Guest blog: Wildlife expert Daniele Muir on the joys of winter bird watching

Wildlife guide, Daniele tells us a little about her lifelong love of nature, and the bird life she's seen from her garden

Daniele Muir: Yellowhammer

"A love of nature and the wild has been at the centre of my life for as long as I can remember. From the excitement of seeing my first ever Woodcock probing its long beak into the snow in the garden when I was nine years old, to the pleasure I get from observing the House sparrows noisily arguing while waiting in the Hazel hedge for their breakfast, the happiness and sense of peace that nature brings me hasn’t faded as I’ve grown older.

"It’s all gone now but the recent snow brought in a few extra visitors to my garden. I garden for wildlife, making sure most of the plants provide food or shelter for a variety of species to help them survive throughout the year. But when everything is hidden under thick snow, it makes finding food almost impossible for our garden birds. I usually put out food in the morning and am used to a tame Robin and Baby Speckles the Blackbird waiting for their 8am birdseed.

"I was especially pleased to see a Song thrush appear on the fence and follow me around the garden, seemingly impatient to be fed. Seeing it every day and knowing it had survived another cold day and night was a highlight of the cold weather and just yesterday I was pleased to hear a Song thrush singing from the chimney. Hopefully it was the same bird – a snow survivor!

"I also had a pair of Yellowhammers come in to feed, and their bright yellow colours cheered up the manky snow no end. If they had sung (but it’s a bit early for that), their Little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese melody would have taken me back to sunny summer days along the Angus coast."

Spring is just around the corner – hurrah! - and the birds are starting to sing a dawn chorus. I hope that spending a few minutes listening to them brings you as much joy as it brings me.

Written by Daniele Muir, founder of Perthshire Wildlife. Daniele has a professional background in Environmental and Countryside Management. With a degree in Environmental Science and a Masters in Sustainability, she has worked as a Wildlife Guide, Swift Conservation Project Officer, Scottish Dragonfly Officer and Countryside Ranger for the last twenty years. 

You can read our tips to help you observe or listen to birds when out walking.