Spring birds in the Midlands

A skylark in heather

National Trust places across the region are home to a wide variety of native and visiting bird species. Spring is a season of rapid change and activity amongst birds, the most exciting time of year for bird-watchers.

Our resident species will be busy establishing nesting territories from early spring onwards but things really start hotting up through April and early May when the great mass of our summer visitors arrive and add their weight to a burgeoning dawn chorus.

Pied Flycatcher at Longshaw
A pied flycatcher on a twig

Whilst woodlands offer the best dawn choruses, with scarcer species such as redstart, pied flycatcher and wood warbler joining the symphony in woods in the north and west of the region, such as at Hawksmoor in the Churnet valley and in the Derbyshire dales, very respectable offerings can be heard in National Trust gardens such as The Weir near Hereford.  Whilst performances peak around dawn, birdsong can be heard at any time of day especially during April and May.

Meadow pipits can be seen 'parachuting' over their nesting sites in Spring
A meadow pipit

Head for the moors of the Peak District or the Long Mynd in Shropshire for the best choruses of those aerial songsters skylark and meadow pipit and, if you’re very lucky, the beautiful bubbling call of the curlew.  The rapid decline as a breeding bird of this distinctive wader has been described as the most urgent bird conservation priority in Britain, as its range has contracted to be concentrated in upland areas such as the Peak District’s Northern Moors.

Curlews are one of the iconic species that come to the moors to breed in spring
A curlew, which are found on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire