Young birds and young minds

Nesting blue tit photographed at Clennon Lakes, Paignton

Nesting blue tit photographed at Clennon Lakes, Paignton - Credit: Groundwork South

The robin is on the hunt; stalking the volunteers as they dig over the soon-to-be-sown flower bed. 

In times past these small songbirds would have hopped along behind wild boar as they rooted and dug through the woodland soil, revealing worms and invertebrates the robins could feast on.

Nowadays it is the farmer, gardener and green spaces volunteer that is the turner-of-earth and source of lunch opportunities!

Finding food at this time of year has additional significance for birds as it provides the energy needed to build nests, defend territories and of course, feed newly-hatched chicks. 

Over the last three weeks a group of Year 6 students from Roselands Primary School in Paignton have been getting a unique view of nesting birds and their young, with help from Groundwork South and the Clennon Lakes Friends Group, as they monitor nest boxes around the site. 

Each visit brings anticipation and excitement in equal measure.

Mike, from Friends of Clennon Lakes, manoeuvres a ladder in to position ready to check a nest box

Mike, from Friends of Clennon Lakes, manoeuvres a ladder in to position ready to check a nest box - Credit: Groundwork South

Will the boxes have residents? Will any of the clutches of eggs have hatched yet? These questions and more buzz through the group as Mike from the Friends group, ascends the ladder to check the nest boxes. 

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The children exclaim with amazement at one photo of a puzzled blue tit looking up at the camera and then almost literally jump for joy as another images reveals young birds huddled in a fluffy nest, yellow beaks wide in anticipation of food. 

Young birds in one of the nest boxes

Young birds in one of the nest boxes - Credit: Groundwork South

Volunteers Jane and Geoff find themselves being asked all manner of questions about the nesting birds, as well as the many other young residents of Clennon Lakes that live on and around the water.  

Activities like this encourage young people to get involved with their local park or green space, to become part of a community taking action to care for our environment and to take action that directly address issues that affect them. 

Groundwork South works with schools to help them connect with community green space groups and the fantastic work they do in caring for green spaces across the Bay. For more information, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk