Is nature more visible in urban areas during Covid-19?

middleground

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With people at home there is probably more attention being paid to nature activity in urban gardens. There seems to be more bird song and butterflies around this year. It could be the dry weather, the reduction of human activity, etc. Has anyone else noticed an increase in activity in urban areas? A blackbird is singing fairly well non-stop from a tree top. Is there more activity? If there is more activity, what is causing it - less air pollution, less noise? There are downsides also such as closures of garden centres.

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Schmetterling

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There's a suicidal little robin in my garden (I have two homicidal cats!). My God is it loud. I expect it's the lack of traffic noise as I've never noticed small birds making such a racket before - the rooks or crows or whatever they are always make an infernal din. I'd love to say that it's a pleasure to hear it sing it's little heart out but it's not really - I wouldn't exactly call it musical!
 

Dearghoul

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Kinda liked our little cock robin this year. He decided to nest above the barbecue, and I was thinking 'well thats that out for the foreseeable, anyways.'
That was a kind of making my mind up for me about the good taste of having even an 'in house' barbie when the only traffic noise you can hear are ambulance sirens.

Annyways.. they seem to have got the drop on the magpie by putting out a seriously early brood. Three little robin schoolboys and girls were in the tiny garden last week. The dog got one, and no supper and a good talking to.

I really like the song. Pretty catchy, in my book.

Amusingly enough the 'C***k Robin thing has been caught by the swearing filters.:)

Feckin' cats though.

You can like 'em or you can like garden birds.

You cant do both.
 
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Schmetterling

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I went off the birds years ago when I put out nets of nuts for them (this was before the cats) and they repaid my kindness by sh*tting all over my washing. I'm not that fond of the cats anymore either - the amount of tiny dead mice I've found at the back door the last couple of months made me very sad - I like mice.
 

Dearghoul

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There's a suicidal little robin in my garden (I have two homicidal cats!). My God is it loud. I expect it's the lack of traffic noise as I've never noticed small birds making such a racket before - the rooks or crows or whatever they are always make an infernal din. I'd love to say that it's a pleasure to hear it sing it's little heart out but it's not really - I wouldn't exactly call it musical!
Wonder if its the alarm call you're hearing a lot of, what with the cats?

It's a (very) loud peep peep.

The robin song is pretty brilliant, just down the choir from the blackbird, which is a bit lonesome for my tastes and top of the tree...

Yeah the nightingale.

We're lucky enough to get one in June, sometimes in the tree behind.

Utterly magical.
 

JCR

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Wonder if its the alarm call you're hearing a lot of, what with the cats?

It's a (very) loud peep peep.

The robin song is pretty brilliant, just down the choir from the blackbird, which is a bit lonesome for my tastes and top of the tree...

Yeah the nightingale.

We're lucky enough to get one in June, sometimes in the tree behind.

Utterly magical.
A nightingale? Where do you live?

that's true about the alarm call btw, no doubt about it. It'll be pretty incessant with cats roaming around.
 

middleground

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More butterflies is what I have noticed most but I am not sure if it is because I am in the garden more or if it is a real increase.
 

Schmetterling

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Wonder if its the alarm call you're hearing a lot of, what with the cats?

It's a (very) loud peep peep
I don't know to be honest, I'm not very knowledgeable about birds but that does sound as if it could be right. I was sitting in the garden for the afternoon and I think the cats were inside, they definitely weren't around the garden. Does that mean it was a sort of warning to other birds or just stressing itself out? My cats are really old ladies now, they should be cocooning and sleeping sedately but the damn things won't stop hunting. I won't be getting any more when they die but until then I'm afraid there's not a bird or mouse safe in the neighbourhood :(
 

Dearghoul

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A nightingale? Where do you live?

that's true about the alarm call btw, no doubt about it. It'll be pretty incessant with cats roaming around.
I'm splunk bung in the middle of London, and of course I'd never heard it before, and couldn't believe my ears.

I heard one in the Tiergarten in Berlin as well recently, so they're no stranger to urban life.

Coming back to the OP, people have been doing 'before and after' photos of where I live and the colours are noticeably different since lockdown, green and blue rather than muddy colour, though I'd guess we're noticing things in the natural world,we haven't before because of the microcosms we're forced into.

Maybe we'll remember these things more attentively when all of this is over.
 
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Schmetterling

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Warning to mate and brood I think.

