Blackbirds sitting around in gardens waiting for Haith's Bird Foods

Just sitting around

There’s been a lot of bird activity in the garden this week with a pair of black birds coming and going at various times of the day, starlings making frequent visits to one or other of the feeders as well as the sparrows, who are going around in their little flock often carrying nesting materials.
I see the robin quite often and possibly a few dunnocks. Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my dining room while on a phone call to a friend and was looking out the window when I saw a smallish fox come into the flowerbed and start digging. It then caught sight of me and disappeared off down the garden. This was about 5 o’clock in the afternoon and so it certainly was not out for a nocturnal hunt.

The birds have been making use of the new bird bath saucer as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs and yesterday afternoon, a goldfinch came and took a drink with its mate, presumably, sitting alongside on the grass before they both went off together. The starlings and magpies are making use of it as well, but I’m still yet to see the feral pigeons taking a bath in it as I mentioned in my previous blog.

The blue tits and great tits are making good use of the suet logs and some of the starlings have been in competition to get on the log for a tasty snack. The wood pigeons are generally coming in threes and fours and I think there is a little bit of competition for one of the females, as two males seem to be following her around from tree, to fence, to a house roof and back again. That aside, they often spend quite a bit of time sitting and contemplating the world from either the top of my fence or the neighbour’s and my picture this week is one of the wood pigeons sitting on my trellis fence lost in its thoughts. The jackdaws seem to be down to about four in number as regular visitors and I’ve not seen this past week, so much of either the crows or the seagulls.

It has to be said that I’m not seeing as many feral pigeons as I would normally expect, but there have been a few new customers, if I can put it that way, amongst the group. A few days have been blustery and so landing conditions have been tricky. Some people regard them as a pest and of course they were not a natural bird to the country as far as that goes, but comments that some people have made on local social media groups asking about how they can remove them from their roof, because they waking them up early in the morning, did not impress me. I think it is only because we have taken away so much habitat for birds and other wildlife too, including the loss of gardens to car parking, that we are seeing much more of them in urban and semi-urban settings. Probably in lockdown there is also not so much food waste in the town centre and certainly not so many people either to drop it.

One thing I’m trying to do in my garden this year more than usual, is to try and attract bees and other insects by planting more of the right sort of plants. My garden in the last couple of years has had something of a renaissance having been badly overgrown with brambles, bindweed and other weeds in the flower beds. It’s been progressively tidied over the last two years but then I was aware that perhaps I had taken away some of the plantings that the birds and insects would enjoy. I would often see bees in the bindweed flowers for example. Much of my front garden is still to be properly tidied and as it’s on a steep bank, I’m going to leave a lot of the shrubs as is with just some pruning and try to plant at the top of the bank with some wild flowers or meadow seeds. The great tits were looking for bugs and insects on my roses yesterday and it reminded me of the year before when I had a honeysuckle which had grown up through a rose and they had both cover and rich pickings of whatever they were looking for. The sparrows also used to feed there and I almost feel bad for having removed the honeysuckle, but a new garden wall had to built. I did salvage two roots of the plant though last year and they will be going to a new home in the garden shortly.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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