One, two, three, or more…

One, two, three, or more…

My peanut feeder seemed to be going down very quickly in recent days and although I knew there was at least one squirrel coming and sometimes two, flipping the lid up or chewing through the mesh, this past week has brought three squirrels to the garden.
I can only assume it’s a parent and two youngsters as two of them seem to be quite shy and much smaller than the third one. They have been playing games up and down the dead tree stump where I hang most of my feeders and have been chasing one another around on the lawn or fighting for a place on the peanuts. It was therefore even more amusing than usual to watch them and my picture this week shows one squirrel eating some peanuts. Of course, when I went out to get a picture the other two just scarpered. The picture also shows my feeders and bird water saucers and also my weather station, which often gets confused for a beehive.

Birds have been in the garden aplenty during the past few days as it has turned colder, especially today as I’m writing this blog. Two collared doves are coming each day now and usually one or two crows as well. This morning there were two magpies sitting on a branch in my cobnut although often I only see one at a time. The magpies and crows tend to come early and late in the day as I’ve mentioned before.

I haven’t really seen any sight of the wood pigeons recently, so I imagine they are managing to get their food elsewhere. They like holly berries and they seem to be plentiful this year, so they may be out in the countryside. A couple of jackdaws have certainly been seen at the bird table or sitting up on my disused chimney, as I assume they are still roosting inside it. I don’t know how they manage to do that without falling down although there is probably a ledge somewhere inside.

The starlings have been eagerly eating the mealworms and again have appeared within seconds of me going back indoors. It’s amazing how quickly they can devour a pile of them from the tray under the seed feeder.

The feral pigeon numbers have increased dramatically in the last couple of weeks, which I think probably means that two of my relatively close neighbours are not at the moment putting food out as they were last spring. They recognise me going out and will move down the roof to the gutter or will be flying down to land on the bird table or the grass before I’ve arrived with the food. The other day when I had to pop back inside to get some suet balls, one of the pigeons decided it would help itself from the container used to carry the seed outside. Another one managed to tip over the pot of peanuts and was having a lovely feed.

I want to still feed all the birds especially the starlings, the sparrows, as well as the slightly less numerous birds, magpies, crows, jackdaws, blackbird, robins, as well of course the various members of the tit family, but I think I will soon be getting complaints from my neighbours, as the pigeons are starting to sit on their roof as well as mine. I may have to modify the feed that I put out restricting it more to what is in feeders most of the time, although some of them know how to get at the peanuts and certainly the suet squares and balls, but not excluding them totally. When I was still working of course I put out one lot of food before I left for work in the morning and then if it was still light when I got home, a top up, whereas now they have food morning, lunchtime and late afternoon or early evening.

I’ve not seen the fox at all during the past week and I don’t think my cat has either through the window, but I did see one bee on my sedum flowers yesterday. Meeting with a good friend this week who lives in a village more out into the countryside, it was nice to hear her relate the story of the hedgehog family visiting or possibly living in her garden. There are two adults and three smaller hedgehogs coming each evening for food. Her husband built them a hedgehog house last year but they may be living behind a pile of logs.

Written Margaret Emerson

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