The Chilterns provide a haven for returning summer migrants as well as a variety of good year round habitats for British birds.
In May the house martins return to the Chilterns from Africa. Like the swifts and swallows they loyally return to the very same nest provided it is left undisturbed.
Recent years have witnessed a comeback for the raptors in the Chilterns. Everyone’s familiar with the success of the red kite reintroduction programme. Less is heard about the buzzards which are increasingly sighted over the highest and more remote hills. These larger birds of prey are far more elusive than the kites; in fact you’re more likely to hear their eery call and only glimpse thenm from afar.
The kites on the other hand just seem to love the towns and villages of the Chilterns. Its not unusual to see half a dozen red kites simultaneously wheeling over Princes Risborough. In flight they are easily distinguished by the forked shape of their tails.
Kestrels and sparrowhawks also do very well in the Chilterns.
Ridgeway walkers will note the prevalence of ravens and skylarks in several locations.
The beechwoods of the Chiltern Hills offer a good habitat for green woodpeckers by day and tawny owls by night. Around sunset you may be lucky enough to see the barn owl. The dawn chorus is worth getting up early for and in springtime the returning cuckoo is always a welcome sound.