The Wildwood Trust

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wildwood's Birds

Barn Owl  |  Crane  |  Ducks - (Mallard, Red Crested Pochard, Shoveller, Tufted Duck)  |  Eagle Owl  |  Egret  |  Grey Heron  |  Jay  |  Jackdaw  |  Magpie  |  Night Heron  |  Raven   |  Tawny Owl  |  Stork

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

The Barn owl is a native to the UK, a little larger than the tawny owl at 36cm from head to tail. It hunts at dusk for small animals such as mice and voles which it swallows whole. It is a protected species, at risk from habitat loss.

The Barn owl has a white underside with buff wings, and a white, heart-shaped face. It has exceptional eyesight and hearing for tracking small prey in the grass.

At Wildwood you can see our barn owl in a reconstructed farmyard barn, where it co-habits with chickens. Look high in the rafters, or into the nest box viewed from inside the rat barn.

Adopt a barn owl today!

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Crane (Grus grus)

The crane was native to the UK but became extinct here in the 17th Century, due to hunting and habitat loss.

It is a large, grey bird about the size of a goose, but with long legs and a long sharp bill and a red patch on the head in adult birds.

In the wild it lives in wetlands and marshy woods, eating a wide variety of food from frogs and earth-worms to roots and seeds.

At Wildwood you can see them out all day strolling round their enclosure that they share with our storks.

Adopt a crane today!

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Ducks (Mallard, Red Crested Pochard, Shoveller, Tufted Duck)

There are 14 species of duck that breed in the UK. At Wildwood we have 4 of these species in our waterfowl enclosure, who are out splashing in the ponds throughout the day. These are a mix of dabbling ducks which seek food by up-ending in the water or dabbling on the surface and diving ducks which dive down further. All eat algae and small crustaceans.

The females of each species are more drab than the males, usually mid brown. Mallards are our most common duck, a dabbling duck, the male having a distinctive iridescent green/blue head and both male and female having a blue bar on their wings.

The red crested pochard is the same size as the mallard and is a diving duck. The male has an orange rounded head and a red bill, whilst the female is smaller and brown all over, without the orange head.

The shoveller looks similar to the mallard with similar markings for males and females, but with a broad, flattened black bill shaped like a shovel, used for dabbling at the water surface.

The tufted duck is a small diving duck with a tuft on the head as the name suggests. The male is black with white sides, a yellow eye and blue-grey bill, the female is deep red-brown.

Adopt a duck today!

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Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo)

Eagle owls were native to the UK hundreds of years ago but were hunted to extinction. There are hopes for the eagle owl to come back to the UK. Like other owls it is largely nocturnal and lives in high mountains.

It is one of the very largest owl species, with a wing span of up to two metres! It has tawny brown feathers and distinctive ear tufts and orange eyes. It can tackle animals as large as young deer, but its main prey is small mammals.

Wildwood has three eagle owls, two in a flight enclosure by the beavers and a third near the play area. Look high in the rafters for these majestic birds.

Adopt an eagle owl today!

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Egret

Once just a visitor to the South of England, this pure white Mediterranean bird from the heron family has started to nest and stay over winter here in the UK. Scientists believe this is due to the effects of global warming and our increasingly mild winters.

The Egrets at Wildwood nest and raise chicks in the late spring. Wild egrets often come and stay on or near the wildfowl enclosure. The birds have pure white plumage, long gray legs and bill, and tufts of white feathers on head and back. They are wading birds and eat small fish amphibians and crustaceans.

Adopt an egret today!

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Grey Heron

The Gray heron is a large gray wading bird with very long legs, neck and bill. It hunts fish and amphibians by standing stationary until the prey comes within striking distance.

It has broad wings and an almost leisurely flight with its long neck tucked in.

To see the herons at Wildwood, look carefully towards the back of the wildfowl enclosure. The herons often stay very still and blend in well with their surroundings.

Adopt a heron today!

