Margaret tries to count the number of birds in her garden after feeding Haith's bird food

Please stay still!

It has been an interesting week as always watching the birds in the garden and as I mentioned the other week, the first of the young birds are appearing.

There is a flock of about eight adult starlings and they’ve been roosting in a neighbour’s roof space and it has proved very difficult counting the number of youngsters that are coming with the adult birds, as they keep darting around. I did say to them through the window, ‘Please stay still!’ Looking down the garden a few days ago there was a big huddle of birds and I soon lost count as they were all moving about, but there are least 16 youngsters, as I tried to count them again yesterday.

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My picture this week shows the scene at the bottom of the garden a few days ago. It’s possible of course that there are even more youngsters as they won’t necessarily all come at the same time. I am pleased to say that the parent birds have been showing them where the pigeons have their birdbath tray and they have certainly been using it well. Some sparrows are nesting in my neighbour's roof space and so far have brought along two youngsters to the feeder, but as it is not in full sight of my dining room window, where I’m often working on the table, there may have been some more. It’s not going to be long before the blue tits and great tits bring along their youngsters, as they are also making frequent visits to and from the suet squares and fat balls early and late in the day when it’s not so busy.

The birds continue to amuse me with their antics and a wood pigeon the other afternoon had landed on a fairly thin cobnut branch. When the pigeon landed on the branch it dropped down but then two feral pigeons decided to sit at the other end of the branch so they dropped even lower. The wood pigeon was probably thinking, please stay still! However, the wood pigeon had the last laugh as he or she then flew off and almost like a funny scene in a cartoon, the feral pigeons suddenly went up into the air so they probably wanted to say, please stay still!

Sadly, as far as youngsters are concerned, the pair of jackdaws nesting in my disused chimney pot up on the roof seem to have fared less well. They have been using it as a roost for over a year now and I think the large crow that had been visiting in the last few weeks has unfortunately raided the nest. The jackdaw numbers are down as 6 or 8 were coming in the winter but it just seems to be four now. The crow still comes on the lawn strutting about and the other birds usually make a quick dash for the trees or the house roof or make a circuit, in formation, across several gardens. I have two collared doves and a pair of blackbirds coming into the garden as well but no sign of any young and the goldfinches were back the other afternoon.

Filling the feeders and the birdbaths is almost a full-time job at the moment, as it is amazing how quickly the pigeons managed to empty their birdbath, but when six or eight of them have had their morning ablutions followed by a quick sunbathe on the lawn, it’s no wonder. The suet balls and suet squares seem to be the favourite food at the moment for the larger birds and the starlings, while the sparrows and other assorted smaller birds are tending to favour either the peanut feeder or the seed feeder in another tree. The peanuts don’t go down at a particularly fast rate unless of course, the squirrel has been along. It looks as if I now have at least one young squirrel visiting, who is quite nervous at the moment and dashes across the garden and into one of the trees at the slightest sign of anything moving. Please stay still!

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Written by Margaret Emerson

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