Learn how storm Arwen affected the birds in Margarets garden

A job to keep up

The past week has brought some very cold weather and also Storm Arwen.
The birds seem to cope very well with the blustery conditions which in Kent weren’t as bad as in some areas across the country. Landing conditions were certainly a bit tricky for the birds and the feral pigeons were huddling together on the sheltered side of my roof.

At least two squirrels are still coming to the garden most days and eating the peanuts and burying some of them in my vegetable plot. Perhaps they think I need to grow peanuts next year. They launch themselves at the dead tree where I hang many of my feeders, which is quite comical in itself, especially when the second one arrives and runs up the trunk and wants the other one to move out of the way. The birds who have gathered usually disappear.

Food consumption has certainly increased due to the cold weather although the last couple of days have been milder again with the chill returning today. I’ve had a job to keep up with replenishing the feeders and suet squares, either early in the morning, around midday or late in the day ready for the next day of feeding. The meal worms have been going down very quickly which makes it difficult for me to assess how much I need to order for the next couple of months.

The peanuts are also going down rapidly both as a result of the squirrels but also the feral pigeons and jackdaws. I now have three or four pigeons who know how to flip the lid on the feeder and help themselves to the peanuts. Often I find that one pigeon will flip the lid open and another will take the opportunity to sit beside it and also help itself via the easy route.

The wood pigeon and I think there has been a second one on occasions, has now stripped almost all the yellow berries from one holly and has made a start on the traditional red holly. I’m hoping that if we do have some cold weather later in the winter that they will have left enough for any red wings or other birds that come looking for food.

One sighting a couple of days ago, which is a bird I’ve not seen for several months in the garden, was a little wren hopping about on the patio nearest the house and then off into the flowerbed.

At least one magpie has been coming most days usually early on in the morning and if I look out the window at the right time, I’ll see the crows. They are still doing the routine of coming early in the morning and then possibly towards dusk. Other larger birds include the jackdaws as I have already mentioned, who were coming several times a day when it was cold. I make sure in the afternoon that when most of the birds such as the feral pigeons and the starlings have left for the day, I put out some extra mealworms and seed scattered about for the blackbirds or the robins. Even with the cold weather there has still been plenty of bathing going on and several starlings had a bath this morning and then sat in my cobnut to dry off in the sunshine and they star in my photo this time.

Yet again this week there’s been no sign of a fox in the garden and no sign of insect activity that I have spotted.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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