Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience

Red Skies and Red Birds

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Winter, at Church Farm, is turning out to be a very beautiful, but very cold season. We have already had some gorgeous clean and clear frosty mornings, and, at the end of the day, some magnificent sun sets that have set the sky a blaze. The view over the horticulture fields, as they slope down and on into Lowany and Upany fields, is particularly spectacular on these occasions.

Winter isn’t always the best time for wildlife, but there have been some treats on the farm. Not in the least, one of my favourite winter migrants, the red wing.
Red wings are thrushes, like black birds and song thrushes that are a regular sight in our gardens, that migrant over to the UK from Scandinavia, Russia, and northern regions of Asia. They are a very common sight in winter, with a distinctive red flank and creamy strips around the eyes. They are very pretty birds, and are a welcome sight darting in and around the hedgerows.

Severe winters can cause the redwing many problems; even though the world population is healthy, particularly bad weather can really push up the mortality rate for these migrants. Sadly, they rarely visit gardens, as the many bird feeders up and down the country would provide a real boost to these birds, but it is encouraging that organic farms such as Church Farm offer open country side birds like the redwing the chance to over winter safely and securely.

The British Trust for Ornithology are currently conducting a winter thrush survey, to understand more about birds such as the redwing and weather the UK offers a good home for them during the winter months and to identify what they need to survive through to the spring. The BTO are a fantastic organisation, so please register and give them a helping hand counting their thrushes!


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