With the days becoming longer and so more opportunities for the birds to feed and possibly now in some cases extra beaks to feed too, I don't think I have fully adjusted my feeder replenishment schedule to fit the time. Normally the birds will have some food early in the morning somewhere between 8 and 8:30 and I then top it up again half an hour to an hour later, so that the first flush of birds have something to feed on and then others turn up. There's always some food left in the feeders such as seed, peanuts, suet balls and squares but it's the loose selection of food such as mealworms and suet pellets which are put out at various times of the day. After the early feed, I put out some more food around the middle of the day and again about 4pm, although now as the birds are not leaving in many cases until gone 5, and next week even later after we change the clocks, I probably need to adjust it so that food is put out later. If not, it is gobbled up and the later arrivals such as the starlings eating before they head off for the night, are left short of food.
I have certainly had plenty of birds in the garden during the past week and on most occasions now when I'm putting out food at the seed feeder, usually the mealworms in the feeder tray, the robin will come and sit close by to grab mealworms before the other birds devour the lot. I think there are at least a pair of robins and there still seem to be the younger robins from last year hopping about. The starlings have certainly been hungry and have been coming to feed both when they see the food going out and other times during the day, so much so now that a suet square will barely last 24-hours.
Blackbirds have been hopping about and I'm increasingly seeing other small birds such as great tits, blue tits and possibly a couple of chaffinches at the feeder and suet square. The sparrows are definitely still busy arranging their nests and they also come for food. A couple of jackdaws seen to have taken up residence again in my disused chimney pot and have been coming to the bird table generally late in the afternoon. When they land the feral pigeons tend to disappear in the same way as they do when the pair of crows turn up. The crows are not coming as much at the moment but they are still having their food put into the area on the lawn that they are used to. Other birds visiting this week include at least one collared dove and one or two wood pigeons and an occasional magpie.
I haven't seen anything of the fox this week but there are still one or two squirrels about, although they don't seem to be taking as many nuts. Insects are certainly more in evidence and I've seen several bumblebees in the garden in the last few days, as is it been sunny and considerably warmer. There are plenty of flowers now for them to feed on including of course daffodils and various other spring flowers, but also now the first signs of some weeds, such as blind nettles.
Making sure that the feeders and so forth are replenished is almost a full-time job as well as making sure that the water facilities are clean and full. The pigeons tend to have their mass bathing session in the morning or near lunchtime, and the starlings during the afternoon or just before they go for the day. I normally refill the water saucers about 4pm but I'm finding now that the saucers need refilling in the morning too after late bathing or the early morning ablutions. My picture this week shows a gathering of pigeons at the birdbath facilities.
Written by Margaret Emerson