Wildlife through the window: what readers have spotted during lockdown

Wildlife through the window: what readers have spotted during lockdown

We asked Guardian readers living in cities and towns across the world to share their images of the wildlife they can see from their homes. You answered in your droves, from Canada to Cardiff, and here are some of the best.

‘I had no idea muntjac were about in the middle of Birmingham’

A muntjac deer seen in Birmingham.

I’ve set up my desk against the bedroom window with a nice view into the back garden. I’ve been aware of foxes around before, thanks to the noise they make at night, but never expected to see them in broad daylight, which I have done several times now. More unexpected, however, was the lunchtime visit from a muntjac deer which I’m glad to have clear evidence of, as I might have taken it as a sign of cabin fever. I had no idea they were even about in the middle of Birmingham.

Nic Redhead, Birmingham

‘I have seen about 12 species of butterflies’

A comma butterfly spotted in a Leeds garden.

Overall, I have seen about 12 species of butterflies in my small, but sunny Leeds front garden, and this year I hope to see more. Last week a comma butterfly, fresh from hibernation, guarded my house for three sunny days. I also found a comatose bee on my doorstep. Transferred to a dandelion, it took 15 minutes to refuel and be on its way. I forget Covid-19 altogether when looking at insects and other natural things.

Rolf Farrell, Leeds

‘We are slowly getting “Chippy” to come closer to us’

'Chippy' the chipmunks, seen in Ontario, Canada

This chipmunk has made a burrow or den beneath the living room window and visits every day to collect peanuts that we put out for it on the porch. If we are late putting peanuts out, he/she often sits on top of the barbecue and looks in through the kitchen window to see if anyone is there. The picture was not taken from a window but from the open kitchen doorway. I had to lie on my stomach to get the ground level shot. We are slowly getting “Chippy” to come closer to us and hopefully he/she will come and take peanuts from our hand at some point.

Chris Heron, Ontario, Canada

‘The blue tits were intrigued by the sound of my camera shutter’

A Eurasian blue tit in Poznan, Poland.

I was in my kitchen, which overlooks a large sycamore tree in the yard, when I saw two Eurasian blue tits feeding on its seeds. I grabbed my camera and one of them just stared at me, intrigued by the sound of the shutter. Other trees are already in foliage but this one is a late bloomer for some reason, which is lucky because the leaves would have otherwise hidden the beauty of the moment.

Sergiusz Olejnik, Poznan, Poland

‘The squirrel’s visits brighten my day’

A bold squirrel enjoying nuts left out to tempt it, Munich.

Bavaria was the first German state to implement lockdown measures. Seeing nature awakening provides some consolation. From my balcony I can see a plum tree which was in full bloom a few weeks ago and attracts different types of birds (blackbirds, nuthatches, blue tits, robins and a woodpecker), as well as red and black European squirrels. One of these squirrels has gotten quite bold lately and started coming to my balcony when I put out some nuts for him (or her?). I will soon celebrate my 28th birthday under lockdown and his visits keep me company and brighten my day.

Anna Baccanti, Munich

‘The swans take full advantage of the pelican crossing’

No pelicans at the crossing so far ...

My wife and I live in the very heart of Cardiff. Across the road from us, on the banks of the Taff, resides a flock of pigeons, some ducks, four geese and a bevy of mute swans. Some of these swans seem to think that the grass is greener on our side of the road, and so like to take full advantage of the new pelican crossing which has been thoughtfully provided by Cardiff council. No pelicans have been sighted thus far, but we live in hope.

Emlyn Williams, Cardiff

‘A tree frog has started showing up for naps’

A brown tree frog enjoys a nap.

A brown tree frog showed up one day to sleep in our tillandsia (Spanish moss) and has since returned several days a week to nap in the same spot for the entire day before leaving in the evening to do what tree frogs do. It was incredible the first time I noticed it hanging there, sleeping, its eyes slightly opening when it sensed my presence. During periods when it doesn’t show up for several days I actually find myself missing it. The garden of our home is quite small, but in the two years we’ve been here I’ve managed to turn it into something of a microcosmic jungle here in our neighbourhood of Ekkamai in Bangkok.

Patrick Nagel, Bangkok, Thailand

‘A thump on the window was a sparrow hawk attacking a pigeon’

A sparrow hawk attempting to kill a pigeon. The pigeon survived.

Upon searching for the cause of a dull thump against one of our windows we discovered this sparrow hawk, just three yards from our window on our terrace. It was in the process of trying to kill its prey – a pigeon nearly its own size. After considerable struggle, the pigeon managed to escape behind a big stone. The hawk – pigeon feathers dangling at his claws – hung around for a while but then decided she had lost and went off. For the rest of the day the pigeon remained in hiding behind its stone. The next morning it was gone.

Anonymous, Groningen, Netherlands

‘An Anna’s hummingbird hovered outside my window’

An Anna's hummingbird in a tiny nest on a window hinge.

I’m widowed, retired, ninety years old, and spend my time reading, writing, talking and looking at the Guardian, waiting for the crisis to end. I live on the second floor of a seven-storied apartment building in Vancouver’s West End – the most densely populated neighbourhood in Canada, they say. I saw an Anna’s hummingbird hovering outside my bedroom window and then fly to its nest sitting on the upper hinge of the window. Two chicks hatched, but one disappeared, pushed out of the nest, perhaps? I saw the other fed from time to time by the adult and it survived to fly off two days ago leaving the perfectly-formed 4cm nest as a memento.

