Latin name: Emberiza citrinella

Length: 16.5cm

Where: Farmland and gardens

When: All year round; often come to garden feeders in hard weather

Yellowhammers are our sunniest birds. The male’s plumage is almost the lemon-skin yellow of the gorse where they often perch – perhaps for the camouflage it provides. They are birds of arable fields and fence lines, feeding almost exclusively on grass seeds and grains. Sadly, changes in farming practices mean that they are not the common sight they once were.

In autumn and winter you still sometimes see flocks of them milling around field gates, pecking at the spilt grain from the combine harvesters. In spring and summer they leave their flocks to find a mate and pair up. It’s then that the males take to the fence wires to mark out their territories with their unmistakeable song –‘a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheeeeeese.’

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Any natural place contains an infinite reservoir of information, and therefore the potential for inexhaustible new discoveries.

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods