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    A harsh winter spells trouble for birds arriving this spring

    NewsBird NewsMonday 15 April 2013
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    After the weeks of cold experts believe that tens of thousands of migrant species will have died trying to reach the UK.

    Researchers believe that this week will be an incredible week for spring with the arrival of migrant birds and also the re-emergence of insects and flowers as finally the weather warms up again. Sadly however due to the harsh conditions of the winter such as constant winds, limited food and heavy snowfalls the effect on natural wildlife is said to be strong.
     
     Matthew Oates who is a naturalist with the National Trust comments that "The main pulse of southern migrant birds, such as swallows and housemartins, should arrive this weekend,"
    "The winds are at last in the right direction. There are reports of a lot of chiffchaffs in the Channel Islands. They may be stuck there."
     
    Differences have been noticed in other animals as well including insects. For example Oates states "Frogs have only just started turning up. Even in 1996 they had done their thing by the end of March. This is quite remarkable. The insects still haven't got going, but as soon as it warms up the midges and flies should be out. The bigger insects still haven't started."
     
    It is feared that many birds who live off the insects are no longer able to and could have perished. They were supposed to have arrived in the UK at the start of April but unfortunately a lot of them may already be dead. They could also just be hiding and waiting for the right conditions however.
     
    A spokesperson from the RSBP commented that“"Migrant birds like swallows, housemartins and willow warblers travel thousands of miles from sub-Saharan Africa to get here and use up all their fuel. When they arrive they are exhausted: they have probably lost half their body weight and are right on the edge of survival. If they arrive and there are no insects to feed on, they are in big trouble.
     
    "We could be looking at a bleak picture. Swallows should be here by now to the point where the casual observer sees them in parks. But we're a long way from that. The evidence is that some of these birds have arrived but perished."
     
    Sadly there were reports of eleven stone curlews found dead in the country of Norfolk last week and other birds have been seen feeding on the beaches which could suggest a desperate search for food.
     
    With a warm week predicted, hopefully the birds already here or arriving will be fortunate enough to discover the re-emergence of insects that has been predicted.
    It is argued that it has been a long cold winter for many animals. Butterflies have hardly been seen and suffered one of the wettest winters in history. Humans have also had enough of the cold weather and want to move on.
     
    Oates of the National Trust is looking forward to the new spring. "Early spring often ends in tears. There is a long record of good summers following late springs. I love a late spring. It's all the sweeter after a long wait."
     
    Source: The Guardian
    Photo: CiCCio
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