Wild Time


Feel the beat of spring

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Pay homage to the Russians

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Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Revel in roosting wagtails

Pied wagtail © Margaret Holland

Take a break from the shopping season to marvel at the wagtails sharing our city centres.

Keep your ears open for the unmistakable buzzy ‘chizzik’ call of the pied wagtails and your eyes peeled for their bounding long-tailed flight

As the winter sets in, everyone seems to head off to the shops, stocking up on supplies or preparing for the excesses of the coming festive season.  But as the shops are closing and the crowds head home, a different crowd takes over the town centres.  Look upwards and you may notice them, gathering on the rooftops in rowdy gangs.

Pied wagtails spend most of the year out in the countryside, in ones and twos. But as winter approaches, they take to roosting communally, often in our town centres.  As dusk starts to fall, small groups begin to gather, their ‘chizzik’ calls barely noticeable above the urban hustle and bustle.  But as the small groups become bigger groups, the first birds will head down off the roof tops and in to their roost trees.  The ornamental trees planted around shopping centres or in supermarket car parks seem to be particular favourites, often near to street lights.  As the daylight fades, more and more birds pour down into the favoured trees, with the biggest roosts often numbering in the hundreds, who sleep the night away amongst the twinkling Christmas lights.

How to do it

Keep your ears open for the unmistakable buzzy ‘chizzik’ call of the pied wagtails and your eyes peeled for their bounding long-tailed flight.  Often birds will gather on the ground in car parks before moving up to the roofs, all the while unnoticed by the busy people below.

If you can’t get to the special place listed below… Most town centres will have their own wagtail roost: just try looking upwards on your way home.

Special spots

Suffolk - there is a beautiful pied wagtail tree in the centre of Bury St Edmunds, just next to The Nutshell (Britain’s smallest pub).

Wagtail © Wildstock