Looks like you may have taken on a responsibility here. :)

Good luck!
I shall have to try and keep those homicidal maniacs under house arrest for a while so. How long will it be before the robins fly off to South Africa or whatever it is robins do? I can't keep the old ladies in forever.
 

Schmetterling

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A nightingale? Where do you live?

that's true about the alarm call btw, no doubt about it. It'll be pretty incessant with cats roaming around.
Incessant is exactly the word for it. Was kinda wrecking my head but I'll forgive it now that I know why. And I'm glad that's not its singing voice, it was nearly as bad as my own!
 

Baron von Biffo

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With people at home there is probably more attention being paid to nature activity in urban gardens. There seems to be more bird song and butterflies around this year. It could be the dry weather, the reduction of human activity, etc. Has anyone else noticed an increase in activity in urban areas? A blackbird is singing fairly well non-stop from a tree top. Is there more activity? If there is more activity, what is causing it - less air pollution, less noise? There are downsides also such as closures of garden centres.

Nature takes back world's empty city streets

Backyard biodiversity: The garden guide to nature

Disgruntled gulls and happy foxes in a Covid-19 era - wild animals are changing their behaviour

Dublin Canals Run Clear Amid Covid Lockdown Revealing Beautiful Shopping Trolleys, Handguns

Millions of plants and shrubs set to be binned amid Covid-19 crisis
The answer is probably in your first sentence - people are paying a bit ore attention to such things now because there's little else to distract them.

About 10 years ago I did the Birdwatch Ireland garden bird survey and recorded more than 30 species in my relatively small urban garden. I even had occasional visits from a sparrowhawk.

Every year I have blackbirds, sparrows and robins successfully nesting and in a few years there were dunnocks too.

3 years in a row I had wood pigeons fail to raise a brood with a cat taking them out one year and the wind twice more.

House martins have made several attempts to nest on my walls but never successfully. Usually the nests are simply abandoned before being finished but a couple of times they were ousted by sparrows.

As well as butterflies and moths, if you take the time to look you'll probably notice ladybirds, bees, flies, weevils, shield bugs and other insects, slugs and snails.

The closure of garden centres is probably a good thing for wildlife. Apart from selling a lot of non-native species that our wildlife can't use, they also sell the chemicals that devastate insects, birds and mammals like hedgehogs.
 

Ardillaun

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I'm splunk bung in the middle of London, and of course I'd never heard it before, and couldn't believe my ears.
Didn’t Keats live near Hampstead Heath when he heard the nightingale of Ode fame? Things were a little less built up then, though.

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wombat

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Good news is the seagulls have left, the bad news is the pigeons have replaced them. :)
 

Baron von Biffo

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I went off the birds years ago when I put out nets of nuts for them (this was before the cats) and they repaid my kindness by sh*tting all over my washing. I'm not that fond of the cats anymore either - the amount of tiny dead mice I've found at the back door the last couple of months made me very sad - I like mice.
If you again get the urge to feed the birds, please don't use nets. They cause injuries when birds get entangled in them. Use wire nut-feeders instead.
 

Baron von Biffo

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I don't know to be honest, I'm not very knowledgeable about birds but that does sound as if it could be right. I was sitting in the garden for the afternoon and I think the cats were inside, they definitely weren't around the garden. Does that mean it was a sort of warning to other birds or just stressing itself out? My cats are really old ladies now, they should be cocooning and sleeping sedately but the damn things won't stop hunting. I won't be getting any more when they die but until then I'm afraid there's not a bird or mouse safe in the neighbourhood :(
 

Ardillaun

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One thing I like about British tv shows is the sound of birds in the background. Compared to the Canadian boreal forest they’re much more obvious.
 
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JCR

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I'm splunk bung in the middle of London, and of course I'd never heard it before, and couldn't believe my ears.

I heard one in the Tiergarten in Berlin as well recently, so they're no stranger to urban life.

Coming back to your OP, people have been doing before and after photos of where I live and the sky colour is noticeably different since lockdown, green and blue rather than muddy colour, though I'd guess we're noticing things in the natural world,we haven't before because of the microcosms we're forced into.

Maybe we'll remember those more attentively when all of this is over.
Well that's pretty cool they have adapted, I didn't know that at all. I've never gotten to hear one here in Ireland.

I have noticed the sky as well yeah, particularly in the evenings and there is little doubt the air quality is better, you can literally smell it.

Yes, I wonder if people would prefer less "stuff" and less money or a cleaner world if they can actually see the difference.
 


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