Learn how bird food demand has increased with the colder weather

Much colder weather

Although there has been some very welcome late autumn sunshine in the last few days and indeed some days have had clear blue skies, it has certainly turned much colder here in Kent.
Bird food demand has increased further and I try to make sure that if possible I am around shortly before 3 o’clock, so that the birds don’t go home hungry for the night. I’m probably a bit soft and stupid in that respect especially as until I retired, they only had one lot of food per day in the morning in the darker months of the year!

The starlings I think have got used to putting a lookout up on my roof or television aerial, as they’ll be one bird there when I go out with mealworms and by the time I’ve turned round and come back in, probably a dozen or more, with others appearing from bushes and nearby gardens. They certainly enjoy them and will usually fend off any other birds that come and try and get in the feeder tray to eat their snack. The squirrels are still busy eating the peanuts and they now seem to have damaged the top rim of the peanut feeder although the rest of it is made of metal. I’m not sure how chewing the top of the feeder is really going to release any peanuts but there you are.

The blackbirds are more in evidence and I see them down in my holly bush at the bottom of the garden late afternoon probably about 4:30pm at the moment, which is nice to see again. I’ve seen at least one robin hopping about and possibly an adolescent as well and the adult will normally be sitting in my cobnut and will jump back a little when I go out with the food, but then comes down to grab a tasty snack before the starlings arrive. When the starlings have left the garden for the day, I’ll pop out and put a few morsels out for the robins, again showing that I’m a bit soft.

The crows are still coming first thing in the morning and a magpie, who probably will return again towards dusk. A few jackdaws have been coming to the bird table as well and enjoying the suet balls but not in as big a group as recent years so far. A wood pigeon has been eating more holly berries too. Feral pigeon numbers have been high during the past week generally first thing in the morning and perhaps as late as lunchtime, but then numbers decrease. A couple more predominantly white birds have been seen this week, one that has black and grey on its tail and a bit of grey and black on its side and another that is almost completely white, but just has some darker tail feathers. That means that there are now at least five that are predominantly white and I do wonder if they have at some point crossed with white doves. There are several others now appearing with either white patches on their wings, their bodies or tails. My picture this week shows some of the pigeons waiting on my greenhouse roof for the squirrel to vacate the feeder.

Just before the weather turned colder I made sure that all my tender plants were tucked up inside for the winter, but I will still have to clear leaves from the garden. I’ve not seen any sign of hedgehog activity this autumn and again this week haven’t seen any foxes or evidence of their activity. A few neighbours have been posting on social media that they have found odd shoes and trainers in their garden or they are trying to find the second one to make up their own pair.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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