannies, famous for nesting almost anywhere. Likes only nestboxes with open fronts though
* Migration: Resident all year round, non-migratory
* Conservation status: Green


Swallows over the Flyte so Fancy pond

* Identify: Small with a long forked tail and red throat, glossy blue-black upper parts and white underbelly
* Nature: Soothing twittering song, beautiful swooping flight (a Flyte so Fancy favourite!) usually seen in flight
* Feeds on: Small invertebrates, eats and drinks on the wing
* UK estimate: 860,000 territories
* Size: 17-19cm long, 32-35cm wingspan
* Habitat: Barns, farms, quiet outbuildings near open farmland with water nearby. Loves cowsheds (lots of flies to eat)
* Region: Summer visitor, widely found throughout Europe & UK from March-Sept
* Breeding: Builds nests from damp mud and grasses under sheltered eaves. Can hatch up to 3 broods in a good summer. You can help by providing artificial Swallow Nest Bowls
* History: Popular in many cultures for centuries - songs, poems and much folklore surrounds the swallow. Believed to be a herald of good luck and bringer of spring and summer
* Migration: Very migratory travelling thousands of miles from the UK to winter in southern Africa, returning from late March to breed here
* Conservation status: Green

Common Blackbird

Common Blackbird

* Identify: (Male) Black glossy feathers, brown legs, bright orange beak and yellow eye ring. (Female) Brown feathers with mottled streaks and spots on breast and a dull yellow/orange beak.
* Nature: Both male and female are territorial during breeding season. They like to stay where there is a food source. Have a short dipping flight. One of the most common UK birds. Very identifiable melodious song.
* Feeds on: Insects, worms and berries. Will feed from a ground feeder or bird table.
* UK estimate:5m breeding pairs
* Size: 24cm long, 34-38cm wingspan
* Habitat: They prefer deciduous woodland with dense undergrowth but frequently seen in gardens with a food source. Population is increasing in gardens yet declining around farmland.
* Region: Widely found throughout UK & Europe except on highest peaks
* Breeding: Breeding pairs are monogamous. Open cup-shaped nests in evergreen or thorny trees, open-fronted nest boxes or an outbuilding with a ledge. Raises up to 2 broods a year, laying 4 eggs which the female incubates for 14 days.
* Migration: Sometimes moves to warmer climes. UK has visitors from Norway or birds from Scotland may migrate to southern England for winter
* Conservation status: Green

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

* Identify: Small, long-tailed black and white bird, usually seen walking over the ground, has a plain chirping song
* Nature: When on the ground its tail wags up and down, has an undulating flight. Communal birds with large roosts but territorial when hungry. Almost exclusively a British bird
* Feeds on: Insects, but if hungry will eat seeds from bird tables
* UK estimate: 470,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 18cm long, 25-30cm wingspan
* Habitat: Throughout the UK, in most habitats near water. Also often gather in town centres for warmth
* Breeding: Will nest almost anywhere, makes a bowl nest of mud, grass, straw and feathers. Raises 2-3 broods a year
* Migration: Resident in the UK but may migrate south in cold weather
* Conservation status: Green

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

* Identify: Grey head and brown neck with white cheeks; white, brown, grey plumage. Quick, short, straight flight
* Nature: Highly social, noisy, chattering and cheerful; likes to live in colonies
* Feeds on: Almost anything, from seeds to scraps in the compost heap - mainly vegetarian
* UK estimate: 5.3m pairs (once most common British bird, recent declines have reduced the population by up to 70%)
* Size: 14cm long, 21-25cm wingspan
* Habitat: Found anywhere from the countryside to cities; happy to feed and breed near people but recent declines were seen in urban areas
* Region: Seen throughout the UK, except highlands
* Breeding: Nests in bird boxes, trees, shrubs, hedges raising 2-3 broods a year. Incubation is 11 days, with young leaving nest after 14 days
* Migration:Fairly sedentary, non-migratory
* Conservation status: Currently Red

The Squirrel Bird

Squirrel on our Nut Feeder

* We love all creatures here at Flyte so Fancy and this one is a frequent visitor to our old peanut feeder (of note, this old wooden nut feeder has been visited by the Squirrel-Bird and his family for over 10 years now).
* Long of tail and short of wing, the squirrel bird lives in trees and will inhabit almost any crevice large enough to hide him, sneaking out only when he thinks no one is looking to nab all the nuts!
* Cuddly-looking and cute they may be, but in many urban gardens, they are a nut-feeder-destroyer. Some consider them just rats with tails, others just love them and provide special nut feeders just for the Squirrel-Bird.
* Conservation status: No worries as long as we feed him nuts!


