Always provide water for garden birds

That’s more like it

I’ve mentioned in my blogs before that I have a small seed tray size gravel tray down on the lawn for the birds to use as a birdbath.

As the most frequent users are the feral pigeons, the water tends to get depleted during the day, but I noticed that the water was disappearing much more quickly even when I had just filled it up. Lo and behold of course there was a crack in the corner of the tray and so it was leaking water and this was probably a result of it being frozen solid back in the colder weather in February. I have replaced it now and I think the pigeons have been saying, ‘That’s more like it’ as they have a decent depth of water to bathe in and I have thought something similar. There have been one or two very enthusiastic bathers over the last couple of days and then often means a little queue builds up, as one is having a lovely bath and a few more really want to get in and have a drink. It is interesting to watch them when they’re drinking as some go for the sit on the rim approach and then duck their heads down and have some water, whereas others step in even if they’re just having a drink. Some of the smaller birds I’ve noticed have also been making use of the tray including starlings who sit on the rim and drink and also the odd sparrow.

I have a second birdbath in the flowerbed down the garden which is a bit more secluded and that tends to be used by the blackbirds for drinking and bathing and the other day by a magpie for a drink. I think the robins probably make good use of that one as well. In the last week I’ve bought some new big round saucers for birdbaths with some money I was given at Christmas. I will be putting those into use as well or at least will put one or two of them out and perhaps keep the third in reserve for when the first ones need cleaning. I can then have my gravel tray back!

There has been lots of activity in the garden during the past week with several blackbirds both collecting nesting material and grubs from the lawn, which are probably about a bit more now as it’s both not so cold and we’ve had a bit of rain. I’ve also had a number of blue tits, great tits and even a coal tit coming to the peanuts or suet logs. When one of the logs becomes a bit low I usually hang a fresh one alongside it and the blue tits were saying ‘That’s more like it’ this morning, as two of them arrived and had a log each to feed from. A jackdaw managed to perch on a branch in the cobnut the other day to feed from the new log, which was further along the branch, by leaning well forward so probably also thought ‘That’s more like it. I can reach this one’.

I’m still getting a number of the jackdaws and several magpies and one of the magpies features in my picture this week. It’s amazing how quickly they will appear if anything unusual is put out at the bird table, such as some chopped scraps of meat, cheese or brown bread. I’m sure there must be a look out as soon as that happens either a jackdaw or a magpie will come down or a blackbird will hop across the grass.

The sparrows seem to be busy still in their little flock and no doubt the starlings will soon be collecting their nesting materials as well. I’m not sure if the local starling group will be able to roost in the roof a couple of doors away from me, as the owner has had some roof repairs done and was talking about having the hole blocked off, as they were making a bit of a mess in the roof space. I think the sparrows are certainly going to be able to roost in my neighbour’s roof as that seems to be the direction they are going with their nesting materials.

So all in all it has been a busy week with the birds and spring is certainly showing her hand now with the last of the crocuses, the daffodils, primroses and polyanthus in bloom and new shoots appearing on the bushes.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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