Birds of the Canal

A number of different species of bird have adapted to life on the canal. Unlike plants and most water creatures, birds can exercise some degree of choice in the matter of where they wish to live. Nearer towns, Mallard has become the commonest of species, obviously thriving on the food that man provides. Swans are equally at home close to man, and raise large families within the limits of several canal towns. The species in question is the Mute Swan which has an orange bill. A little further out, Moorhens (also called Waterhens) are common. They have a very distinct call and can often be seen with young, hiding among the sedges and rushes at the water’s edge.

birdsKingfishers can be glimpsed occasionally, but fly so fast that all one is left with is a blur of orange and brilliant blue. In the proximity of the canal locks Grey Wagtails have found a congenial alternative home. They are obviously close cousins of the Pied Wagtail (or Willy Wagtail) of our towns and some individuals seem to have forsaken their natural habitat of swift flowing streams and rivers, with no apparent disadvantage.