The past week has brought a massive change in the weather here in Kent and for the last five days we’ve had snow on the ground, frosty nights and very cold days.
It’s no surprise that the number of birds has increased dramatically in the garden and I always feel sorry for them when they are looking for food and water when the weather is so poor.
This week though I’m going to start the story before the cold snap with the bird that features in my picture, a large gull, which arrived and landed on the top of the bird table, because I had put out some scraps of meat once again. It stayed on the bird table for about five minutes, had some of the food and was generally surveying the garden. It’s just as well that it didn’t try going inside the table as I think it would’ve got stuck, so perhaps I need to get a bigger bird table?
The cold weather has certainly brought an increase in the number of feral pigeons coming to get food, so perhaps the supply has not been as plentiful in neighbouring gardens. I actually had in excess of 45 down on the lawn one cold morning. The days are noticeably longer as I mentioned last week, but with the snow on the ground things look much brighter and there have even been some birds in quantity as late as 4.30 this week. The blackbirds as I have mentioned before though, stay considerably later.
I’ve seen a wren hopping about on the patio and today it was feeding on some of the seed that I had scattered on the ground to help the blackbirds and robins find some food. The starlings have been coming and enjoying the suet log, suet balls, peanuts and seed as well as some of the softbill food in the feeder tray. The jackdaws have been coming aplenty and there were seven hopping about on the lawn the other day and there were at least three collared doves, two or three wood pigeons, at least three black birds as well as blue tits, great tits, sparrows and the robins. As expected the red wings have now consumed nearly all the holly and ivy berries and so I’ve not really seen them for the last few days, but as is often the case, one has just arrived as I was typing this blog and was looking for some leftover berries. With the quantity of food being consumed I’m beginning to think that’s another reason for getting a bigger bird table!
I’ve also of course been ensuring that the birds have a fresh supply of water and have either taken a dish of water out or poured water into the bird bath tray. so they have a plentiful supply. At lunchtime today a feral pigeon went over to the bird bath as if to say, ‘Ah, is there any water?, had a drink and walk backed to its mates and I almost imagined it saying to the others, ‘Go over there, the water’s back’. Another one went over and decided to have a bath but I’m not sure that was perhaps the best idea as it was still very cold, but as it’s been bright and sunny I’ve no doubt it was able to dry itself off. There was a bit of argy-bargy though as other ones then realised that they had water and so several came over to have a quick drink. Not to be put off the one having a bath decided that it was going to stay slap in the middle of the tray and the others would have to wait.
Written by Margaret Emerson.