Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Feeding the birds

I have spent a good time this morning both bird watching, and feeding them. Poor little chaps are desperate in this weather. Maximum sightings at any one time: 12 Blackbirds; one Fieldfare; 3 Redwings; countless Sparrows, Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits; Nuthatch; Greater Spotted Woodpecker; about 15 Jackdaws and as many Starlings, a Robin, a Pied Wagtail. I have tried to spread their food about as much as possible, as the Blackbirds are wasting precious energy fighting over the apples. I had some rubbery carrots, so I chopped them up small with two chopped potatoes, and boiled them up for the birds, and some Lasagne sheets (well out of date) broken into little pieces too. They have had fresh water in the drinking/washing bowl under the patio table. This and the two manky old chairs were going to be recycled in the autumn, but we never got around to it, are now proving useful as feeding stations, and the only snow-free area is under the table, which is where I have put a big pan of water.

One of the Redwings looking puffed up against the cold.

Blue tits and a Sparrow on the nut nets and seed feeder. There are normally 10 or a dozen birds on or around each feeder. Lots of Chaffinches underneath and a Pied Wagtail too. Plus a Robin near the house.

Hen Blackbird versus Redwing versus Starling! That's the fish pond they're on . . .

One Fieldfare has been here all morning, glad of scabby old apples to peck at.

An assortment of birds pecking at the seed and apples I put out for them.

A "clattering" of Jackdaws! When they arrived, all the other birds scarpered . . . They are fascinating to watch, as there is a very definite pecking order, with the lower birds prostrating themselves to the higher ranking ones, heads down, wings spread. I have seen them punishing and attacking bird (summer months usually) for some misdemeanor, harrying it through the woodland with an incredible angry screeching. Whether it is a bird from a different territory or it has transgressed mightily, I don't know.

And then the starlings arrived. We NEVER have them in the garden - obviously the feeding frenzy brought them in. We had a big roost of them last winter, but just staying a few nights in the ash and oak trees down the hill. Then they flew south.


  1. Hullo BB,

    Been doing the same up here with feeders and the stored apple crop, fresh water etc.

  2. Doing the same here. Also whilst walking the dogs across the fields I have come across in much the same area/hedgerow a robin and his partner and they look so desperately hungry so now taking food with me to feed them on each walk... and hopefully some other birds that may get a look in......

  3. Well done Aromatic, though I fear you will have to keep this up all winter ow as the birds will be waiting around for you to feed them. We have had a Robin on the doorstep this afternoon, where I had spilt some seed.

    Al - I am sure there are plenty of us doing the same during this bad weather. Do you have anything interesting come to feed? We have no Blackcaps here, but down at my neighbour's, one came to feed as we stood talking.

  4. I am interested in the birdie menu--I've been using a commercial mix, should maybe expand the offereings. Just ready to post about the bird situation here, as we have a new visitor.
    What a winter--ours started with that first snow in October!

  5. I need to put some bird feed out, our feeder is empty. I enjoy watching the birdies too.

  6. BB,

    Nothing unusual up here but lots of friendly faces looking glad of a meal. Seeing a lot more variety than normal as some birds have come in from the country perhaps to look around the village but nothing exceptional.

    The crows are greedy buggers though and chase the others away when they can. Glad of the hanging feeders which they cant use.

    keep warm,


  7. Great photos of your birds. I made a bird pudding today, which they loved, and have another one ready for tomorrow. An out of date box of porridge oats, some old flax seeds, grated cheese and currants are soaking overnight.

    We had three starlings in today but the blackbirds were not sharing the bird table!