Birds in Forest Hill


The type that go tweet, obviously.

Our move to Forest Hill over a year ago came with a lovely garden. And we have been enjoying the birdsong at dawn and dusk, as well as watching our feathered friends come down to feed (gorge) on our bird seed and peanuts. But other than those loud green parakeets, and the odd pigeon I have no idea what I’m looking at. I just can’t tell my tits from my swifts.

So can you all help me out? Can you identify, with a picture those birds commonly seen in Forest Hill? Can we create our own ornithology? Let’s make Audubon proud!

Wildlife [2016 edition]

I’ll start. Here are the wonderful green flashes I see in the treetops. Shame their sound isn’t as lovely as their plumage.


Here are the ones I see regularly in my garden:

Along with the more easily identifiable blackbirds, magpies, crows and robins.


The Bird HD app is great for identifying bird species.


Ah Wrens. I think those are the ones I see in abundance. They flit from the cover of my overgrown clematis to the bird feeder and back again. Lovely little things.


It’s easy to identify wrens by their hoppity bouncing flight, and the fact their little tails are always turned right up. They are also incredibly loud for their size.


seen quite a few nice birds in forest hill myself. Especially on the high street in the recent sunny days :wink:


Two fairly common ones not mentioned, though we only get Goldfinches if we have niger seed out.


Nuthatch - pretty much always upside down jumping around tree stumps


I guess useful for me as well would be how to attract some of these into the garden. Now I just buy a bog standard feeder wlith bog standard feed. Do some of these need special stuff?


My experience:

Firstly the squirrels eat everything, I got guardman dome protector for my feeder.

Woodpeckers have only ever had peanuts and fat in the half coconut shells. Same for nuthatches.

Goldfinches will only eat niger seed.

Sunflower seeds always seem popular.

Blackbirds and Robins generally only eat food on the ground.

Tits seem to eat pretty much anything.

I’ve seen it recommended to not provide full pea nuts, especially when there are young ones around.

It sometimes takes a few weeks for feeders to be discovered.

Those fat balls of various sizes seem to be loved by most birds.

The rspb site Rachael linked from has loads of info (and more educated info than mine).

A water table or pond will likely greatly increase the number of birds also.

Good luck!


outside the garden, but just down the road on the Pool River there are ducks, moorhen, kingfisher, a grey heron (hangs out by river near Bellingham Play Park) and yesterday saw a smaller heron type, a rather beautiful Little Egret, a comparative newcomer to UK, wading at the confluence of the Pool and the Ravensbourne.


What about swifts?
I had a chat today with the lovely Rebecca from the Forest Hill & Lewisham Borough Swift Group

I am planning to put a swift box on my house, as my street is a bit of a swift hotspot, but numbers are declining - often due to roof works & loft conversions destroying nesting sites. It’s really lovely seeing them all swooping around in the summer. A basic box is only £15 and then you need to fix it up just under the roof line.

You won’t get them on the bird feeder though - they eat flying insects!


And here is a useful chart to help you identify swifts / swallows / house martins:

Swifts don’t perch on phone wires etc as they are mainly on the wing.


Do you know which side they should be facing ? Is South too hot?


North, west or east facing walls are best as otherwise it can get too hot inside the boxes, however there are white painted boxes which can deflect the sun’s rays but these are a bit more expensive. Placing the boxes under the eaves helps shade them too.

Just to qualify I am not a swift expert! I am quoting from Rebecca’s guide - she has put a very comprehensive guide to swift boxes on her Facebook page.


Whereabouts are the parakeets round here then? Don’t think I have ever spotted any!


All the local parks are full of them. You’ll see them in gardens too depending on the trees you have. I see them stopping and passing go through my garden quite often. Before my cherry tree died they spent a lot of time in it, eating the leaves.


We have two very rall trees at the back of the garden and they flit between the two in the high branches.


What a great idea!
I have window feeders attached to my bedroom window and get lots of birds coming up to the window. It took a long time for them to know it was there - like 6 months. But now I can get to see them up close. We get robins coming, blue tits, great tits, parakeets, starlings, wood pigeons, jays, woodpeckers, goldfinches - it is a feast!

I have also seen on more than one occasion now red kites flying over my house. I was looking for the swifts and three red kites flew over!!!

Other birds in the garden I see are blackcaps and robins. I wish wish wish there were owls. House sparrows are also making a comeback.

And of course our - gorgeous swifts!


Yes the guide is now up on the groups Facebook page as well as a guide on the boxes available to buy. I wanted to put it up here but not sure how?