Thursday, 4 December 2008

Dunnock Feeding on Nettle Seeds

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I slipped out in between work on a freezing morning yesterday for a bit of Bird snapping to Star Hill and was rewarded with some good photos. The sun was out and the light was ideal inspite of the near zero temperature.

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An interesting observation I snapped was this dunnock which seemed to be eager to pick the seeds off a dried Nettle

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If you thought the nettle plant was only an incredibly “irritating” weed out to sting you and forbid your access to birding haven then think again!

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Nettle patches are thought to attract a wide variety of birds. The stinging nettle provides habitat for more than 40 species of insects and are an important breeding ground for butterflies.

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In late summer, the plant produces huge quantities of seeds which serve as food for many seed eating birds.

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..but why is a dunnock feeding on nettle seeds? Aren’t dunnocks supposed to be insectivores?

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Yes they usually are, but when it is winter and the ground freezes over as was the case yesterday, digging the already scarce insects out of the ground becomes quite a task.

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..and when hunger strikes the dunnock will look out for other sources of food, like the seeds on this dried up nettle. …and thus I get my share of dunnock eating nettle seeds pictures!

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P.S:

Read more about the usefulness of nettles here.

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