Wildlife garden behavour

Modified behaviour

The past week has brought very hot weather to much of the country and Kent has been no exception.

I have still seen plenty of birds in the garden, but they have modified their behaviour on the really hot days. In the morning there is the usual mix of birds from the blackbirds hopping about including at least one youngster, the starlings and sparrows on the feeders, the collared doves and a selection of feral pigeons. The birds generally disappear by about 10 o’clock, although the odd hardy individual will still be seen, and then they reappear after about 3 or 4 o’clock and are obviously staying quite late into the evening.

Having said they stay late into the evening, that is also weather dependant and on Tuesday we had a prolonged thunderstorm and a torrential downpour late afternoon causing localised flooding in the town here and surrounding area and the most of the birds left for the night about 7 o’clock. It was still cloudy and if they do go by the position of the sun or light levels perhaps they thought it was time to go. I did also wonder whether if they had had enough of the hot weather and just wanted to go to bed! Normally a few feral pigeons will be around still at 8 or so and one in particular comes on its own, eats anything that may be left, swoops down for a drink and goes off.

The magpies certainly have two youngsters who are still regularly coming to the feeders although the parent birds don’t actually seem to come into the garden at the moment but are round and about. The jackdaws have done the usual disappearing act for the summer although the odd one will appear at the feeder on a day when it’s not so warm. As I mentioned in the beginning the blackbirds seem to have at least one youngster and I’ve seen that feeding independently in the garden in the last day or two. The wood pigeons are still coming first thing in the morning and later in the day and they were having a game of chase on the fence yesterday evening. A pair landed and one kept going closer to the second bird, but then that would run further along the fence and it became quite comical.

The greater spotted woodpeckers are still visiting and most days they will come at least a couple of times both male and female and I’m not sure, but I think there is now a younger bird coming as well. It would be interesting to know where they actually are located the rest of the time, but there is some woodland not terribly far away and other large trees.

The sparrows and dunnocks certainly have several youngsters and I think there were some young chaffinches in the garden as well yesterday, fluttering on the bird table and being fed by their parents. I don’t see nearly as many chaffinches as I used to do, as just a few years ago they would’ve easily outnumbered the sparrows.

Bees of various sorts have been busy on the plants in the garden including on my sweet peas, roses, runner beans and assorted annual flowers. There have also been a few butterflies, generally cabbage whites and the other day the moth or butterfly shown in the picture landed on my window to try and shelter from the rain. I didn’t see it disappear but as the rain came on ferociously shortly after, I’m not sure it would’ve survived. Other wildlife that I’ve seen include at least one squirrel and I think it has started to eye the cobnuts and the relatively young fox has also been coming through the garden most evenings.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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