For those who do not know, the Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is a small warbler that breeds in Europe in the Summer and winters in north Africa, it is a pleasant warm buff colour with hints of yellow and green but is most distinctive in it’s song which as it’s name spells out goes something like ‘chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff-chiff-chiff-chaff’ etc. This leaf warbler is a widespread bird in woodlands in spring; it nests on or close to the ground and the female is left to do most of the childcare, it’s repetitive song is heard so often at that time of year that it can get slightly annoying to say the least. But despite it’s size this is an adaptable bird, as shown by it’s relatively recent adoption of new behaviour in response to the changing climate – many birds now overwinter in Britain and the rest of Europe rather than returning to Africa.

I myself have seen and heard Chiffchaffs in my garden this September searching for insects amongst the leaves, these individuals will either be birds from further north making their way to the coast or birds that are seeking a suitable place to pitch up for the winter. The mysteries of migration still puzzle us and one wonders how it is possible for the instinct to migrate to be suppressed – how can the birds very genetics be altered so rapidly to accommodate new behaviour? Well one thing is clear, despite humans still being skeptical and disbelieving of climate change – the other organisms that share our planet have not failed to notice the temperature changes and are trying to adapt as we speak.

(Picture credited to