Frosty mornings and hungry birds

Frosty mornings and hungry birds

The last couple of mornings have brought a white ground frost to my back garden and the birds have certainly been pretty hungry this week.
They have generally disappeared for the day by by 3:30 pm as far as the feral pigeons are concerned at least, but the collared doves arrive later in the afternoon and have a little bit of food before disappearing for the night, sometimes to the annoyance of the sparrows who are having a late snack at the seed feeder.

The jackdaws have also been around but I have noticed that although they are coming on the suet square and fat balls, they are tending to eat more from the bird table and ground at the moment. The sparrows have been quite busy early and late in the day massing on the seed feeder and in the holly bushes. Although most of the birds have disappeared before sunset, the other evening a robin was still at the bird table at almost 5.30 pm, when to most eyes it was dark. I don’t know if it was being fooled by lights from my house.

At least one of the starling group is regularly using the seed tray bird bath which is usually used by the feral pigeons. A comic scene occurred this afternoon as a starling was in the tray having a bath and a feral pigeon wandered over and looked as much to say ‘ I want a drink’ but the starling carried on bathing, then hopped out and the pigeon climbed in for a drink, but at the same time the starling decided to return for more bathing. Everything ended very amicably though.

The autumn colours are probably at or even passing their peak now. I have three holly bushes smothered with berries which I’m sure the birds will soon use as a food source as things become colder. My picture this week is one of these bushes and as you can see it’s loaded with berries.

I’ve seen no sign of the wood pigeons again this week or the woodpecker, to my knowledge, but as I mentioned the feral pigeons as well as jackdaws, starlings, sparrows and the blackbirds are certainly around in the garden a lot. I used to have one or two magpies but I haven’t seen any in my garden for many months but they are in neighbouring gardens and trees. There is either too much competition at my feeders and bird table or the neighbours have something out that they prefer. I’m sure things will change once it turns much colder and food is in shorter supply. Crows have not actually been in my garden for some time either but I have seen a few flying round and about so I’m sure they’ll take advantage of the food at some point. On some of the drier and brighter days this week the squirrel has been busy burying more food in the garden.

As I’m writing this on bonfire night and we might say the rhyme remember, remember the 5th of November, I think it’s now the case as it’s turning colder of remember, remember the birds in the garden.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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