Sunday, 22 November 2015
Feeding the birds, and some folks' idea of "frugal"
My bird feeders give me a lot of pleasure. I have two set up, each with nut nets and seed feeders. They are ALWAYS busy. Even before this colder weather (which still isn't that cold really) I had lots of visitors. The House Sparrows tend to use the front feeders. They are accompanied by Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Nuthatches (at least two coming and going) and Woody the Woodpecker (Greater Spotted variety). Robins will hoover up any fallen seed. This morning I was delighted to see Goldfinches had joined them, but they haven't been back since I topped up the feeders. On my birding friend Fiona's advice, I have stopped using the cheaper mixed feed and changed to sunflower hearts. There is NO waste with the sunflower hearts, whereas with the mixed seed the Tits were very fussy and would chuck out the rounder seed to get at the Sunflower seeds.
These are all old photos of the front feeders in action. As you can see from the photo above, there are LOTS of birds using it - I can count 11 in shot and there are normally swarms of others waiting in the wings, so to speak.
When the weather worsens (this is 2010 when we had significant snow), everybody wants to get in on the act. As we live beside a farm, there are plenty of farm Jackdaws looking for food. I know they have to eat, just as the smaller birds do, but they are bullies and ruffians, and not averse to hanging on the feeders, tipping them enough so that big amounts of seed falls to the ground for them.
2010 was a VERY cold winter. Birds were soon desperate. We had Visitor Blackbirds, Thrushes and the like "passing through" our valley, and they would be waiting in the bushes for first light and feed. I regularly counted 26 Blackbirds waiting, along with Thrushes, visiting Fieldfares and Redstarts, and the occasional Starling (they tend to be town birds in these parts, and we don't have many visiting here.)
The other feeding station is in the Damson tree in front of my kitchen window, where I do the washing up. The wee birds there have been doing themselves VERY well and look like they have been blown up with a bicycle pump, so fat are they! Mum would have said they had a big "corporation" (e.g. girth). I think they'll die of heart attacks at this rate. They comprise the occasional Sparrow, a mob of Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Nuthatches, Woody Woodpecker (or his friend) and this morning Goldfinches again.
As for the "frugal" part of my post. Over on Facebook I have started following a Frugal chat thread and cannot believe that someone can claim to be even minutely frugal would own up to owning SIXTY TWO (yup, you did read that correctly, 62) pairs of jeans. Some of the other threads have me sitting on my hands. A photo of crisps and sugary cereal at bargain prices, and nothing nutritional in sight! OK, I eat crisps, but daren't have a multipack even of 6 in the house, as temptation and a body's natural love of salt would be too tempting. Funny old world isn't it?