Informal live discussion show after the main Autumnwatch programme. Chris, Michaela and Martin are joined by wildlife film-maker Johnny Kingdom, who shares his videos.
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Are you want to know the difference between a beak and a bill? Do you
want to get involved in the show and tell us about your or autumn
experiences? If you do, you are in the right place. This is
Autumnwatch Unsprung! Of course, tonight with us, hidden behind the
audience, is Level-headed Jo. Communicate with us through the
ether. We have got our fabulous audience here. And amongst them, it
is going to be a beast of a show, we have that 72-year-old beast,
Johnny Kingdom. I think we should start off with some rather fabulous
photos, inspired by last week, with our live rock pool. Let's have a
look at the photos that you send in. This was a small, spotted cat to
shock, on the Gower peninsula, hiding under some seaweed. -- cat
shark. Why have they changed from calling it a dog fish? I have
absolutely no idea. They change the name of everything all the time. It
will depend on the size of the rock pool, whether it will be too big or
not. If it gets too big and it uses all of the oxygen, there could be
trouble. We have got another picture here, inspired by last week,
a sea urchin. Incredible bit of natural architecture. How does it
work? I think it extends itself, using those pieces at the top. It
pushes itself out of the protective part of the sea urchin, and it can
nibble away, using that bit in the centre. What does a sea urchin eat?
It nibbles on things like algae. Let's have a look at another
picture, this is a sparrowhawk. has been trying to grab a ton stone.
It says a lot about the tenacity of these birds, they're so ferocious,
even when a bird is flying over the sea, trying to get away from it, it
cannot do so. Now, last week we had a bit of a conundrum with the snipe.
Let's have a look at it again. We said we did not know why it was
bobbing. There is no mistaking that this is definitely a proactive
behaviour type. We have had several ideas sent in to us. Kirstie's dad
said he thought it might be to mimic the movement of the water, to
help their camouflage. We think this might be one reason why
dippers might dip and wagtails might wag. However, these birds
live in marshes, not alongside water. We do know that some birds
repeatedly stamped on the ground to disturbed insects. But not this one,
we do not think so. But here's a really good one. These two think
that because the snipe does not have binocular vision, his has its
eyes on the side of its head, that when it bobs up and down, it allows
it to get two vantage points from the same place, and developed
stereoscopic vision, so it can judge distances very well. I might
buy into that. Except that woodcock also have their eyes on the side of
their head, and they just do not bob up and down. But it might be a
feeding thing. I think that is the best idea we have had. Hats off to
those two. I'm just going to do something. I'm going to put that
stone there. Can we have some things? You will see why a we are
doing this later on. It looks a bit random! Would you like to come
round and do my Christmas decorations? We will come back to
that magic stone later. OK, quiz. We have here are three different
types of British bill. You have to let us know which bird would be
Send your answers into Jo and she will see if anyone can get this
right. Let's just see in the audience. Anyone? It is a tricky
one. I think A is the most tricky one. But B is quite difficult, too.
If none of you know, can you all just go, and we will bring the
other audience in?! We have a question from Facebook - does the
autumn spread across the country from one end to the other? The it
does, in fact. It goes from the north-east of the south-west. I'm
not quite sure how they judge this, but it is thought to take 80 days
to do that. That seems remarkable to me. -- 18 days. Of course, there
are so many factors involved. could have a beech tree which was
an unwise watery place, another one which is bone dry, completely
different. As a general trend, the answer is yes, but it varies from
year to year. Our next one is for you, it is from a 15-year-old,
Caroline. I liked this one, I have been taken to task by a 15-year-old
girl. I have that regularly, actually. But she has written to me
and said, we were talking about birds singing and as said that it
would be impossible for them to do that simply for pleasure, that
animals always do something for a reason. And she said, I will
condense it, she says they have a chemical in the brain which
produces a pleasure response. Michaela was saying earlier that
when she does exercise, it makes her feel good, for the same reason.
I do exercise and I feel...! She says this has been proven to be
found in the brains of birds. So could it be that when they sing
this chemical gets released, which provides them with pleasure, and
therefore they continue to sing? Interesting, I have to say,
Caroline. First of all, birds sing for a function, either to defend a
territory or to attract a mate. Secondly, there is an evolutionary
reason for this. Sometimes it is a development thing. They might be
singing to learn the soul from the adults or something. And then of
course, lastly, there is the whole reason why it starts in the first
place. I suppose I admire your idea, it is a useful one, but I don't
think they can sing just for pleasure. It is interesting that
singing might produce pleasure, which would enhance them to sing
more. But whether they actually feel joyful or not, what do you
think? There are some animals which do things just for pleasure. Do
they? That is what I have always thought. You have just don't go
huge pit for yourself. Are you saying no animals other than humans
do things for pleasure? No, I think there has to be a function behind
the pleasure. Even if the bird is feeling pleasure, there is a
functional reason for that. Whereas perhaps we would do something for
pleasure, like watch football, and there is no functional reason for
that whatsoever. Although speaking as a Southampton fan, and being top
of the Championship at the moment, I have got dopamine! Someone who
gets a great deal of pleasure about being in Exmoor is our guest for
I had better take a hat off. Good to see you, mate. Johnny has so
much passion full of life, and in particular, Exmoor, your home.
