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10 beautiful winter birds to see in UK cities | Urban wildlife
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10 beautiful winter birds to see in UK cities | Urban wildlife

Carrion Crow

AAs a co-founder Get togetherThe London-based birdwatching club for people of colour,, organises walks throughout the south of England every year. The most common question I get is: Are there any birds?

It’s not surprising. Birdsong falls sharply in winter because birds don’t need to attract mates during the breeding season. Many summer visitors will have gone, so there is less need for marking territory. Birds that winter here are still looking for food. This, along leafless winter tree leaves, means that there are plenty of opportunities for good sightings from wherever you may be.

Here are my favorite birds to watch in winter. Some birds are present all year round, while others migrate in to the UK for the season. The good news is that they are all common in the UK, so even if your home is in a large city, you don’t need to travel far to see them.

Carrion Crow
Photograph by Tim Grist Photography/Getty Images

It’s all over

My favourite bird to observe! These all-black, glossy birds rule the streets. They are able to withstand competitors and establish strongholds by living in numbers. A common bird? Yes. Unimpressive? Absolutely not.

WrenPhotograph by Gary Chalker/Getty Images

Hedgerows, woodlands, and gardens

The cocked-up tail of this tiny brown bird is what makes it easy to identify. They hide behind thick hedges to sing their loud, melodic song. They can be found everywhere, but I prefer to see them in Hackney Marshes.

Photograph by lumenetumbra/Getty Images

Near Bodies of water

Grey herons fly with a pterodactyl like energy, especially when they let loose their loud squawks. They can stand by water, hunting amphibians and fish, and sometimes they can be so still you might question if you are looking at a statue. One of our colleagues sent us a video showing a spinning rat with its tail.

Long-tailed tit
Photograph by Dominic Cram/Getty Images

Woodlands, hedgerows, and gardens

These adorable, pink, black, and white shirts are just too cute They are so small that you might be unable to see them, but their long tails make identification easy. They are rarely seen by themselves and flocks will often move from one garden or another, searching for feeders.

Short-eared Owl
Photograph by Andrew Sproule/Getty Images

Coastal marshlands, fields, and wetlands

These owls hunt during the day so they might be visible flying low above open terrain. Many owls arrive from Scandinavia every year to show their winter colors. I enjoy watching them at the RSPB Rainham marshes reserve in Essex. However, they can also be seen in suitable habitats throughout Scotland and Cornwall.

Photograph: Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

Parks, gardens and fields

This is a true winter bird of the UK. It has a red spot under its wings and an eye stripe. In late October, thousands of these birds arrive in the UK from colder regions. They eat mainly berries and worms. They ate the sliced oranges and apples that I left out for them on my balcony.

Photograph by Mark Hughes/Getty Images

Parks, Moors and Fields

This falcon can be spotted above open grassland, where there are nearby forests. As they search for prey, you can spot them hovering.

Photograph: Helen Davies/Alamy

Woods, parks and garden

These smaller, more colourful crows are another favorite of mine. They are known for burying acorns during winter so that they can be eaten.

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European Goldfinch
Photograph: Brian Pollard/Alamy

Parks, gardens and heathland.

This small bird can be easily identified by its yellow wings-flash and red-black-white head. It is often seen on aerials and buildings less than three stories. They were a huge hit at our first Flock Together Academy, which was for underprivileged children.

A buzzard
Photograph: Murdo McLeod/The Guardian

Most rural habitats are found in the countryside, but they can sometimes be spotted over green spaces in cities.

This majestic, mostly brown bird is often seen high above open country. We were fortunate enough to see one while on a Flock Together Walk. It displayed its impressive wingspan as well as a wedge-shaped tail that everyone gasped at!

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