For years I always had dunnocks in my garden and they had youngevery year,

 however this year I have neither seen or heard any.

Is there a problem with them.


I have had this question posed to me.  I’m sure I have had dunnocks in the garden, but they are so timid and creep  about under cover of hedges that just take them for granted.

Have you seen any dunnocks about?   I  hope so.




  1. Fiona Mcpherson

    I live in central scotland and at the moment have two resident dunnocks. I have to confess I thought they were sparrows at first, then I thought they were female robins until I looked at internet images. I have a large hedge enclosing my garden which runs up to my kitchen window from where I get a really good view of them as they creep about under the hedge

  2. Caroline Allison

    I live in Nottingham and have 3 resident dunnocks, all of them are very active in my garden at most times of the day.

  3. m wright

    The original post was mine, however I am happy to say I appear to have got one back after a year. I hope it will be a pair for next .

  4. Trish Post author

    Really pleased you have got a dunnock back. And thanks for letting us know.

    Dunnocks are so small and shy I think it is easy to miss them.

    I live on a farm and we had someone from Natural England advising us on which bird food mix would be good on the farm for wild birds. Through the kitchen window we could see a lot of birds, but he did not recognise a dunnock!

    It’s great that you are trying to bring dunnocks back into your garden.

    The dunnock seems to love leaf letter and undergrowth. I mostly see dunnocks on the ground – I put a lot of bird food out in a caged feeder and have surrounded a shrub with a type of ‘fence’ so that larger birds cannot get in.

    The dunnock has a very thin bill and can only eat small things. I put out bird seed and they come to get that

    Do you put any bird food out? You must have a hedge and maybe some shrubs where they can ‘hide’

    I use Nature’s Feast High Energy Supreme. It is about £20 for a large bag! but it feeds so many garden birds that is is the only bird seed i put out.

    I put out other bird food though.

    thanks for getting in touch


  6. Iain

    Nearly every day I have seen a dunnock in our garden, either front or back. Very timid in appearance and attitude. Ground creeper below shrubs, have seen blackbird chasing it.

  7. Trish Post author

    Hi Iain,
    that’s a really good description of a dunnock – timid in appearance and attitude. I think that is why I overlook them. I’ve also seen larger birds ‘sending off’ smaller birds away from the bird food. It’s a fight for survival out there. Thanks for getting in touch and will write more later

  8. lady angelina goldsmith

    Yes I have notice that the dunnock pair are standing there ground wirh Mr Roo the robin affectionaly nicknamed by us. But saying that all our birds in the garden seem to have excepted each other and all visit and feed comfortable. One pair of Great Tits. One adult mail wagtail ( confirmed by photo by the RSPB ) One robin yes I can tell its the same one by the shape of his red breast . Contentental Robin its more orange than red ) Thats more likely because we are on the south coast. A pair of Dunnocks and a pair of Tree Sprarrows also a one Song Thrush and a one pair of Blackbirds not forgetting a Sparrow Hawk who visits now and again, pigeons,and seagulls.

  9. Lois

    Hello Trisha,
    A couple of days ago, for the first time since Spring, I have noticed two Dunnocks feeding under trees at the back of my garden. I think they may have a nest in one of my trees, since I don’t see them fly away, only back into the same tree. If so, they are sharing the tree with six male Chaffinches and three females Chaffinches! I’m in Wolverhampton.

  10. Trish Post author

    I’ve seen one or two dunnocks over the past few days. I’ve just re-read Angelina and Lois’s notes and they are really interesting. Angelina, I am like you and feel I ‘know’ some of the birds. Today i saw a robin being scared away from the food by sparrows. The robin kept coming back though. What a lovely name for a robin – Mr Roo. It’s right as well that all the birds in the garden accept each other. they may squabble over bird food, but they mostly get on. You seem very knowledgeable about birds and have a lot visiting. Lucky you

    Lois, You wouldn’t think the timid dunnock would share a tree with noisy chaffinches would you? Wolverhampton must be a good place for Chaffinches!

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