Worcestershire Record No. 4 May 1998 p. 14

Wintering Blackcaps

By Harry Green

Lack (1986), in the BTO Atlas of Wintering Birds, states that between 1945 and 1954 an average of 22 records (for all Britain and Ireland) of wintering blackcaps appeared in county bird reports. Between 1970 and 1997 this had risen to 380 and a special BTO enquiry 1978-79 recorded at least 1,714 birds.

In his summary of reports of blackcaps wintering in England and Wales Leach (1981) gave the following figures for blackcaps reported from Worcestershire:

1945-1954	 2
1970-1977	21
1969-1970	 6
1978-1979	39
The Winter Atlas for the period 1980-84 showed wintering blackcaps to be widespread, extending throughout Britain and Ireland. At that time blackcaps appeared to be more frequent in cities, towns and villages than in the countryside. This may have been to lack of observers collecting records although cold spells did appear to drive birds towards gardens.

Since then the number of wintering blackcaps has undoubtedly increased and they have become familiar birds in gardens, often visiting feeding stations or foraging for insects round compost heaps or taking mistletoe berries - blackcaps appear to be omnivorous!


Lack, P (1986) The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser.
Leach, I H (1981) Wintering blackcaps in Britain and Ireland. Bird Study 28(1):5-14.

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