If you think this wee cock Reed Bunting looks smart, you should see him in summer!
In breeding plumage the head and bib are jet black and the collar snow white, giving him an unmistakeable appearance.
A relation of the equally bonny and maybe more familiar Yellow Hammer,the Reed Bunting shares the Yorlin’s habit of singing from a prominent perch as my model demonstrates.
I recall they were common hedgerow breeders in my boyhood, but then so were so many birds we have managed to practically eradicate from the farmscape.
Fortunately, Reed Buntings respond well to conservation measures across the country such as the planting of wildlife cover or direct winter feeding.
In fact, I photographed this one in a wildlife crop, planted for its food and shelter value to insects and birds.
These crops are now part of the grant schemes available to farmers in an attempt to reverse steep declines in bird numbers over recent decades.
How successful such schemes will be in halting the declines I am not sure.
The fact is there is an ever growing human population requiring ever more housing and food, all of which creates more and more pressure on the habitats of other species.
We just need to get our heads around our responsibilities to those species.
Of course, we must feed and house our own species but we have a responsibility to do the same for the species which share this country with us.
Or does it not matter if our grandchildren never hear the wee cock Reed Bunting sing?
Plant your garden with wildlife in mind.
Buy your food with wildlife in mind