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PDF Nightingale

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Where to see nightingales in the UK

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Choose a bird When the duke of Buckingham bought the land where Buckingham Palace now stands in , it was said to be a wilderness full of blackbirds and nightingales. Until a century ago nightingales could still be found commonly around London.

In Victorian times charabanc parties would go out to listen to nightingales. The identification was not always correct, and some parties were entertained by blackcaps or garden warblers instead. They are not the only birds that will sing at night, while they will also sing during the day, too.

Common nightingale - Wikipedia

What makes the song so exceptional is its variety, its range and power. Studies have shown that individual birds may have a repertoire of over different phrases. Most males sing from dense cover where they are usually hard to see. Only occasionally will they sing from exposed perches. Seeing a nightingale is always difficult, as they are famous for their ability to skulk in thick cover where they are difficult to spot.

Both sexes of nightingale are identical in appearance to the human eye. They are also rather plain and unexciting to look at.

Quick Facts

In England, the cocks start singing as soon as they return from migration in mid to late April; they will continue until early June. In contrast, Continental birds have a much longer song period, probably because they have two broods so defend their territory for much longer. The most celebrated recording of a nightingale singing was made in an Oxted garden in The bird was accompanied by Beatrice Harrison on her cello, and the subsequent radio broadcast was heard by a million people.

Two hundred years ago there was a trade in trapped nightingales as cage birds, but few lived for long in captivity.

Most of our nightingales are to be found in southeast England and East Anglia. They have never bred in Ireland or Scotland, and no longer do so in Wales. Our birds are on the northwestern edge of their range.


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Spain, France and Italy have the biggest populations, numbering tens of thousands of pairs. In northeast Europe the very similar thrush nightingale replaces the nightingale. Southward migration starts in July and peaks in late August. It is thought that the birds fly across the Mediterranean and the Sahara in one flight. Wintering birds tend to remain faithful to the same area for weeks or even months. For international shoppers Ordering from outside the UK. Living with Birds Who are we?

Sorry, you must enable Javascript or use a different browser to use this web site. They are skulking and extremely local in their distribution in the UK, while in much of southern Europe they are common and more easily seen. The famous song is indeed of high quality, with a fast succession of high, low and rich notes that few other species can match. The nightingale is a secretive bird which likes nothing better than hiding in the middle of an impenetrable bush or thicket. Nightingales arrive in April and sing until late May and early June.

They leave again from July to August. They can be heard singing throughout the day, as well as at night. We use cookies on our website to help give you the best online experience. Tell me more. Celebrating 40 years of the Big Garden Birdwatch Learn how the world's largest wildlife survey started. Top 10 bird feeding tips this winter The winter can be a tough time of year for birds. Baby bird advice Find out what to do if you spot a baby bird. Brent Goose A small, dark goose - the same size as a mallard.

Nightjar A nocturnal bird that can be seen hawking for food at dusk and dawn. Ring Ouzel male ring ouzels are particularly distinctive with their black plumage with a pale wing panel and striking white breast band. Let Nature Sing Help us get bird song into the charts. Volunteer Explore these pages to find an opportunity that suits you.

Big Wild Sleepout Go on a night time adventure. Find reserves near me. Minsmere There's so much to see and hear at Minsmere, from rare birds and otters to stunning woodland and coastal scenery. Coombes Valley This is a delightful oak woodland to walk through — especially in spring and early summer. Arne Heathland home to more than species.

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Pond dipping Pond dipping is something we can all do and it's loads of fun! Rock pooling Explore the little pools of amazing sea life that are left by the tide on the rocks around our coast. Listen now.