The North Pennines is a wonderful place for birds. In spring and summer the moors, pastures and woodlands are alive with their songs and displays. Even in the depths of winter, hardy species like the red grouse can still easily be seen.
The landscape of the North Pennines is composed of an intricate mix of semi-natural habitats, all of which support their own special groups of birds. Many species range over a number of different habitats and are dependent on the presence of different habitats in close proximity. However, groups of species are characteristic of each different habitat type and this can be a useful way of considering them:
- Birds of the high moors
- Black grouse
- Grassland birds
- Woodland birds
- Birds of rivers and streams
- Birds of scrub, scree and crag
- Birds of open water
Birds are very vulnerable to disturbance, especially during the breeding season. It is all too easy to inadvertently harm a bird or its young while trying to see them. For example, if an adult bird is prevented from returning to its nest, eggs or chicks may quickly chill and die. Straying from a footpath towards a nest site may also leave a scent trail that a predator is later able to follow.