June 16th   Leave a comment

I had to read the Handbook of the Birds of the Western Palearctic entry for corn buntings today for some reassurance. I know corn buntings are late breeders but I am losing my nerve as we move into the second half of June with no chicks being fed in a nest yet. The text was reassuring – Cornwall and Sutherland, nests starting mid-June to July; England, an average start day of May 25th. Split the difference and throw in the two week late season then we have corn buntings in Fife this year on nests just now, with the earliest chicks hatching in a week or two. And I am seeing pairs in many territories mate guarding, male sitting idle in others as if they have a female on the nest, and even many territories where it looks like the male have just started. But with the skylarks feeding chicks, and even some fledged, young linnets and starlings everywhere, it still seems too late.

The closest I have got so far to a corn bunting feeding chicks this year – I am not sure why it is carrying this little grass seed head. Too small for a chick feed and not great for nest building. It carried it into a barley field and disappeared – perhaps just a snack for itself between incubation sessions.

Posted June 16, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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