At last we seem to be getting to see a few signs of the coming of spring. I noticed today that the colours on some yellowhammers that I have been recently watching are becoming a more vibrant yellow as they get a bit closer to their breeding season. The yellowhammer is a bird which has declined greatly over the last number of years and is now mainly found in the east and southeast of the country. It is on a conservation "Red List" which means it has declined in breeding numbers by at least 50% over the last 25 years. It is very reliant on arable crops such as barley, wheat and oats, and as a lot of these are now pretreated with pesticides it makes it harder for the yellowhammer to survive. They were briefly joined by a robin who had a decidedly shifty look in his eye as he was intruding into a neighbouring robins territory and knew that he would be soon evicted. Even a lone rook that came to join was looking splendid with a lovely navy/black sheen on his feathers. I have heard it said that many a georgous bird ruined herself by having a dirty mouth. I don`t think that it was the Rook that was being spoken about. Was it?
The first picture is of a Yellowhammer taken three weeks ago. All the others were taken this morning.
The males are definitely becoming a better shade of yellow.