for a long time. I have got some questions here. This is from
another 15-year-old, Josh. He's thinking of going into wildlife
filming. He wants to ask Johnny, does he need to invest in
professional stuff or is it better to start small and build up? Start
small and build up would be the right way to do it. The main thing
is to get the right sort of dress. Honestly, I use a mask and gloves
and everything. It is important, when the sun shines on your face,
especially with the deer, they can see you. If I was that age, I would
think about asking a farmer, see if you can get on to a little bit of
ground, and build a hide. This is what I have done. Go and ask the
Farmer, there's a lot of nice farmers on Exmoor, they will let
you build a little hide. A small camera would be the right idea, but
it is the dress. This is a handy thing to have, something
interesting. Especially at this time of year, in October. If you
get something like this, this will attract some things. This will call
the stag up to you. The stag will come to you. Are you telling a 15-
year-old to hide in the bush? not? That's brilliant, isn't it?
That's a bad idea! What's this one? Wild boar. It is a fallow deer.
This man has got it right. He's so good. What about this one? It has
eyehole murder of blackbirds and thrushes, isn't it? A could be
right, I do not even know myself! had this done, those other calls,
especially this one... I will not tell you the name of the stag, I
knew him so well, for many years. Can I just say, if you are on half-
term next week, do not get one of those, I'm not sure that is a good
idea. But if you want a call the stag up, you would get some lovely
shots. You would. I would be straight down the shop if I was a
15-year-old to get one of those. Get some brilliant shots, then you
can make some really good films. That is the way I do it. A lovely
camera like that. A 20xzoom lens. Any important. And if you have got
any home movies, we would love to Right. We'll move on now. We're
going to my favourite part. Sorry, Johnny, that was my favourite part.
This is my second favourite part coming up soon. Questions now.
We ae had questions. This is one, this is something which comes up
again and again "Could you help me identify the difference between all
the blackbirds?" Let's start with the most common one. What we need
is somebody, a friend of Unsprung, Lloyd. Come on in, please. Help us
answer this question. It's our live animal in the studio. Fantastic.
Right, Lloyd, please tell us, what is this big blackbird A 16-year-old
carryian crow. The one that people have problems is what is the
difference between this and a rook. They are the same size? It is
confusing when they are juveniles. When they are adults, always this
crow has a lovely black head, feathered around his face. With the
Rooks they have a grey facial patch. And they tend to form large flocks
in a field. Crows tends to be individuals or small groups. If you
see a lot of crows together it is rooks.
There's a rook with the white face. Slightly ugly, I think. Look, this
is beautiful. They have a lovely blue sheen to their plumage. He has
it a little bit. He's quite big. reasonable size. That is crows and
rooks. In a minute you'll bring us another treat on. Yes. Shall I go?
That's a crow. We've done the rook. When a crow is flying they have a
rounded tail and the rook has a square-cut tail F you get one on
its own and it is soaring above you.... We have a picture. No, this
is slightly different. Here we have a crow, here, and on the other side
it was the largest of all the of them in the world. This is a raven
with a diamond-shaped tail. It has been brought on too early. Let's go
to a blackbird that is very common - this is the jackdaw. There's a
jackdaw. You can see, it has beautiful blue eyes and an almost
grey head. Where you see them, I have them all over my house. They
try and get in the chimney. Every year the chimney sweep has to get
them out. It is not poor old chimney sweep. They are quite
expensive. A much paler bird. I would like to say thank you to the
contribute ir. Yellow Welly sent the picture of the raven and Steve
the picture of the crow. We have done the crow, the rook, in big
groups. The jackdaw. What we want is the king, and by golli we've got
him. This is Bran. He's a raven and he's
enormous. He's seen something here. He's also seen it.
That stone I put in there. That is Bran's stone, isn't it? Yes. Go on
then. He knows there is a treat for him underneath. You clever birbd.
This is his stone. -- bird. This is his stone. The stone goes with us.
I hide it in various places. So he knows that is his stone? This is
not good enough, I am afraid. Help us with that original question.
How do you tell if it is a raven. He is enormous. By the size. He's a
larger bird and a lovely sort of diamond tail. Can you see that
diamond tail and the call. Very deep throated. When they open their
throat and call.... Ravens are much more common now in the UK. They
used to be very rare. Shall I tell you something else he can do. This
will show you how strong they are. Under here I have a, oh the food
has come.... Here you are, there's a two pound weight there. He knows
to turn that over. There we are. Good boy. Now, unfortunately the
food reward has come out of it, so I will give him something for doing
Now I'll turn it over. He did all that and there was nothing there.
