Posted by: Ross Gardner | February 7, 2021

The tenacity of small things

A snowbound Pound Wood nature reserve

Snow comes to the South-east of England, with the promise of sub-zero temperatures for the days ahead and I find myself freshly fascinated by one small bird. This small birds is, in fact our (and Europe’s) most diminutive; the goldcrest is on average a shade more slight that the closely kin, firecrest.

The fascination in this instance stems from the bird’s eating habits. With probably more than a million goldcrest resident in the UK, plus many more that come here to winter, it enjoys a fairly numerous presence in this country. And while a realise that the British winter, especially down south, is a good deal milder than elsewhere in Europe, I still find it rather impressive of such a tiny bird, that it is resolutely insectivorous. A couple of our summer migrant warblers, namely the chiffchaff and blackcap who share a similar dietary predilection to the goldcrest, remain in the south of the UK for the winter, but both these birds will turn to fruit to tide them over through the tough times. Yet the goldcrest sticks to its guns.

Herein lies the tenacity of small things.

The decidedly diminutve goldcrest (Regulus regulus)


  1. […] icy shifts in the weather ask questions of our winter wildlife, as alluded to in the previous post (and a few winters back my parents had a woodcock spend the day in their back garden, something to […]

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