Warmer days in the bird garden

Warmer days for now

The past few days have certainly brought what you could almost describe as spring-like weather and temperatures.
I have been able to work in the garden with just a light jacket on and I have even seen a butterfly, probably a Red Admiral or something very similar, flying about. The birds I think are definitely starting to think about spring and the breeding season and it’s noticeable now that I have a pair of collared doves coming into the garden most days and a pair of wood pigeons. One of the wood pigeons is searching around on the lawn as I write, and it looks to me as if it might be starting to think about nesting materials.

Last weekend I took part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch and I proved my assumption that I have fewer feral pigeons coming in the afternoon than I do in the morning. I suppose technically I could’ve counted some of the pigeons as extras, because the distinctive coloured ones come at different times of the day. It was a successful count and although the feral pigeons accounted for just over half the number of birds seen in an hour, I did four different hours as a test, two on Saturday and two on Sunday in both morning and afternoon counts, just to see whether there were differences, The highest number of birds seen was 70 and the other hours ranged between 46 and 63. The number of starlings was pretty consistent somewhere between 10 and 14 birds at one time.

During the past week I’ve still seen the blackbirds hopping about in the garden and at least one robin. The sparrows are more in evidence as well hopping about in the holly bushes and flitting from bush to bush. A couple of blue tits have also been coming regularly to the feeders when it’s a little bit quieter and in the morning, I’m still seeing the two crows and possibly they will return in the afternoon. There just seems to be one magpie coming at the moment and occasionally one jackdaw. I don’t know if it’s a case of having crows in the garden and so the jackdaws have moved on, or whether it’s just a factor of the weather at the moment, as generally in the winter and up until about April, I would expect to see four or six jackdaws coming to my feeders.

The starlings are continuing to enjoy the birdbath saucers but I was a little surprised to see one having a bath at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and then spending a long time shaking the water from its feathers in a tree. I would’ve thought they normally would’ve taken a bath earlier in the day so that they could dry off in the sunshine or the wind, but then again I guess they know what they’re doing and it wasn’t a particularly cold late afternoon.

In addition to the birds I’m still seeing two squirrels most days taking peanuts, eating peanuts and burying peanuts in all sorts of places. I’m pretty sure though that the jackdaw and the crows are digging in the lawn and removing some of the peanuts that have been buried there, as the lawn has got several small beak sized holes drilled in it.

There’s certainly signs of spring in the garden though with the bulbs pushing through and a solitary snowdrop in my flowerbed. My picture shows the catkins on the cobnut which may be attracting the blue tits, as I sometimes see them pecking them or are they good nesting material? There is no sign really of any growth on the bushes as it is a little bit early for that, but there are some shoots starting to appear on the roses and in fact the climbing rose on the back of the house has been in bloom for the past month or so.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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