Leslie Buck, Vancouver, Canada

‘Watching the owls hunt is a real privilege’

A barn owl seen flying over fields in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Despite living in a residential street close to town, our garden backs onto fields which are normally used to produce hay. Since last year’s harvest the farmer has left the fields alone and they have quickly become a haven for wildlife, with foxes, roe deer, buzzards, a kestrel and barn owls making appearances. The latter have become regular visitors. Watching the skill with which they hunt is a real privilege, aided by the fact that they seem very happy to fly in broad daylight. We do sometimes feel like frauds when watching wildlife diaries at the end of David Attenborough, as they explain the trials and tribulations of capturing footage. We sit down with a cup of tea until the owl appears and then I change out of my dressing gown, nip down to the back fence and get some photos while it spends up to an hour hunting.

Andrew Lewis, Sevenoaks

‘I spend hours watching local wildlife’

A skittish squirrel in Hounslow.

I’m a 42-year-old art teacher and I’m taking time out from full time teaching to rediscover my own art practice. I’m currently printmaking my local landscapes. Every morning I get up and spend hours at my window watching local wildlife. It’s very therapeutic and calming. I see lots of different birds including a majestic pair of red kites that fly over every day. Cats prowl along roof tops along with skittish squirrels that run along the fences. I also perch myself up on my windowsill listening to the bird song … there is nothing quite like it. Always brings a smile to my face especially the chirping of a robin.

Manvit Bal, Hounslow

‘I spotted a flock of herons outside the shopping centre’

Herons attempting to shop for essentials in Copenhagen.

I was on my way to the supermarket and spotted a flock of herons sitting outside the entrance to a local shopping centre. Never seen them there before! Felt like a scene from I Am Legend. They didn’t move an inch when I walked past them but they were gone when I left the supermarket. They come from a park about half a mile away and my guess is that they went exploring because the streets and park were eerily empty. Or maybe even in search of food if they’re used to being fed by people going for a walk in the park?

Melanie Arendorf, Copenhagen, Denmark

‘This lizard reminded me of Jurassic Park’

A chameleon lurking on a window in Jakarta, Indonesia.

I have been working from home for the past three weeks, and during this time, I have consistently noticed wildlife slowly lurking into our inner realms. This lizard/chameleon was one that popped its head and part of the body in a manner that reminded me of a scene from the film Jurassic Park. The silence and controlled movements of human beings must have strengthened nature’s courage to reclaim their lost space.

Pramod Kanakath, Jakarta, Indonesia

‘I have more time to sit and observe the birds’

A wren gets ready for its close-up in Lancaster.

We live in a modern detached house with an average size garden. We dug up the lawn and ditched the flower beds about 10 years ago and planted UK native species, such as a field maple, whitebeam and rowan. The garden attracts many birds throughout the year. We have a small flock of sparrows which live in the hedge during the day. Goldfinches and starling visit in large numbers to feed at the bird feeders. We have a pair of dunnock, two robins and at least one wren. The wren is usually in the hedge away from the house but it conveniently paraded across the patio and over the boulders around the upper pond – hence the close up photographs. I do not think the lack of traffic during lockdown has encouraged more birds into the garden – however, I do have more time to sit and observe them.

Jet Harris, Lancaster

‘We were thrilled to spot this bobcat’

A bobcat visits a back garden rockery in Calgary, Canada.

We have recently been noticing “extra-largish” cat tracks crossing through our inner city property in Calgary (Alberta, Canada). And the other evening, we were thrilled to finally spot this magnificent bobcat strolling through our back alpine rock garden. By far, this was our most impressive “live” wildlife encounter here at home and we were grateful to have enjoyed the view from our dining room window.

David and Stephanie Ferguson, Calgary, Canada

‘Baboons come here every day’

A female chacma baboon pays a house visit in Cape Town, South Africa.

This picture shows a female chacma baboon. On the day I was taking a lockdown sanity nap when she appeared. She poops in front of the window – perhaps to mark her territory. This window was a point of entry once. Not sure if it was the same baboon, but she scored a bottle of almonds and some bananas on that day. Baboons come here every day. One of our neighbours blows a vuvuzela to warn us to close windows and doors.

Karien van der Westhuizen, Cape Town, South Africa

Some other great spots sent in by readers:

More readers' pictures


Bethany Skuce, Kenneth Newlands, Javier Anton, David Collins, Douglas Ball, Joseph Keogh, Robert Paisley, Benedikt Mandl, Pam Satterthwaite, Dolores McConachi, Rachel Burch, R. Stern, Anne Damrau, Kelly Hill, Rebecca Day, Gareth Gretton, Danilo Antonio Viana Lima, Kevin Bjorn O’Leary, Jose Babot, James Mallett, Tom Lunt, Ian Pugh, Alex Dockerty, Carrie Arnold, Delia Langstone, Jokubas Preiska, Jerome Arfi, Kelly Hill, Emily Robertson, Nick Ryder, Trevor Good

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