The amount of food that has been consumed by the garden birds this past week has certainly increased, partly down to the colder weather some days with overnight frost but probably due to more mouths to feed as well.
The robins, starlings and blackbirds are certainly relishing a scattering of mealworms either on my path underneath the seed feeder or in the feeder tray. The robin is often sitting waiting when I go out with the food or soon appears and as I have already mentioned in previous blogs, at least one comes when I’m working in the garden. During the week I was digging in the vegetable plot and planting some potatoes and one soon came having seen a centipede I had unearthed, so it swooped down and took it. Not long after it returned for other tasty morsels that I had uncovered and in fact at one point I had two robins, I presume parents of a local brood so they have had a busy week
I’ve been watching the sparrows on a number of occasions out in the garden hopping about in the flowerbed between the spring bulbs which are now going over and onto my rosebushes, presumably looking for aphids and bugs. The starlings seem to like running out through the undergrowth and so I’ve deliberately left some weeds near to the area with the birdfeeder, so that they can come out safely and eat some of the ground based food. It’s quite comical watching them too. My picture this week is of a sparrow as smaller birds do not feature often. It took a rest on a dead sprig of bramble which was sticking out of my yew tree. It only sat there for a minute or two but I was fortunate enough to be able to grab a picture.
Yesterday, I saw for the first time in many months two long-tailed tits in the garden. One flew down and was pecking around on the grass momentarily and a second arrived in my cobnut and then both flew off almost as quickly as they had arrived, so no chance of a picture. Hopefully they will be putting in an appearance again as they are lively little birds to have in the garden mixture.
The wood pigeons have been coming in their two pairs during the past week and now I have some blossom out on a wild cherry, they have been sitting in the tree and pecking at the emerging buds and leaves. The collared doves have been coming in at least one pair but at the moment they don’t seem to be around as often and I certainly don’t see them more than once a day. Haith's mentioned the blackbirds liking the mealworms and they’ve also been digging out moss from my grass to take away presumably to make a nest, so there is a very good reason for not having a lawn that looks like a bowling green! They can often be seen later in the evening hopping about and pecking some food near the bird table after many of the larger birds have probably left for the day after scattering seed and so forth on the ground. One crow has been coming and that usually means all the other birds will disperse and I’ve also have one magpie coming for food or a drink at the bird bath. The new birdbaths trays continue to be popular and smaller birds such as the sparrows have been using them along with the starlings, robins and feral pigeons. The trays are now well used and although they are deeper and hold the water better, I still find that I have to change it or add to it during the day, as the water becomes very murky with assorted soil and dust after bathing as well as suet from beak cleaning. It has been a busy week for me as well as the bathers and drinkers.
The suet logs continue to be popular and they no longer last a week and consumption of suet squares also seems to be increasing, but for some reason I don’t seem to have many takers for the suet balls. The jackdaws haven’t been coming in as big a number recently and they certainly will peck them and get through them very quickly, due to the larger size of the beak and their vigorous pecking. I’m sure that all of the food will be consumed in greater quantities as we go on through the breeding season.
Written by Margaret Emerson