Happy New Year to the garden birds

New year and more birds

Firstly, a Happy New Year to all who read my bird blogs.
I think the birds have been spoilt over the Christmas and New Year period with plenty of extra treats on offer, varying from stuffing from my Christmas chicken to leftover scraps of meat, ham and sausage meat. They’ve also enjoyed some pastry in addition to their normal food of suet balls and squares, peanuts and seed mixtures of various sorts.

At the moment bird activity in the garden is brisk and there are least two male black birds and a female regularly coming to the garden now for food. The robin and the immature robins can be seen most days hopping about in the garden and coming down to have mealworms or their special food. It was very nice on Christmas Day to see a robin sitting on a branch in my cobnut tree as much to say, ‘It’s my time of year.’

A couple of collared doves are also regularly coming to the garden again and either feeding at the bird table, when it’s not otherwise occupied, or, sitting in the seed feeder tray and helping themselves from the feeder or the food in the tray. Sometimes that can bring a comical moment when they land on the tray and there’s a big group of starlings already feeding there with the feeder then swinging around. There are still a good number of starlings coming, anything towards a couple of dozen, swooping down for the mealworms as soon as they’ve been put outside.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen the sparrow hawk on a few occasions with the associated scramble of the other birds to safety. There were a couple of days where I hardly saw any birds at all, but I think that was caused by a visit of the sparrow hawk but also a fox who appeared to be in the garden during the daytime on one occasion.

The regular group of feral pigeons are still visiting and there appears to be another addition to the predominantly white birds, the latest one being largely white but with a black area on its back and wings and a splodge on its chest, so it almost looks as if it is wearing a cape and bow tie. It’s nice to see the regulars coming for the food as two of them disappeared for several days and I was concerned that they perhaps were no more. I imagine there was a lot of food about.

I mentioned the extra food scraps which were on offer over the Christmas period and two crows and at least one magpie have been taking full advantage. My picture shows one of the crow visitors. When putting the food out, the extras as it were are scattered in a separate area of the garden so that all different types of birds have a chance to feed on something. The magpie actually seems quite shy and darts down amongst the pigeons and grabs some food and hops off.

My robin rooster box and my small bird nesting box have been mounted in the garden and it will be interesting to see if any birds have found them to use over the coming weeks.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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