Animals & birds

  • Moorhen
    Common on ponds and park lakes. Swims jerkily. Defends its territory - males will fight. Nests in thick cover close to water. Not a strong flyer.
  • Coot
    Plump, black, seen in parks and resevoirs, bigger than a Moorhen. Clumsy in flight, lands with a splash. Head bobs while swimming, dives a lot. Patters along surface when taking off. Rather quarrelsome
  • Mallard
    Nests on ground, sometimes in a hollow tree. very tame. Strong flight. Duck quacks loudly, Drake has a quiet whistle.
  • Great Crested Grebe
    Once nearly exterminated because of demand for feathers for women's hats. But now protected and numerous again. Found in reservoirs and lakes in Birmingham. Nests on floating nest, attached to vegetation. When courting, offers gifts of water-weed!
  • Mute Swan
    A familiar sight, with graceful curved neck. Powerful in flight, with a creaking noise. Hisses and snorts - keep away! Mates for life. Is considered a royal bird - the Crown once owned them all.
  • Canada Goose
    Largest Goose, brought in from North America for ornament but they escaped. Seen on ponds and town parks. May up-end in water.
  • Heron
    Stands like a sentry beside water, waiting for a fish. When flying, has slow flapping wing-beats, head tucked in. Will steal goldfish from ponds. Herons are very noisy during nesting, croaking and chattering of beaks.
  • Rook
    Similar to Crow except for whitish face and beak. Very sociable, found in groups or rookeries. Aggressive in defending the group's territory. Useful to farmer - eats wireworms and leather-jackets.
  • Pipistrelle Bat
    Commonest and smallest type of Bat. Common in parks and gardens. In summer, sleeps in buildings, hollow trees, in daytime, comes out soon after dusk. Flies fast but erratically, dodges about. Can be seen also in spring or mild winter. Hibernates in Winter.
  • Brown Rat
    Occupies anywhere undisturbed where it can find food - in winter in buildings, store rooms, cellars. In summertime moves to edges of lakes or canal banks. Digs, burrows and swims well. Can do severe damage and spread disease.