Oct 28 2021

Local hero

Spare a thought for our Dartford warblers as the weather gets colder. These brave little birds have spent most of the summer working hard to rear as many chicks as possible and must now face the winter. Unlike other similar birds, the ‘Dartfords’ choose to sit out the winter rather than risk a hazardous journey to warmer climes. It’s a trade-off that will pay dividends if we have a mild winter, but won’t end well if we have a harsh one!

These secretive little birds rely on gorse bushes, common on the heaths of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. A dense thicket of gorse will provide food, such as spiders and insects, and shelter from the elements.

To spot one, listen out for the buzzy call all year round, and a scratchy song in the spring. If you’re lucky, you’ll see one perched on top of a gorse bush (like the photo below), though often they’re sulking out of sight, so getting your ear in is a useful skill.

Find more information in our Wildlife Gallery. Or, if you have young ones to entertain this weekend, download our FREE colouring sheet to introduce them to this great little local hero.

Thames Basin Heaths Partnership

Photograph of a male Dartford warbler perched on flowering gorse

Male Dartford warbler


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