Country Corner: Meadow Pipit

Meadow pipit
Meadow pipit

Few of you may recognise this wee brown bird, yet it is perhaps our most common bird of wide open grasslands and moorland.

I’m afraid the Meadow Pipit is largely overlooked by the casual walker as it fares very lowly in the eye catching stakes.

Of course, that is nature’s intention, as this is a species which is looked upon as a carry out meal by some predators, and as a mere snack by some others! Moorland raptors like Hen Harrier and Merlin, make Meadow Pipits their staple diet when numbers are plentiful. Meadow Pipits are also the main species chosen by the cuckoo when it is searching out a nest of eggs in which to lay one of its own.

Even keen bird watchers tend to dismiss the humble bird with the nickname “Mipit”. At this time of year the Meadow Pipit finally steps into centre stage as it performs its “parachute song”. This is when the males fly up into the air, then parachute down on arched wings, trilling faster and faster as they fall. It is an exact reversal of the skylark which sings as it towers upwards towards the clouds.

So on the golf course, the moor or coastal grassland watch out for the parachuting Mipit in coming weeks. Maybe you will share my opinion that it really is a cracking wee sprite after all!