The uplifting role that wildlife plays in our lives has become more vital than ever. We're in the middle of winter, but there are plenty of birds to be seen. This guide will help you identify some of the feathered friends you’re most likely to see - and hear - from home.
Lend a hand: It really helps our garden birds if we feed them - find out more about feeding birds safely in this video. They also need shallow water to drink and bathe in. Remember to keep feeders and bird baths clean. You might also want to think about putting up bird boxes ready for spring.
Starling ID: Star-studded with a glossy sheen of purple and green
Song: Chattering rattles, clicks, whistles and warbles. Also a skilled mimic
Nest in tree holes, cavities and nest boxes. Females in a colony will synchronise egg-laying so that their fledglings emerge together. More here
Blue Tit ID: The only British tit with blue on its head. Smaller than the Great Tit
Song: Trilling 'tsee-tsee-tsee'
Nest is often lined with aromatic mint or lavender as a natural disinfectant. Females lay 8 – 10 eggs and each chick needs to eat 100 caterpillars every day. More here.
Great Tit ID: Large with a black head and chest stripe
Song: Repetitive two-note ‘teacher-teacher’ sounds like a squeaky bicycle pump
The chest stripe on the male is an indicator of status: the wider the stripe, the more attractive he is to females. More here.
Long-tailed Tit ID: Seriously cute with a very long tail, like a ball on a stick
Song: Bubbly ‘prrrt-prrrt’ and chattering ‘tsirrup’
Their barrel-shaped nests are made of moss and cobwebs, covered with lichens for camouflage and lined with hundreds of soft feathers. More here.
Blackbird ID: Males are black with a yellow bill and eye-ring, females are dark brown
Song: Mellow, whistling tune; ‘chink-chink’ alarm call
Beautiful blue eggs are laid in nests hidden deep within hedges. Blackbirds may have four broods in a single season. More here.
Song Thrush ID: Warm brown with heavily speckled chest, smaller than a blackbird
Song: Tuneful, repeating a phrase two or three times before moving onto the next.
May be seen or heard banging snails against a stone anvil. No other bird does this. More here.
Wren ID: Tiny brown bird with a cocked tail. Common yet secretive
Song: Volume is the key to ID - incredibly loud song with a distinctive trill
The male builds six to 12 nests but only one is used by the female, who usually rears her young single-handedly. More here
Dunnock ID: Like a streaky sparrow. Shy, often hopping low in undergrowth and hedges
Song: A short jumble of notes thrown together in a hurry. More on their song
Despite strong pair bonds, females often mate with another male. With paternity uncertain, both will supply her chicks with food.
House Sparrow ID: Males have a grey cap and black bib, females are brown
Song: Cheerful chirping
These sociable birds often nest in colonies, usually close to people. Some pairs will manage three broods a year. More here.
Chaffinch ID: Females are browner than the colourful males but both have distinctive white wing bars
Song: Loud, cheerful, descending song may be repeated up to 3,000 times in a day
Chaffinches have regional accents, and more than six million pairs breed here in the UK each year. More here.
Greenfinch ID: olive green with a flash of yellow on the wing, and a chunky beak
Song: Twittering whistles and warbles with distinctive wheezing ‘zweee’. More here.
Sociable but notorious for squabbling. Numbers have dropped due to disease (Trichomonosis) that can spread at feeding stations, so it’s important to keep feeders clean
Goldfinch ID: Striking red face and bright yellow wing feathers
Song: Liquid, tinkling twitter
A group of goldfinches is called a charm, and they flock in large numbers outside the breeding season. More here.