Moorhen in the garden

* Identify: Large black bird with red and yellow beak, long green legs, white stripes on the flanks. Not a great flyer. Has a loud 'currack' call
* Nature: Often found on ponds, out in the open, a confident and aggressive bird, it will readily take other birds eggs and attack baby chicks (often taken our duck eggs and ducklings). Good at walking on its strong legs
* Feeds on: Water plants, insects, snails, worms, seeds, grasses, other birds eggs and small fish
* UK estimate: 270,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 32-35cm long, 50-55cm wingspan
* Habitat: Any lake, pond, stream or river especially heavily planted
* Region: Widespread throughout lowland areas of the UK, especially England and Wales
* Breeding: Female makes the nest amongst reeds, both parents incubate, laying up to 22 eggs, hatchlings ready to swim after 2 days
* Migration: UK residents, they don't migrate but are joined by migrants from N Europe in the winter
* Conservation status: Green

Red-Legged Partridge

Red-Legged Partridge

* Identify: Large bird about the size of a pigeon; grey and brown body with white barring on wings; white throat; red beak, eyes and red legs
* Nature: Game bird seen predominantly on the ground; not native, brought into England from France in 1600 for sport; has a rhythmic chuck-chuffa call
* Feeds on: Mainly leaves, roots, seeds of grasses, cereals, weeds
* UK estimate: 82,000 territories
* Size: 33cm long, 47-50cm wingspan
* Habitat: Likes farmland and open fields with some ground cover
* Region: Introduced species, most numerous in the south and east of England
* Breeding: Ground nesting; female builds 2 bowl nests on the ground under hedgerows or scrub; lays in both then both parents incubate 10-16 eggs
* Migration: Non-migratory, rarely move far from hatching place
* Conservation status: Introduced species


Mr & Mrs Pheasant

* Identify: Very easily identifiable game bird. Large, long-tailed, males have richly coloured plumage varying from copper to chestnut to gold to purple (melanistic); dark green head and red wattles; females are plain, paler brown
* Nature: Walks on the ground mainly; quick to flight when spooked; male protects his hareem in sometimes vicious fights; has a loud, harsh 'korr-kok' cry
* Feeds on: Ground feeds on seeds, berries, insects, worms, grass
* UK estimate: 2.3m females
* Size: 53-89cm long, 70-90cm wingspan
* Habitat: Open farmland and hedgerows; the edge of woodland
* Regions: Throughout the UK except for highlands of Scotland
* Breeding: Ground nesting under hedgerows; male protects several females; one clutch of 7-10 eggs
* History: Not UK native; native of Asia & Balkans; brought into the UK by the Normans in the 11th century for sport and feathers; 30m birds bred for shooting season annually, protected under Game Act outside the Sep-Feb season
* Conservation status: Introduced species

Collared Doves

Collared Doves

* Identify: Smaller than pigeons; delicate-looking, cream-grey-buff plumage with black collar, pink legs. Distinctive coo-coo call.
* Nature: Pretty, gentle, non-aggressive bird common in most gardens. Can become quite tame. Monogamous, usually seen in pairs.
* Feeds: Ground feeding on seeds, grains, buds and shoots
* UK estimate: 1m pairs
* Size: 32cm long, 51cm wingspan
* Habitat: Just about anywhere where food is plentiful, especially gardens, parks
* Region: Widely found throughout the UK but not native; arrived from the Middle East/Asia around 1950
* Breeding: Untidy nest builders, a platform of sticks in a tree or on ledges. Breeds all year round in mild weather, usually 2 eggs per clutch, 3-4 broods a year
* Migration: Non-migratory but has managed to spread throughout Europe
* Conservation status: Green


Common Kestrel (in Dorset)

* Identify: About the size of a magpie, light-brown plumage with dark spots. Males have a grey-blue head, while females are all brown. Pointed wings and tail. Incredible eyesight.
* Nature: The most common of UK’s birds of prey, until the Buzzard took top spot; hunts for voles around woodland edges and farmland. Territorial up to 1km from nest.
* Feeds on: Mainly voles
* UK estimate: 46,000 pairs
* Size: 32-35cm long, 71-80cm wingspan
* Habitat: Seen hovering along roadsides near fields and farmland or perched on posts looking out for prey. Adapted and can survive in towns if food is available
* Regions: Found everywhere in the UK except some Scottish Highlands & Islands
* Breeding: Do not build their own nests, use old crow’s nests or stick nests but will use purpose-made boxes. Female lays 3-6 eggs in Apr-May, the male provides food for 2 months after hatching but only 30% survive due to lack of food
* Conservation status: Amber


Common Starling

* Identify: Larger bird, short tail, long pointed beak, glossy speckled iridescent purple and green plumage (appears black at times). Juveniles are brown
* Nature: Gregarious, noisy, conspicuous, aggressive bird; likes to live in large flocks, not the most popular of birds
* Feeds on: Leatherjackets, seeds, berries, nuts
* UK estimate: 1.8m birds (recent declines of up to 80% seem to be halted)
* Collective name: A Murmuration (in large flocks over thousands of birds)
* Size: 21cm long, 37-42cm wingspan
* Habitat:Seen everywhere from farmland and villages to towns and city centres
* Region: Throughout UK, one of the commonest garden birds
* Breeding: Nests in cavities of houses or trees but fewer opportunities for this mean they will use Starling nest boxes raising only one brood of 4-6 a year.
* Migration: UK resident but may migrate to Scandinavia; British flocks swelled in winter by European visitors
* Conservation status: Currently Red (common in the UK but declining elsewhere)