The Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, is a wild goose belonging to the genus Branta, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America. It was introduced into Europe and is now considered a pest in many areas.
It has a black head and neck, white patches on the face and a brownish-grey body.
The Canada Goose ranges from 75 to 110 cm in length, has a wingspan of 127–185 cm and males usually weigh between 3.2 and 6.5 kilos. The sexes are almost identical except the female is slightly lighter in weight. Good luck weighing one!
The Canada Goose eats mainly vegetation, such as roots, grass, leaves and seeds.
Species: B. canadensis
The Common Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae and is found throughout Europe, particularly western Europe and is the second most common bird in the UK.
Although it prefers woodland areas, Chaffinches are a common sight in gardens and on farmland. It has distinctive, large double white wing bars, white edges to the tail and a greenish rump. The breeding male has an even more distinctive reddish underbelly and grey cap. Females are less colourful and a bit greener.
Chaffinches mainly eat seeds, although they will eat insects during the breeding season and young birds are fed almost exclusively on insects.
Species: F. coelebs
The Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita, is a common and widespread leaf warbler which breeds in open woodlands throughout northern and temperate Europe and Asia. It is migratory and spends the winter months in southern and western Europe, southern Asia and north Africa.
The Chiffchaff is small and quite ‘rotund’ and is a greenish-brown above, fading with age, and off-white below. It gets its name from its song, which sounds like ‘chiffchaff’.
Chiffchaffs like insects and are said to require about one-third of their weight in insects on a daily basis. Cats like Chiffchaffs.
Species: P. collybita
Coots have predominantly black plumage and a distinctive white beak and ‘shield’ above the beak which earns it the title ‘bald’ – hence ‘bald as a coot’.
Its feet have lobed flaps of skin on the toes rather than webbed feet.
Coots eat vegetation, snails and insect larvae.
Cormorants are medium-to-large sea birds and there are numerous different species. Many species have areas of coloured skin on the face which can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow, often becoming more brightly coloured in the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes.
Cormorants are coastal rather than oceanic birds, although some have colonised inland waters such as lakes, reservoirs and gravel pits.
All are fish-eaters, small eels, fish, and even water snakes being on the menu. To catch their dinner they dive from the surface and after fishing, they go ashore and are frequently seen holding their wings out in the sun.
Curlews feed in muddy areas or very soft ground, probing for worms and other invertebrates with their very long bills.
Curlews eat worms, shellfish and shrimps.