At home in glare of Sheffield’s thrush-hour traffic

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Life never slows for a busy bird on the go – just ask this speckled song thrush.

The little creature has guaranteed itself a bird’s eye view of rush-hour traffic – by setting up home in the amber light of a set of traffic signals on Waterthorpe Greenway in Sheffield.

It has even decorated its illuminated nest with a string of old green Christmas fairy lights.

“I couldn’t quite believe it when I first spotted it,” said Daryll Dawson, who noticed the nest near Crystal Peaks shopping centre where he works as a marketing manager.

“But then again, birds have been known to build their nests in all kinds of unusual locations – in car exhausts and on top of tractors.

“I suppose it’s the perfect spot really, as the light’s bay will ensure it is sheltered from the elements and it’ll be nice and warm from the light constantly turning on!

“You know what they say – it’s all about location, location, location.”

Daryll, aged 56, who considers himself a bit of a bird enthusiast, isn’t the only one to have noticed the little lodger.

Local bird enthusiast and retired photographer Peter Wolstenholme headed out to get some snaps of the nest after a friend called to tell him about it.

“The bird is certainly looking very settled up there,” said 78-year-old Peter, of Woodhouse.

“I assume there’s eggs in the nest, or at least there may be soon, as the bird was staying very close and popping away only to get bits of food.

“I got chatting with a road sweeper while I was there taking pictures, and he said he’d noticed it about a week earlier and had been keeping a watchful eye on it whenever he went past, to make sure nobody disturbed it.

“I’ve been doing the same – it seems the neighbourly thing to do.”

It isn’t known for sure if the bird is female or male, as both sexes look similar, with plain brown backs and black-spotted cream underparts.

The species is monogamous, and it is the male who establishes his breeding territory and sings to attract his mate.

But the traffic light is clearly the perfect setting – as the thrush is known for neat cup-shaped nests in all kinds of locations, which they usually line with mud before laying two to five speckled eggs. They can do this two or three times a year on average.

“Apparently the bird doesn’t know that song thrushes have moved from the ‘amber’ to the ‘red’ list of threatened species,” Peter joked. But it’s definitely not the first time we’ve heard of a bird laying an egg in a strange location.

“I remember once a thrush laying a nest in the engine of a rented van, and the van had to sit in the lot unused and losing money until the bird finally gave up the nest and flew away of its own accord.

“Of course we can’t blame them – I guess they’re having the same problems with housing shortages as the rest of us!”