This is my third armchair naturalist blog for Haith's. Last week I tended to concentrate on the larger birds in the garden so it seems only fair that the smaller ones have their turn this week.
It is very pleasing to see a fairly large flock of house sparrows coming into the garden. They roost fairly close by and I’m not convinced that they are not building a nest under my eaves as well. They have definite little pathways in the garden where they land and take off again. They sit on a piece of flat roof and then fly across into a holly bush, gathering insects and sitting sometimes and just having a general chitchat with their bird friends, or so it seems to me. It is fair to say that they are very well camouflaged when they’re in the holly, which is just outside a couple of bedroom windows, and so must feel safe from predators. They then fly off and sit on the top of a three-foot fence, dive down collecting nesting materials and then go back via the holly to the flat roof and away. Other favourite landing spots are the top of my side fence, the telephone wire, the holly at the side of the house which the wood pigeons did at one point seem to be building a nest in and then onto the birdfeeder, which is for the smaller birds hanging in a cobnut tree. If you look at the top left of the holly you can just see one of the sparrows.
Building the des res aka a nest
The sparrows have certainly been collecting a variety of nesting materials during the past week and I’ve had great pleasure watching them out of the window while they’ve been busy. Some more small pigeon feathers have been collected from my back lawn and the other day after a group of pigeons had been sitting on my roof and flew off, a sparrow swooped down and collected a feather from the roof which had been discarded. They are also taking some dried pieces of stalk and blades of grass. It’s quite interesting to watch them swoop down into the flowerbed and tug at a little blade of grass. Full marks to the sparrows’ effort as they have been trying to pull other bits of the dried plant which are still attached as well. One the other day had a fairly large piece of a dried stalk, but he or she decided it wasn’t good as after sitting there holding it for a little while he or she dropped it down. That reminded me of going into a DIY shop and taking a look at some wallpaper and deciding it wasn’t the right one. The birds certainly know how to create a des res!
The starlings are still busy coming to and fro on the feeders and the suet fat balls are certainly being eaten with great gusto and I’m having to re-stock the feeder at least twice per day. The feral pigeons are continuing to enjoy the birdbath and you could say that the starlings have been copycats, as one or two of them have been using that supply of water as well. The blackbirds and sometimes the sparrows and robins use a smaller birdbath which is tucked into a flowerbed.
One of the collared doves has also been collecting nesting materials this past week, on a grander scale than the sparrows but he was but he or she was deterred by a fairly sizeable twig that was picked up. I used to have a very sizeable flock of collared doves in the garden but it has decreased now to about four birds. Another sizeable bird that has been coming into the garden is a single crow. He has been having some suet ball from the feeder and picking up other scraps from the lawn, where I’ve been throwing out some small cooked meat scraps.
The blackbirds are still busy as the robins, a couple of magpies have been coming early and late in the day and if I’m quick off the mark, I have spotted a wren in the flowerbed outside my dining room window.
All in all, it’s been another interesting week with the birds.