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The joyful, trilling duo to put a spring in our step Posted On 01 April 2021

It’s spring, and the birds are singing joyfully. Though, if you listen carefully you should be able to hear a specific kind of bird chirping. It’s a certain kind of ‘chiffchaffchiffchaffchiffchaff” sound, from none other than the chiffchaff itself. Funny, that!

 

The chiffchaff is a small bird of brown colour, and are members of the warbler family. They get to us around mid to late March, so now’s the time to start listening out for them. They are found in the wooded areas of parks all over London. The song they sing – their very chant of their very own name – is a loud, reasonably high-pitched, bouncing kind of tune.

At certain times, it almost feels like an X Factor contest for birds, because the chiffchaff has a rival. Another small brown bird, the skylark. These are breeding at the moment so their singing will be at its peak, putting the chiffchaff to task with their vocal talents. The skylark will normally hover over their nesting grounds which are generally found in more open spaces and/or within long grass areas. Richmond and Bushy Park are where they are spotted most frequently.

The Skylark is a dying breed, with just 18 pairs having tried to breed in the Royal Parks in 2020. This spring it will likely prove even harder for them to breed, with lockdown beginning to ease and an increased number of park-goers putting the Skylark’s habitat under even greater disturbance and threat.

Due to the Skylark’s population rapidly decreasing, the breed is now a red-listed bird, which means it needs urgent action to save its species.

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