Nature Blog: Yellowhammer onomatopoeia

Rennie, CAT’s resident naturalist, enjoys the abundance of birdsong at CAT.

Well, this is the last Monday morning that I’ll be trudging up the garden steps, mentally preparing myself for another day at the coal face and it’s a lovely bright sunny day – for the moment at least. Yet again I am struck by the proliferation of bird life we have here – especially noticeable at this time of year when the dawn chorus is in full swing. In just the short walk from the Cabins to the staff lunch room I saw two Dunnocks engaging in a little bit of intimate courting, a pair of smartly plumaged male Chaffinches squabbling for the attentions of a singularly bored looking female, a beautifully orange billed Blackbird singing his heart out from the branches of a tree and the flash of white as a Treecreeper flew off from one of the trees by the lake.

...not a yellowhammer, but rather a nuthatch.

Over the last few weeks, the Eco Cabin’s feeders have been visited by Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Nuthatches, Green finches, Siskins, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Robins, Grey Squirrels and a mangy looking ginger cat. And then of course up by the smallholding as Grace, CAT’s woodland and natural resources co-ordinator, pointed out, Yellowhammers have been regular visitors. Incidentally don’t believe the bird books which tell you that the Yellowhammer’s song sounds like ‘ a-lttle-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheeeeese’ – whoever came up with that originally must have been under the influence! Admittedly, it has a long drawn out note at the end but it might just as well be described as like ‘ I’m-itching-like mad- and-got- fleeeeas’ or any other such phrase. In fact, post your suggestions for an onomatopoeic phrase which best fits the Yellowhammer’s song below.