Birds at Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park

The large duck pond is stocked with a variety of ducks and geese - both domestic and ornamental breeds.

We have three tame Canada Geese. These often attract their wild cousins to the pond. So, on some days, there will be a flock of around 120 Canada Geese on the pond. They also graze on Cardigan Island, so they can often be seen flying back and fore. Wild Shelducks, Teal, and Mallard also nest here.

The pond is also used as a large public bath by the seagulls that nest and roost on Cardigan Island. As they dive into the sea after fish, their feathers get covered in salt, so they come to the pond to wash it off. The gulls include lesser and greater black backed gulls, herring gulls, black headed gulls, kittiwakes and common gulls. Apart from the gulls, Cardigan Island is frequented by fulmars, cormorants, gannets, guillemots, razorbills and various terns.

There are also birds of prey to be seen around the farm park. Kestrels can be seen on the cliffs; peregrine falcons and sparrowhawks hovering above the fields searching for rabbits, voles and field-mice. If they spot something, they descend at great speed and are onto their prey in a flash!!

The largest and most majestic bird of prey to be seen here is the buzzard. It is often seen alone, standing silently on a telegraph post. Sometimes pairs of buzzards can be seen circling overhead mewling like cats. This gives the buzzard its Welsh name - "bwncath" - literally "sound of the cat". A local village, "Boncath", takes its name from the buzzard.

We also see choughs at the farm park. These attractive members of the crow family are very rare, with only about 150 pairs in the UK. There are none in England, apart from the few that have recently re-colonised Cornwall. We have 3 pairs in the wild at the farm park. They can be recognised by their red legs and long curved red beaks, which they use to dig 'leatherjackets' (the grubs of crane flies or daddy long-legs) out of the short cliff-top turf. This is their main diet. Therefore, when cliff-top pastures get too long, through absence of sheep, the choughs disappear. Hence their demise in England!

Choughs can also be recognised by their undulating flight over the cliff-tops and their distinctive "CHEOW!" call which gave them their original name - CHOW not CHOUGH!! Only the pronunciation has changed! They also have pronounced 'finger - like' feathers on their wing tips, as shown in this photograph.

You'll be really "choughed" if you spot these birds!


Skylarks are becoming increasingly rare in the United Kingdom. However they are abundant here. The chief reason is that several fields have been "set-aside" here over the last few years. These fields are not ploughed or cut before mid-summer. Therefore, ground nesting birds, such as skylarks, thrive. Anyone visiting during April, May and June should hear the beautiful, melodious song of the hovering skylark. It is often easier to hear this bird than to see it!

There are a whole host of other wild birds here. The best way to discover them is to pay us a visit, especially during the spring, when the birdsong is at its best.


Last updated 5/7/05 © Copyright Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park