Eurasian Hobby I did the early May bird survey at Westfield today, with a Hobby as the star bird.This little falcon is a summer visitor to Britain; they mostly feed on large insects and small birds caught in flight, and particularly rely on dragonflies as food.

They are rather colourful for a bird of prey, with yellow legs and red feathers around the legs.

The one I saw today actually landed in a dead willow branch and flew round, calling, which is potentially a sign that it is setting up a territory – on migration, they are just seen feeding and flying without calling.

This was the first one I’ve seen this year – normally I would see them a bit earlier, as they congregate around wetlands when they first arrive, feeding on the abundant insects and any newly arrived swallows, that also visit those places on arrival. Lockdown has curtailed visits to nature reserves, so it was great to see one on the farm, and it would be really good if this one does attract a mate and settles down to breed.

I also confirmed that the starlings here are indeed nesting, with noisy chicks calling from an old woodpecker hole in an ash tree over the brook.

To cap it all, there were calls from a cuckoo and kingfisher all in the same part of the farm!

Everyone loves a fun fact, so here’s a good one; the Latin name for Hobby is Falco subbuteo, the name Subbuteo was given to the table football game after the inventor was not granted permission to use his chosen trademark ‘Hobby’ for the game!

Dr Vince Lea
Head of Wildlife Monitoring 

Feed the birds supplementary food during winter

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