REDSTART: I was excited to get good views of a male Redstart at the weekend. I don’t often see them around Otley, and numbers generally in England have declined by 55% in the past 25 years. Back from his winter home in central Africa, he must have felt a severe contrast in temperature. Redstarts are one of those birds whose parenting services are borrowed by Cuckoos. However, a study found that rather than suffering from the presence of a large Cuckoo in the nest, the Redstart chicks actually benefited from the raised temperature. Both male and female have a restless rusty red tail – “stert” was the old English word for tail. The male also has striking black, white and slate-grey contrasting with further red on his breast.
By Neil Griffin Photo by Pixabay