As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Rare bird hatches out in Exeter hanging basket

By EdOldfield  |  Posted: July 19, 2016

A rare bird has hatched out in a hanging basket next to a front door near Exeter.

Claire Willacy noticed a pair of spotted flycatchers nesting among the fuschias and surfinias outside her four-bedroom semi in Broadclyst.

And the bird family is now involved in a pioneering project using the latest technology which is trying to solve the mystery of why the numbers of the summer visitors have dramatically fallen in recent years.

A week ago two of the three original eggs hatched. One of the babies died but the survivor, which started life the size of a thumbnail, is growing fast.

Yesterday researchers from the bird charity the RSPB fitted one of the adults bird with a data logger, so they will be able to gather information about where it ends up.

This is the first year of the Spotted Flycatcher Tracking Project, jointly funded by the RSPB, the British Trust for Ornithology and Devon Birds.

Spotted flycatchers are on a red list of endangered species, with figures showing a huge decline in numbers in recent years, with numbers dropping by half in the last 25 years.

The birds are summer visitors to the UK where they breed, then start heading south from August to spend the winter in Africa, some flying as far as the south of the continent.

They eat flying insects, mainly flies, wasps and bees.

Mrs Willacy, who has named the baby bird Hope, said it was the first time she had noticed the species in the area.

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