A nature-spotter’s dream
The stonechat is a nature-spotter’s dream bird as it is frequently found perching proudly on the top of scrub in open habitats for all to see. From this conspicuous vantage point it will periodically drop to the ground to grab an insect snack and return, once more, to view. Its presence is often revealed by the sound of two pebbles being knocked together – a sound which gives the bird its name. It is one of the few insectivorous birds to remain in the UK over winter – supplementing its diet with seeds and berries. Pairs remain on their territory throughout the winter months, only heading south if the temperature drops too much. In years of harsh winters, stonechat numbers may fall significantly, but during a good breeding season, a pair can raise up to four broods of chicks (with up to six young in each) to compensate.