There was a jay in the big tree at the end of (but not actually in) my garden yesterday. I haven’t seen one in the garden before so, you know, it being there was proper nice and that. I haven’t got a massive garden but I have seen some nice birds in it. The secret is looking. No matter how many (or how few) birds you see from your window there is always the possibility that something new will turn up. Don’t ask me why. That’s just birds.
It occurred to me that most of us will be spending a lot of time over the next few months stuck inside, looking out of our windows and that at the same time a lot of birds will be outside windows with the potential to be looked at. It would be pretty churlish not to combine the two, no? If you are looking out of your window anyway, and birds are outside that window anyway, why not look at the birds?
And could I be of any assistance with that? Yes. I think I could.
It is pretty easy to learn to recognise the birds that may visit your garden. There are plenty of resources available. The Wildlife Trusts have a helpful beginner’s guide here, the RSPB have a useful Bird Identifier tool here, or you could even buy a book (The Collins Bird Guide is my favourite and is also available as a rather wonderful app, with videos and birdsong recordings and everything). However, if going to another web page sounds like too much like hard work then why not take advantage of my kindness, and my top top birding skills, because every week, on a Tuesday I am going to give you a drawing* and five helpful tips** on identifying a bird you might see from your window during lockdown, or self isolation, or whatever the next few months entail.
Anyway, enough waffling. Let’s get to the science…
- Jays aren’t quite as pink as in my drawing but they are pink
- They are crows and therefore a decent size. Jays are between 34-45 cm in length (from the tip of their bill to the tip of their tail). You are looking for something that would fit in a shoe box but wouldn’t be happy about it.
- Don’t lose track of the fact that they are pink because not many birds are, especially not birds that turn up in British gardens and are quite big.
- They can be quite shy so listen out for their call which can be quite harsh.
- Mate, they’re pink.
So there you go, that’s jays sorted. Now you know one bird for definites for reals. Just think how many you will know in a few weeks time. I know! You’re welcome.
*quality of drawings may vary
**helpfulness of tips may vary