TOO EARLY FOR TH­ESE TO NEST?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

Dur­ing some bird­ing in a lo­cal na­ture re­serve in early Jan­uary, I was as­tounded to see a Great Crested Grebe swim over to what looked like a nest, then un­cover three eggs and set­tle down to in­cu­bate. This was one of the res­i­dent pair on the pond, who I’ve been keep­ing tabs on since last sum­mer, when I was glad to see them raise four young. How un­usual is it for th­ese birds to be nest­ing so early? The re­serve is in a sub­ur­ban area (on the out­skirts of Brus­sels, Bel­gium). Ali­cia Mot­tur, via email

QAt the time you saw this, it was in­deed early in the year for Great Crested Grebes to be nest­ing and in­cu­bat­ing eggs. Usu­ally the species be­gins its breed­ing sea­son in Fe­bru­ary at the ear­li­est, but as you say, the warmer tem­per­a­tures in ur­ban and sub­ur­ban ar­eas can lead to some species breed­ing ear­lier than they would oth­er­wise. We’re as­sum­ing that Bel­gium has ex­pe­ri­enced a warmer than av­er­age win­ter, just as we have in the UK, and that in turn would con­trib­ute to an early breed­ing sea­son.

AGreat Crested Grebes

Have you got a ques­tion about bird ID or any other bird-re­lated ques­tions ? Email your ques­tion to bird­watch­ing@ bauer­me­dia.co.uk

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