Jackdaws trying out new foods in gardens

Trying out new things

The jackdaws have been keeping me amused during the past week and four of them are coming regularly to my feeders at various times during the day.
The other afternoon on what was a very cold day and frost had barely cleared from the grass, the jackdaws were taking advantage of the pigeons’ bird bath for a drink.

One jackdaw went over to the tray and had a drink, stepped back as much to say well that was alright and went forward to have some more. A second jackdaw being inquisitive came over to see what it was doing, also went over and had a drink, backed off and appeared to be thinking yes, that’s good I’ll have some more, went and had a second drink and then they both flew off for the day. One of the jackdaw group always seems to be in an agitated state and very fluffed up around the others and often cackling.

There have been some colder days in the past week although now it’s not quite so cold as I’m writing this on Thursday, but after yet another wet night and persistent rain this morning, once again I’ve got puddles on the lawn and a bit of standing water on the patio, so it will be interesting to see if any of the birds avail themselves of the opportunity again of a drink there rather than from the proper bird bath trays. A pigeon this morning was sitting on the top of the dead tree stump where I hang most of my feeders, facing into the very light breeze and taking an impromptu shower. I managed to catch a photograph.

Some of the days this past week have been grey and foggy and the birds have been disappearing for the day much earlier than normal. Some of the regulars in the pigeon group have certainly been seen and the one I call white wing or the boss pigeon, comes most afternoons and his favourite food place is to hang on the peanut feeder, flip the lid up and help himself to the nuts, providing they are not too low down inside. He generally will shove the others out of the way although sometimes concedes and is pushed out the way himself, but the other day he was frantically trying to flip the lid up on the feeder, but as another pigeon had landed on the lid, he was on able to do so. Then on another occasion he managed to get the lid up and was pecking away at the peanuts inside, when another pigeon landed on the feeder lid and momentarily, I think his head was trapped inside the feeder. No harm was done and he returned to the same antics again yesterday.


I have seen a few more seagulls and one or two have come down for some food but there are certainly less now than around Christmas. I’ve not seen any crows landing in the garden but have seen a few flying around and the feral pigeons seem to scramble and go for a circuit around the neighbourhood when they see them. That in turn of course means that the smaller birds such as the starlings then also go off from the feeders, but they probably sneak back and have a quiet feed before the pigeons return.

Since Christmas I’ve been putting out a small amount of the seed called Beggars Banquet in the tray under my seed feeder, which is apart from most of the other bird food. The sparrows have been helping themselves to some of this food and on a couple of occasions a blackbird has landed in the tray and also had a tasty snack along with the robins. There have been quite a few blue tits and great tits coming to the suet log and they seem to enjoy sitting on top of it and pecking away. This morning the last of the suet log has slipped off the plastic spike so I will have to brave the rain and put out a new one. I mentioned at the beginning that the jackdaws have kept me entertained, well earlier in the week one landed in the cobnut tree and was side-stepping nearer the suet log to see if it could reach it, but where I’ve put it is deliberately in a position where only smaller birds are able to feed, as there is plenty of suet and food to be had elsewhere in my garden.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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