Returning migratory birds in spring
The trees are turning green and filling with blossom, and temperatures are rising. Spring has well and truly arrived in the UK, and with that comes an array of migratory species to our isles. If you’re looking to spot some migratory birds this spring, and are wondering how you can encourage them to settle after their long journeys, then you’re in the right place.
Do all birds migrate?
Not all birds migrate and some of our favourite wild birds are in fact residents here in the UK – including the much-loved blackbird and the robin. However, some famous migrants spend summer here in the UK and migrate to the warmer climates of Africa during our colder months.
Fun fact: Some birds are considered non-migratory ‘sedentary’ birds, meaning they have never moved far from where they were born.
Birds that migrate to the UK in Spring
Also known as summer visitors, there are a large number of birds that migrate to the UK in spring, often seeking warmer climates. These summer visitors include:
- Warblers – including the dartford warbler and reed warbler.
- Martins – including the house martin.
- Yellow wagtails
- Turtle doves
These impressive species will even take their UK-born young with them on their long migratory journey.
Birds that migrate to the UK in Autumn
When some of our favourite garden visitors arrive in the UK in autumn, the colder months bring with it a whole new host of feathered friends. They are known as winter visitors, despite their arrivals being in Autumn. As the UK is often milder and food is much easier to find, many of these birds often visit from colder climates in the north and east, such as Russia. These winter visitors include:
In Spring, these migratory species will then return to their homes in the north and the east.
Along with seasonal residents, the UK often hosts a number of passage migrants throughout the year – including dunlins, green sandpipers and black terns. These passage migrants stop off across the country to take a short break from their migration, stock up on food and simply to have a rest. This rest period can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Feeding migratory birds
With migratory birds, it’s incredibly important they have enough food to power their exhausting journeys. For passage migrants, their rest stops rely on high-energy food sources, such as peanuts for birds, and those leaving the UK in autumn will also need to stock up on the likes of peanuts and seeds to fuel their long journey to Africa. Putting peanuts out on your feeder in autumn is a great way to help out our feathered friends.
Looking to spot a few migratory species this season? Check out our great autumn migration guide on where to spot migrating birds in the UK.