14 Apr What the flock?
What the flock?
Use this fun quiz to test yourself on the unusual names for groups of birds. You will need to keep your own score. You have a choice of 4 possibilities.
What is the name for a group of ……….
Probably got this name from the sound that up to 10,000 flapping birds make
Up close a starling has a glossy sheen of green and purple. Although still common in the Uk, numbers elsewhere are declining. When the migrating birds fly across Malta they are shot in their thousands. New laws on Malta now outlaw this but is still happens.
These black noisy birds were once thought to be harbingers of death, scavenging for food around dead bodies. They are in fact very intelligent birds and have been observed using twigs to poke into holes to find grubs. In Aesop’s Fable, “The Crow and The Pitcher” describes how a thirsty crow drops pebbles in a pitcher containing floating food on water that was too low for it to reach.
A turkey sized grouse and Scotland’s largest ground nesting bird. An endangered species with only about 1000 left in the wild. Habitat loss and fatal collisions with deer fences have contributed to their decline.
The word capercaillie came from the Scottish Gaelic word, ‘capall coille’. This Scottish Gaelic word means ‘horse of the wood’ in English.
Sea eagles have been reintroduced on the Isle of Wight and this year in Norfolk. Sadly two of the young ones have been found poisoned in Feb 2022. They are the UK’s largest bird of prey, with a wingspan of up to 2.5m and feed mainly on fish and water birds. Baby eagles are called eaglets. Bald eagles, found in the USA, can be called a toupee.
- gaggle (on the ground)
- skein (in flight)
After spending the summer in Greenland and Iceland, many geese fly to over winter in the UK. Many goose are resident in the UK all year round and their numbers are boosted in the winter when the migrants arrive. Brent, Greylag and Pink footed geese arrive in their thousands in Autumn.
Did people in the olden days think that politicians were wise?
Owls rotate their heads by 270 degrees.
Food is often swallowed whole – bits of fur and bone are then regurgitated as an owl pellet.
Barn Owls have lop-sided ears! One is higher than the other, which helps them to pinpoint exactly where tiny sounds are coming from.
- Raft (in the water)
Penguins don’t fart. They don’t eat high-fibre diets like humans do, and thus have totally different bacteria in their guts – ones that do not produce gas. There are no penguins at the North pole. To move fast through the water, penguins use a technique called porpoising. To move quickly over the ice, they switch to tobogganning
Ravens are very intelligent birds.
Six ravens live in the Tower of London. legend says that the king ordered their destruction only to be told that if the ravens left the Tower, the White Tower would fall and a great disaster befall the Kingdom. Sensibly the King changed his mind and decreed that at least six ravens should be kept at the Tower at all times to prevent disaster.
The swallow is a common summer visitor, arriving in April from Africa and departing in October. It completes a perilous journey that can take up to six weeks, all the way down to South Africa. They make nests of mud and will return to the same nest year after year. Swallows usually mate for life. A desirable male has a long symmetrical tail.
Click image to take you to the wildlife trust page- image Corrine Welch
There are over 200 species of woodpecker world wide. You can expect to see the Great spotted, green and lesser spotted woodpecker in the UK.
In early spring woodpeckers bang their bills against the trunk of a tree over and over again. This is known as ‘drumming’. Woodpeckers drum for the same reasons that other birds sing – to mark their territory and to attract a mate.
The Great spotted woodpecker is the best drummer. They beat their beaks against hollow branches or tree-trunks at a stunning 40 hits per second
How did you do?
- 8-10 ……. a quackin’ success, you wise old owl
- 5-7 ……… still tweeting’ good
- less than 5 …….. a bit of a bird brain eh! Better luck next time