All the everyday birds such as robins and tits are present so only the more unusual birds are mentioned here.
The only large area of water in the district is Wooden Loch which is about 11 acres and is the haunt of many species of wildfowl. Geese and duck of all kinds visit there. Whooper swans were present for four years in the early 1960s and there were snow geese in 1966. The 1967 account also mentions great crested grebe and greylag geese.
There are great spotted woodpeckers in the area and are seen swinging on various bird nut holders.
In the 1990s buzzards are becoming more commonly sighted. In the early spring of 1998 there was an osprey on the Teviot at Kalemouth Bridge for a while and was seen taking a fish from the river. Kestrels and sparrow hawks are common sights. Tawny and barn owls are still about and a little owl was once seen at Kirkbank.
In the 1967 report it says that ‘over the Teviot the old heronry has disappeared since the felling of the trees and the kingfisher is a rare visitor now and does not appear to breed in the area.’ It does not say where the heronry was. There are still herons about and seen almost daily but no nests. There is better news about the kingfishers. While not common they are seen occasionally at the Kalemouth Bridge and all the way to Nisbet. Dippers are seen often on the Kale Water.
There are swans on the Teviot, both sides of the Kalemouth Bridge and they nest each year. Sometimes a spring flood will wash a nest away. One year, a female swan from one pair above the bridge took all the cygnets from the other pair below the bridge (the incident was witnessed) and ended up with twelve to look after! Winter visitors come to the Tevoit and stand on the fields at Crailing and Nisbet, along with flocks of geese.
In the 1960s mink seemed to be a huge problem in this area but this does not seem to be the case today although there are still mink about. There are ducks, moorhens and coots about.
Strangely, no cuckoos ever seem to nest in this area. They are never even heard.
Redpolls have been seen round the Wooden Loch and flocks of long tailed tits are seen occasionally.
The 1967 report notes the declining numbers of peewits. (lapwings)It says that thirty years previously there were flocks of thousands and there were nests galore in every field so that it was hardly possible to cross a field without stepping on a nest. Their absence was a great loss for with their grub-eating habits they were one of the best friends a farmer ever had. Nowadays a handful of peewits are seen occasionally but modern farming practices mean we will never see huge flocks again.
In the 1960s corncrakes were rare although they were common fifty years earlier. Now they are confined to a few in the Hebrides.
It was noted in 1966 that ‘in the last ten years, oyster catchers had come to breed.’ They are still about.
There are plenty of pheasants about, hand reared for shooting. A gamekeeper lives in Eckford but is now employed by the shoot, not by Buccleuch Estates. ‘Without the pheasant Eckford would seem a strange place and to the wanderer from home the nostalgic memory of sound brings back not only the skirl of the curlew and peewit but the craiking cry and whirr of wings as the pheasant flies to roost.’ The peewit and curlew are seldom heard these days.
Magpies are seldom if ever seen here but they are coming closer. There are magpies at Yetholm.
The animals are those common to a well wooded area. In1955 the disease myxomatosis spread quickly among the rabbits and almost wiped them out but they were already making a return by 1966. In the Kaim wood there was an increase in population in 1997 but in the winter of 1998-99 there has been another outbreak of myxie and only sick rabbits are seen.
There are stoats, weasels and foxes about. Moles put their soil heaps up everywhere. Hedgehogs are sometimes seen in gardens or more usually squashed on the road alongside a large number of pheasants. There are roe deer in the woods. Badgers live in the area and one of those was killed on the road near Starland in 1997.