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Haith's foods attract a wide variety of garden birds

I counted them all landing

The past week has brought another mixture of mild weather, some colder days and plenty more rain.
The birds are eating apace and of course last weekend was the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which I took part in for probably the fifteenth year. I decided to do a test this year as you could do your count on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday and so I did an hour in the afternoon on the Friday, a count around late morning on the Saturday and then an early morning one on the Sunday with another one soon after midday. The weather was variable and the Sunday was the coldest of the three days and my highest number of birds was 44 on the Sunday morning, done when I had put out the supply of foodstuffs in addition to the feeders about 8.30 am. This count was 44 and did include 25 feral pigeons, which means that I had 19 other birds. The numbers on the other three counts completed were consistent at 34 birds each and the number of feral pigeons varied depending on whether it was a morning or an afternoon, as the numbers tend to be highest first thing in the morning and were mostly around 15 birds.

Last week I mentioned that I had redwings coming in the garden and I’m pleased to say that two of them were there for the count I submitted, my 44 bird total, although I have actually seen four together at one point. I caught one on camera this week too. Between them they have completely stripped the yellow holly berries from one bush and have now taken all the berries from another and are sharing the ivy berries with the blackbirds. With the weather set to turn much colder next week, even down here in Kent, I hope they have not eaten their food supply too early. From me though they will have of course suet squares, suet balls, a suet log, a peanut feeder, a seed feeder and other sorts of food put either down for ground feeding birds or in the bird table.

I’ve often said to myself though that the birds don’t always tend to appear when it’s the bird count weekend, which was another reason for me doing counts on various days. I usually have a good flock of starlings coming to my feeders, perhaps 10 or more, but the highest number on any of my counts was 7, with just 3 in my submitted one.

Other sightings this week have been, jackdaws, seagulls again, although just flying over the garden, blue tits, coal tits, great tits, sparrows, robins, a chaffinch, blackbirds, wood pigeons, collared doves, plus of course the redwings and the feral pigeons that I’ve already mentioned. I’ve not seen the woodpecker in the garden but sometimes if I’ve been working in my office room, so I’m at the front of the house, I would not be in sight of the feeders.

Last week I mentioned that the blackbirds must’ve been keeping an eye out on the food that was being put out and diving in and taking any scraps of meat. Well this week they’ve been doing the same but this time it was chopped apple. As far as I know the feral pigeons are not interested in the apple and it usually ends up being scattered everywhere, but the blackbirds have certainly been enjoying it. So with some cold weather next week it will be interesting to see which birds arrive as sometimes when it’s really cold some long tailed tits will come to the feeders. However, whatever the weather and whatever birds arrive, they are still giving me plenty of pleasure and amusement and I enjoy sharing their story via this blog.

Written Margaret Emerson

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