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Jay

The jay is a member of the crow family native to the UK, with peach-pink feathers and a blue bar on its wing, and black and white tail feathers. It is a little larger than a blackbird.

They live in woodland so are often difficult to see. They eat nuts, seeds and insects.

Our Jay is very inquisitive, and will often come right up to the viewing pane to see who is visiting.

Adopt a jay today!

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Jackdaw

The Jackdaw is a small black crow native to the UK, with a grey neck and pale eyes. It is sociable and usually seen in pairs or larger groups. On the ground it both walks and hops.

They congregate in fields, woods, parks and gardens, and live all over the UK apart from the Scottish Highlands. They eat insects, seeds and scraps.

The jackdaw at Wildwood lives with a magpie at the rat barn, and is very inquisitive, coming to see what visitors are up to.

Adopt a jackdaw today!

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Magpie

Magpies are small members of the crow family, with black and white feathers and a long black tail. They eat a wide variety of food and are opportunistic scavengers of meat and scraps. They will take young birds and eggs in the spring, but also eat fruit, grains and invertebrates.

The Magpie at Wildwood lives with the rook at the rat barn. It is a very intelligent and inquisitive bird and will come right to the edge of the enclosure to see visitors.

Adopt a magpie today!

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Night Heron

The night heron is a rare and little-seen bird, which is visiting the UK more frequently thanks to warmer summers. They are a smaller relative of the grey heron, with a shorter neck and shorter yellow legs. They are a wading bird and eat fish which they hunt from the water's edge. They are mostly nocturnal.

Look to the rear of the Waterfowl enclosure at Wildwood to see this shy bird, which often rests amongst the bushes in the enclosure.

Adopt a night heron today!

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Raven

The raven is the largest member of the crow family, with black feathers and a wedge-shaped tail. They have a well-developed ruff of feathers on the throat, which are called 'hackles' and are used often in social communication. They have a wing span of around 50 inches. Ravens are found across the west and north of the UK.

Ravens are extremely intelligent. They are scavengers, and use their large beaks to rip carcasses. They have a harsh croaking call and make a wide range of sounds, even imitating the sounds of other animals. The ravens at wildwood have been known to imitate the call of the Fallow Buck in the rutting season, making the buck think there is another male wanting to compete!

The ravens at Wildwood are sisters. They are very inquisitive and will often come to look at the visitors looking at them. Look high up in the rafters of their enclosure or on the perches towards the front.

Adopt a raven Today!

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Tawny Owl

The tawny owl is a Nocturnal woodland bird with dappled brown feathers, so is rarely seen in the wild, despite being our most common owl in the UK. It is smaller than the barn owl, standing up to 39 cm high.

They roost in branches by day, and fly lower to sit in ambush closer to the ground at night. They have exceptional eyesight and hearing and hunt small creatures on the woodland floor.

Tawnys have short stubby wings to fly amongst the trees, and fly absolutely silently. Tawny owls are the only owl to make the classic tu-whit tu-whoo call, which is made as a duet. The male sings tu-whit and the female replies tu-whoo.

You can see Tawny owls in two enclosures at wildwood, the first a breeding pair by the badger building (look high in the rafters or into the nest box from inside the badger building) and the second two sisters next to the Rat barn. These owls are inquisitive and often perch near the path to watch the passers-by.

Adopt a tawny owl today!

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Stork

Storks were native to the UK until the 15th century, when changes to farming practices cut their nesting and feeding habitats. It is a large bird with a distinctive red bill and long red legs, white body and black flight feathers.

It still breeds in many parts of Europe, constructing huge nests on the rooftops and telegraph poles of numerous towns and villages. It holds an elaborate greeting ceremony, clattering bills and throwing their heads backwards.

Wild storks migrate at the end of summer, mostly to tropical Africa. The Wildwood storks can be seen all year round, strolling in their grassy enclosure with the cranes.

Adopt a stork today!

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