People have been keenly observing bird life in The Regent's Park since the middle of the 19th century. The Regent's Park boasts an impressive list of at least 200 species and an annual list of around 114 species. This is all the more impressive given its location in the very heart of London.
- Take a short bird walk around Regent's Park and find out about the types of birds you are likely to encounter.
The park consists of formal gardens, shrubberies, sports pitches, rough grassland, a large lake with several reed beds and islands, a small, enclosed wood and a canal with embankments. These areas can offer food and nest sites for the 47 park resident and summer visiting species. Mature trees provide nest sites for species like Tawny Owl, Green Woodpecker and Kestrel and secluded shrubbery provide nesting opportunities for tits, Robins, Blackbirds and other small birds.
There is a noticeable movement of birds flying from south-west to north-east in the spring, and in the opposite direction in the autumn. These are migrant birds following the larger green spaces across London, namely:
- Richmond Park
- The London Wetland Centre in Barnes
- Hyde Park
- The Regent's Park
- Hampstead Heath
- Alexandra Palace.
These sites allow the birds to connect between the large water bodies to the south west of London and the Lea Valley to the north-east. These green spaces enable birds to feed en route or seek shelter in bad weather.
The Regent's Park offers a sanctuary to many passage migrants and winter visitors. The open grasslands are great places to observe, amongst others, Redwing, Mistle Thrush and Pied Wagtail. In spring, migrant warblers arrive to breed - Reed Warblers can be heard chattering from the reed beds around the lake and the melodious song of the Blackcap can be heard from the trees.
One of our special birds to look out for is the spectacular Peregrine Falcon, a pair of which has nested on a building close to the edge of the park since 2003. With some help from Royal Parks Wildlife Officers (who twice rescued chicks) they managed to successfully rear two young in 2004. This was the first successful Peregrine nest in central London.
By the boating lake there is a spectacular Heronry with over 20 nesting pairs each year. The Heronry is one of the largest Grey Heron colonies in London and one of the closest to a city centre in the whole of Europe; less than a mile from Oxford Street.