Spring has sprung in gardens across the UK

Spring has sprung

During the past week the weather has certainly been spring-like with temperatures around 15 or 16 Celsius, around the 60 Fahrenheit mark, although overnight it’s still a little bit chilly.

The spring bulbs have certainly put on a spurt along with some of the other spring flowers in the last week or two. The birds in the garden I think are also getting ready for spring and this morning I was watching a few sparrows sitting on the low fence between my garden and the house next door with nesting materials in their beaks, as they roost in my next door neighbour’s eaves.

While I was having my breakfast this morning I was watching one of the blackbirds having a bath in their bird bath tray in the flowerbed down the garden and he was probably pleased that I’d replenished it with fresh water yesterday evening. The pigeons have certainly been making use of their bird bath facility, both having ablutions and nice drinks. I often think when they are gathered together and several of them take it in turns to queue and have a drink, that it’s almost like us in an office environment standing around for a chat by the water chiller.

During the past week I have been doing some more work in the garden and I’ve had a couple of sessions digging over my vegetable plot, which was certainly appreciated by at least one of the robins, who came and sat on the compost bin and then was diving down to pick up some bugs and grubs. Later in the day when the blackbirds were almost the only birds in the garden, I saw one of them hopping about in the vegetable plot and digging for some food. The robins have also been making use of the seed feeder and beggars’ banquet food, which I scatter in the tray together with some mealworms, which they also seem to enjoy. I make sure that gets topped up in the morning, towards dusk and probably at midday too, as the starlings and pigeons have cottoned on to their being an easy source of food. The robins can have a tasty snack that way before leaving for the day.

I think there are generally more birds about now but not necessarily different types and one of the magpie group has worked out that by landing in the cobnut tree and working its way down one of the branches, that it is able to reach the suet log, which I think has slid a little bit down the branch. It’s only able to take a couple of pecks and not actually land on it, but it’s clearly been sitting watching and has worked it out. I think the feral pigeons and the wood pigeons would also like to have a go, but haven’t as yet tried! My picture is of the magpie after its snack.

There is definitely a routine to the birds with the feral pigeons now arriving in the garden around about 7 o’clock, or at least the first wave of them and then a different group will arrive around lunchtime and then a smaller group will appear about 3 o’clock. Although I’m sure there is some overlap in the groups, there are some distinctive coloured birds, as I’ve mentioned before, so there are different birds at different times. The blackbirds are certainly around early and late as are the robins and the collared doves tend to come in pairs when most of the activity has started to wane. The wood pigeons are finishing off the last of the ivy berries, but I think the pickings are now pretty scarce and they are definitely onto the most difficult berries to reach, so I’m not sure that they are taking very much food that way. The jackdaws have been coming as well generally as a group of four, but I’ve noticed that with the current group, they have been tending to eat on the ground or from the bird table. Having said that, the suet balls are being consumed more quickly and they have been eating those with enthusiasm.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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