(An uncomprehensive guide to birds you might see from a city window)

Great tit

Chris, stop smirking!

Has a black head, not like the blue tit which has a blue head and is smaller.

Blue tit

Also called a tomtit, a bit smaller and flightier than a Great Tit. Looks a bit scruffier too.


Will come right up to you if you have just been digging, to root around for worms and things. Not afraid of people. 'Cock' robin! Perhaps it's called that because it is cocky.



Skinny sort of bird, shiny speckly plumage. Sometimes you just see one or two, and sometimes a whole chattering flock squeaking and chittering across the sky. When you throw food to them, they gather round looking at you and whistling and cheeping, and as soon as the food has started its trajectory they whirr up and take it from the air like magic, like seagulls do.


The difference between a crow and a raven is that ravens are bigger and have bigger beaks (but any big black bird you see is much more likely to be a crow).

Inner-City Birdwatching

Different birds know different things, and by watching them you can learn something, without knowing exactly what you are learning. I really do think that watching birds is something that can make you notice the world around you in a different and useful, gentle and pleasant way. Any birds will do, even pigeons. Between Winter and Spring is the best time for birdwatching. There are no leaves on the trees, so the birds are easy to spot. And in Spring the male birds are up in the tree tops singing, which makes them even more obvious. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with some trees outside, then seeing what type of birds are out there when you look out of the window is a bit like seeing who you bump into out on the street. If there are no birds, you can watch the weather - the trees and how much they are moving in the wind, how much light there is and what the sky is like and how cold or warm it is - there is such a lot to notice and we just ignore it all most of the time.


These are rock doves. Funny orange & yellow & red eyes, if you look.
(see some amazing pigeon eyes here)


If you see a flock of these, it's called a 'charm' of goldfinches.

Pied Wagtail

Its long tail wags up and down as it walks along.

Grey Wagtail

Also wags its tail. Don't know why it's called 'grey' as it has a really obvious bright yellow underside.



Strips of yellow on the wings. When it flies, you can see much more yellow, like a flurry of helicopter yellow.


Very black and white, jarring call. If you see one on its own and think it might mean "one for sorrow," you have to quickly say "Hello Mr. Magpie, how's your wife?" and that makes it alright.



Quite often rustles around in the bushes.


Tiny bird with a little tail sticking up at the back. Reminds me of a hamster.


The jay is pink, with a tiny patch of blue on the side of its wing. They go about from tree to tree, often in pairs. They have a harsh crarking call.

Wood Pigeon

Bigger than pigeons. Seem to bully each other quite a lot. Nice colouring.

Greater or Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Goes up and down tree trunks, pecking its head at the wood, apparently it's looking for insects in the wood. It's really nice to see one of these.

Only the male has red on the back of its head.

Long-tailed tit

Sweetest bird ever. More like a hamster than the wren, even. Has a stripe on its head that makes it look bald. The tail is really long. They often fly from tree to tree in groups.


You are PROBABLY not looking out of your window if you see one of these.

House Sparrow



Today I heard a great twittering coming from a bush and looking at the bush I couldn't see a thing, so I tried to look inside to see what the birds inside it were and still couldn't see anything. Then suddenly I saw a house sparrow, and then as if by magic I could see more of them on the branches of the bush, and when I saw them they all stopped twittering and were quiet. Then they one by one started chirping again and the twittering recommenced.

Green Woodpecker

These are green! With red on the back of the head.


You are DEFINITELY not looking out of your window if you see one of these.


These are pretty rare. The Plodbogger lives in the marshes and boggy country. It finds food in the mud by means of its front feet, which are in the form of suckers. Each hoof-like foot is capable of closing round on an unlucky lug-worm or eel, and it can hold several in each foot at a time. When it comes out of the mud, it lies down and cleans its feet while it eats its prey. Although the Plodbogger spends a lot of its time in the mud, it is a very clean animal.

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