A British Garden Bird Quiz – The Answers and a Request for Advice.

Dear Readers, very shortly we will get onto the answers to the quiz, but firstly I need some advice.

What you see in the photo above are not two Jamaican ginger cakes with mould on them, but two Christmas presents. Each one is a bar of compost already loaded with bee and butterfly seeds:  scabious and valerian, hyssop and lavender, verbena and thyme. They have exploded into life in my sunny south-facing window with great enthusiasm, and I am watering them gently and turning them round and, I confess, talking to them (such are the perils of lockdown). However, I am not sure at what point I should be repotting them. The advice that came with them suggested that they should be potted on when they have four leaves, but I’m assuming that it meant four proper leaves, not the baby ones that they all seem to have at the moment. How do you judge when they are big enough to pot on? If I do it too soon I fear that they will be too delicate, but if I do it too late their growth will be stunted.

Oh the responsibility! My Dad would have known what to do: even after he had dementia he was still ordering them all about in the nursing home garden. Sadly i think he is now too busy having a gin and tonic in the garden with Mum to attend to my pleas, so I am turning to you lot instead – you feel like family to me, after all. So let me know what you would do. I’m thinking that they’ll probably need potted on twice before they’re strong enough for my slug-infested garden? Please assume that I know next to nothing, and you won’t be far wrong.

Anyway. Back to the quiz.And the winners, with a stunning 24 out of 26, are Fran and Bobby Freelove – very well done! And a hearty hug to Alittlebitoutoffocus and Joanna Smith, who both got 19 out of 21 on the photos, but Alittlebitoutoffocus just nudged ahead on the bird calls. Thanks also to Gibson Square for a very respectable score of 14, and to sllgatsby for making me laugh.

Was it fun? I apologise to my non-UK readers, maybe I’ll knock together a North American quiz at some point in the future but I fear that unless you’d like Bornean or Costa Rican birds from my recent trips, folk in other countries might be out of luck for the time being. There are lots of other quiz possibilities though – plants spring to mind and I could definitely do a quiz on frogs. All suggestions welcome.


So, here are the answers.

One – Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Two – Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Three – European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Four – Great Tit (Parus major)

Five – Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Six – House sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Seven – Rose-ringed parakeet (also known as ring-necked parakeet) (Psittacula krameri)

Eight – Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

Nine – European blackbird (female) ( Turdus merula)

Ten – Female chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Eleven – Woodpigeon (Calumba palumbus)

Twelve – Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

Thirteen – Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Fourteen – Magpie (Pica pica)

Fifteen – Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Sixteen – Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

Seventeen – Pied wagtail (Motacilla alba)

Eighteen – Greater spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Nineteen – Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Twenty – Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Twenty One – Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

And for bonus points, see if you can identify these: all the birds are pictured above.

22. Wren

23. Blackbird

24. Sparrowhawk

25. Jackdaw and wrens

26 – Blue tit

How did you all get on? Let me know if it was fun, and maybe I’ll do some more.








20 thoughts on “A British Garden Bird Quiz – The Answers and a Request for Advice.

  1. sllgatsby

    I feel pretty good that I got 7.5 answers right. And I’m very impressed that you can grow pollinator-friendly plants in a giant Bourbon biscuit!

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Great quiz! (And thanks for the honourable mention! 😊) I’m afraid I cannot help on the gardening question though. You may be able to help me resolve a long-standing puzzle we have with a ‘tree’ (more like a large bush) in our garden. We have no idea what it is. (I may send you some pics separately).

  3. Gail

    I loved the quiz! It was fun and it made me think. About three of the pictures made me go off and look up answers, which is a good thing. I’m afraid that I’m still trying to develop my ear. I can recognise the appearances of many British birds now, but I struggle so much with identifying them by their calls, I just can’t retain the link between the sounds and the bird. Thank you and I’d enjoy another very much.

    1. Bug Woman

      I know what you mean about identifying the bird calls, it’s so hard! But I can usually tell about ten species now so I’m learning….

  4. Joanna Smith

    Thank you so much for the mention, the quiz was great fun – I am kicking myself for getting Siskin wrong – I used to get them a lot in my garden and never see them now. Very pleased with my score though, would love another quiz.
    Sorry I can’t help with gardening question, my Dad would have known what to do as well. Xx

  5. Fran & Bobby Freelove

    Yes we enjoyed the quiz too. We go off bird watching every day, luckily it’s very quiet (people wise) where we go. Our best investment definitely was to buy ourselves decent binoculars. We’re still not expert on the bird calls but we’re certainly much better, two of our favourites are the Yellowhammers and the Skylarks.

  6. Alyson

    Hi – As for your seedlings, just wait until you have 4 visible leaves as well as the seed leaves before transplanting. They have to be able to be handled. A small stick helps. Good luck with them.

  7. FEARN

    The rule is: when you can see some root emerge (from underneath) then it is time to pot up. Are you able to peek underneath without the brick crumbling?

  8. tonytomeo

    I would have eaten those ginger cakes and saved you the bother of trying to figure them out now. Those seedlings will not be ready for transplant for quite a while. I would let them get four ‘proper’ leaves on them, not counting the cotyledons or really dinky leaves. In fact, I would let the four proper leaves mature a bit, even if more leaves are developing above them by that time, before disturbing them too much. I would not be too concerned about them getting too big until they start to crowd each other. However, I would not keep them too sheltered either. Otherwise, they will not do well when moved outside. I am sorry that I do not know how those things work. Will they be broken or cut apart when planted, or just planted in a group?

  9. Sarah

    I got all the photos, except for the song thrush (and only missed that one as he/she is facing the wrong way). However the only sound clip I got was the jackdaw. Even though I am very familiar with all those birds. I am ashamed of my failure to retain bird song in my head – do you have any tips for learning?

    1. Bug Woman

      Hi Sarah, I’m not perfect meself, but I might do a few quizzes on bird sounds so we can practice. Mnemonics help – I can remember the Great tit because it sounds like ‘teacher, teacher’ for example.

      1. Sarah

        Please do more song quizzes! I have listened to several teach-yourself-birdsong things recently but can never hold them in my head without some human help – the great tit is one I can always spot for the same reason. And a blackcap as my brother-in-law once did a spot-on impression, and that somehow fixed it in my mind.

      2. Bug Woman

        Okey Dokey, let’s see what I can rustle up….I’m kind of curious to see how much I can learn as well. And it’s such a good time for birdsong, in the UK at least…

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