Busy times at the bird feeders

Plenty of customers at the feeders

There have been some very warm days in the past week and the amount of food being eaten by the birds has not reduced and in fact with the longer evenings now, as we approach the longest day in 10 days or so, means that they have longer feeding opportunities.
Some of the feral pigeons are still in the garden at 8 o’clock although I’ve noticed that most of the starlings, youngsters or adults, disappear by about 7.30. I had the sad duty of burying one of the young starlings the other day after it had flown with force into one of my windows, as there have been a mass take-off of birds from the garden and sadly it killed itself instantly in so doing. I have just been out in the garden with a fresh supply of mealworms and they were at least 14 young starlings coming to the feeder tray and there are probably many more hiding in the trees and bushes or in the neighbouring garden.

The greater spotted woodpecker has made several visits to the garden during the week and has been mainly eating from the suet square, when it can get a slot amongst the other birds. It would be lovely if some youngsters came to the garden as well.

I’ve been making sure that the water saucers have been well filled and there was a communal gathering of feral pigeons earlier today. It reminds me of a group of people perhaps in the bar of a pub or in the office environment near to the water chiller, just having a quiet chat. While I am typing this article several of them are having a lunchtime bath, which can mean they just sit in the water dish for awhile and a couple of young starlings are trying to have a drink from the second saucer, but are not quite sure why there is a big pigeon sitting in the middle of the other one. I’ve been seeing the blackbirds during the week but as yet have not seen any youngsters and I haven’t seen any young robins either, although one of the robins has still been coming regularly to have mealworms from the food feeder tray.

I mentioned there were plenty of bird customers and with the increase in starling numbers as well as the other birds, a suet square is now lasting a day and a half on average, so consumption in that respect has more than doubled. Perhaps they take to the suet squares a little bit more when they are softer due to the warmer weather. Other visitors during the week have included the sparrows and dunnocks and the former have been taking nesting materials into the neighbour’s roof space. One sparrow the other day was pulling at the jute twine holding some bamboo canes in a wigwam shape for my beans and features in my picture. I think it thought if it could pull it off it would make a nice piece of nesting material. It didn’t succeed and so hopefully found something else for the nest and this morning there was a sparrow taking pieces of grass into the neighbour’s roof again. One crow, a magpie, wood pigeons and a pair of collared doves have also been sighted.

I’ve not managed to catch sight of any butterflies this week but I have seen several bees on the borage plants and I’m very pleased to say that the hollyhock, which I planted earlier this year, has nice open trumpet flowers which I think I read somewhere is good for bees to access.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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