Starlings

More youngsters have arrived

In my last blog I mentioned the fact that birds were coming and going frequently from my feeders and that the quantity of food eaten had dramatically increased. This past week has seen the arrival of a bigger group of youngsters. On Sunday there were two young starlings with their parents and that had increased to nine birds at one visit by the middle of the week. I've also seen one or two fledged sparrows fluttering around with their parents as well. It was interesting this morning to note that one of the young starlings had already decided to start taking food for itself and has clearly been taught by its parents that the suet squares are very tasty. My picture this week is of a few young starlings sitting on the branch by one set of feeders, waiting for the parent to return with some food. At one point a singleton bird approached one of the sparrows and was a bit surprised that it wasn't getting any food. They will soon learn the ins and outs. 

Bird visits are certainly high in number and I'm sure there is now one immature jackdaw joining the two older birds, as a slightly smaller one appeared at the bird table and seemed very reticent near the feral pigeons, whereas the adult birds just dive down and take the food regardless. I'm pretty sure a pair have a nest again in my old chimney pot as there was one sitting on the rim of the pot and leaning down with some food, as if it was either feeding the mother bird or youngsters. I'm sure their vocals will let me know when they have arrived. I still have a couple of crows coming, although usually they only appear as a single bird now, so I wonder if they are also feeding youngsters. 

I also have at least one magpie coming into the garden and sitting near to one of the feeding stations. A number of birds have now worked out how to use the new seed feeder by standing either on the branch of a buddleia or a branch of the cobnut tree.  Other more occasional visitors include a blue tit, a great tit and a robin, and of course the pair of wood pigeons, the collared dove pair and the blackbirds.  

We've had some very welcome rain this week here in Kent, almost too much on some days, so for a couple of days I didn't have to replenish the birdbath saucers, but I have decided to put two deeper saucers out now, rather than a shallow one and a deep, as I think the birds can cope, even the smaller ones, when having their ablutions or drinks. The squirrel is still coming for peanuts and that too has worked out how to use the newest peanut feeder. There are plenty of bees on the various plants in the garden on the drier days and I saw several honey bees on a hardy geranium when I was out mowing the lawn the other morning.

 Written by Margaret Emerson

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