That is two lbs. It shows how much strength he has in his neck to do
that. Oh, he's off! He was wrecking your Christmas
display there. He is forgiven. He's brilliant. Is he happy to sit there
for a while while we move on? likes to wander around. There could
be mayhem. We have done it. Stay here, mate.
If he gets upset. Do we have any questions for Lloyd?
Are there any questions? Is he the first one to build a nest? You are
right, they nest early. You are right. Threes weeks ago I saw 17
ravens on Exmoor. They are getting a lot of ravens around. When we see
a raven we think of the Tower of London because that is where it
originated from. That is the first bird to build a nest.
This one from Twitter, "Where's the best place to see ravens in the
UK?" There are very good places I believe up in Anglesey. A big roost
there. Generally around the UK, you would be surprised where they are.
In Somerset, Wiltshire, a lot around the Bristol area. You can
see them in the Avon Gorge and in city environments, they roost in
cathedrals. Even though they are bigger, sometimes to get your
perspective right, it is not easy. The call is a dead give away.
Have we time for the other question, from Janet Smith, she is watching a
small group of ravens in East Devon, one had a twig in its beak, it
transferred it from its beak to its feet - why? It was showing off and
showing how clever and agile it was in the sky. It could be looking for
a mate. It could be a juvenile young bird. Often they do these
things because they are fun. They do things because they can and its
a laugh. I think he wants to answer himself. Don't you poop on my map!
Yes, I'm talking to you! What about some photos?
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 41 seconds
They were outstanding. We never have time to show enough. There are
64,000 or something on the Flickr site. Any favourites, you harsh
man! I rather like this one, the reflection of the egret. I am
concerned about that bubble. This was spoiling everything for me.
This is mine, Stephen Darlington, for me, it is almost surreal, that
misty, that beauty. This is my favourite, I think it is amazing.
Gareth Scanlon. It is stunning that behaviour. It is. Don't start!
not very pretty. It's an interesting piece of behaviour, but
it is ugly. And the background is a bit of a mess.
Why don't we have a vote in the audience. Leaves up if you like
this one best? Leaves up for this one? Not very
many. Leaves up for my one. Or, more. Fivers later. Leavings up for
my one. What about this? This is one I
picked out. I think art has to have a place and this one is taken, it
was taken by Chris MCglogan. It is a piece of grass with a spider's
web on it. I like that. I would put it on my wall. You can. You can
take it home! The quiz. You hold that. A, the red
beak, B or C. Have we had any correct answers. 300 people have
had a go. Brad, Gym the Bird, they got them all.
The first was pretty tricky. Why don't we show you which bill this
bird belongs to. This is clever this. A bit, there
it goes. Yes, it's the chuff. And the second bird.
What is that voice behind me getting them all right?
I didn't notice before they had this notch on the lower part. I
think we have some film so some foraging here. They use their bill
to root around. Look at this one here. That blood-red bill, into
that crevice. The Welsh believe the chuff is the embodiment of King
Arthur, with the blood of his enemies on his beak and talons.
Vy to collar fi something from last week that you -- -- I have to
clarify something from last week. Which owl does the twit and which
does the twoo. The male does the twoo. The females are going "twit"
to the male. Sorry, but it's true!
Oh, hello! Right, do we have some questions here? We have James from
Facebook - why do badgers cover their nose while sleeping? The same
reason as dogs. Another area that would lose heat. It is not
insulated. If they are curled up, they hide their nose, foxes wrap
their tails around their nose, so do wolves. I am not sure you
answered that. He gave it a try. This one, "Getting more and more
blackbirds with black beaks and less and less with yellow, orangey
beaks." Someone reported a collection of blackbirds with black
beaks in the north of England. I have not seen one of these birds.
Why don't we throw that out to our viewers. If you have some, send us
in a photo and tell us where they are and come up with a theory as to
why this morph of blackbird seems to be working in those areas? I
suggestion it would not be as good as a yellow beak.
I think it is time to find out what is going on. It is half time for a
lot of people next week. So, what is going on in the map?
Put in your postcode and find things near you. Tomorrow, that is
Saturday, at Leeds museum, there's a discovery centre where they have
beastie beasts to see between 10- 12pm. On Sunday, at the centre,
there is a feed the birds event. You don't need to book. Finally if
you want to get up early on Sunday morning there is a goose breakfast,
which I think means watching them, rather than eating them, that is in
Autumnwatch Unsprung has light hearted post-show analysis, with nature quizzes, special guests and your wildlife questions answered.
Chris, Michaela and Martin are joined in the studio by wildlife film-maker Johnny Kingdom, who is sharing his videos. Post your questions for the team and get involved at bbc.co.uk/autumnwatch.