Bird Food Blog Fri, 23 Apr 2021 00:00:00 GMT en hourly 1 That's new Thurs, 18 Mar 2021 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community The birds have had a new deep tray for a bird bath and water dish for about 10 days now and it’s taken them quite a while to pluck up courage to use it. The birds have had a new deep tray for a bird bath and water dish for about 10 days now and it’s taken them quite a while to pluck up courage to use it.<br/>The first bird that I saw having a drink was a starling and now some of the feral pigeons have followed suit. A few of them though are still a little bit wary, going over to it, looking and thinking, no not sure that&rsquo;s new and then walking away. Others who may be following have done the same. I&rsquo;m hoping that they will enjoy it and that there is enough room for them to have a bath as well should they wish, as before they had a seed tray sized gravel tray which I really needed back in my greenhouse. The magpies and blackbirds have certainly been making good use of the other multi-level bird bath dish that is down in the flowerbed at the bottom of the garden.<br /> <br /> It has been like rush-hour at the feeders over recent days and yesterday afternoon two groups of sparrows flew across the garden and went into my cobnut to have their last food of the day from the feeder. This morning I was watching a starling sitting on the suet log and yesterday a jackdaw was reaching to have some of the suet as well, but as the log is fairly low again, it was finding it a little bit difficult as every enthusiastic jackdaw peck meant that it was swinging almost out of reach.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Thats New" src="" /></div> <br /> The blackbirds have been very busy in the garden coming as a pair and I think occasionally a second pair, so I can only assume that they are now into their nest building and egg laying season. My picture this week is of the blackbird pair on the lawn pecking around on the ground below the bird table. They do occasionally go on the suet balls and suet square and into the bird table but generally they are of course ground feeders.<br /> <br /> Something else to which I can say, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s new&rsquo; or rather I should say new for this year, is a chaffinch and I have seen at least one in the garden in the last week or so and it will be nice if a few more returned. A few years ago they outnumbered the sparrows but I had not seen any for a couple of years. I&rsquo;ve not seen greenfinches in the garden for many years now and bullfinches for probably over thirty, but they were wiped in the Kent countryside as farmers thought they were destroying the fruit blossom. Not much fruit growing is left in my area of Kent now, certainly in terms of fruit orchards, as more and more housing is being built. I read the other day that greenfinches can become ill because of contaminated food and I do always try to keep my feeders and the food area as clean as possible, although the food itself is rarely left behind to go off as it were.<br /> <br /> There&rsquo;s been the usual mix of birds during this past week, the feral pigeons, the jackdaws in their group, several magpies, collared doves, four wood pigeons, a visit by a crow again on a couple of occasions, blue tits, great tits and coal tits, as well as the robins and birds already mentioned. This morning a wren was hopping about in some of the containers near the house for several minutes. I&rsquo;m sure the diversity is helped by the woodland that is less than half a mile away from where I live and then the ground runs into the countryside that remains close to the North Downs. I was saddened to read a couple of weeks ago that the remaining area of woodland, some of it ancient, is being sold and I can only expect it will go to development, having been eroded over recent years. That would be great shame as I&rsquo;m sure that some of the birds, such as the woodpeckers and jays and so forth probably live there. In spring it is filled with lesser celandines and bluebells.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 That's more like it Thurs, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community I’ve mentioned in my blogs before that I have a small seed tray size gravel tray down on the lawn for the birds to use as a birdbath. I’ve mentioned in my blogs before that I have a small seed tray size gravel tray down on the lawn for the birds to use as a birdbath.<br/>As the most frequent users are the feral pigeons, the water tends to get depleted during the day, but I noticed that the water was disappearing much more quickly even when I had just filled it up. Lo and behold of course there was a crack in the corner of the tray and so it was leaking water and this was probably a result of it being frozen solid back in the colder weather in February. I have replaced it now and I think the pigeons have been saying, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s more like it&rsquo; as they have a decent depth of water to bathe in and I have thought something similar. There have been one or two very enthusiastic bathers over the last couple of days and then often means a little queue builds up, as one is having a lovely bath and a few more really want to get in and have a drink. It is interesting to watch them when they&rsquo;re drinking as some go for the sit on the rim approach and then duck their heads down and have some water, whereas others step in even if they&rsquo;re just having a drink. Some of the smaller birds I&rsquo;ve noticed have also been making use of the tray including starlings who sit on the rim and drink and also the odd sparrow.<br /> <br /> I have a second birdbath in the flowerbed down the garden which is a bit more secluded and that tends to be used by the blackbirds for drinking and bathing and the other day by a magpie for a drink. I think the robins probably make good use of that one as well. In the last week I&rsquo;ve bought some new big round saucers for birdbaths with some money I was given at Christmas. I will be putting those into use as well or at least will put one or two of them out and perhaps keep the third in reserve for when the first ones need cleaning. I can then have my gravel tray back!<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="That's more like it" src="" /></div> <br /> There has been lots of activity in the garden during the past week with several blackbirds both collecting nesting material and grubs from the lawn, which are probably about a bit more now as it&rsquo;s both not so cold and we&rsquo;ve had a bit of rain. I&rsquo;ve also had a number of blue tits, great tits and even a coal tit coming to the peanuts or suet logs. When one of the logs becomes a bit low I usually hang a fresh one alongside it and the blue tits were saying &lsquo;That&rsquo;s more like it&rsquo; this morning, as two of them arrived and had a log each to feed from. A jackdaw managed to perch on a branch in the cobnut the other day to feed from the new log, which was further along the branch, by leaning well forward so probably also thought &lsquo;That&rsquo;s more like it. I can reach this one&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m still getting a number of the jackdaws and several magpies and one of the magpies features in my picture this week. It&rsquo;s amazing how quickly they will appear if anything unusual is put out at the bird table, such as some chopped scraps of meat, cheese or brown bread. I&rsquo;m sure there must be a look out as soon as that happens either a jackdaw or a magpie will come down or a blackbird will hop across the grass.<br /> <br /> The sparrows seem to be busy still in their little flock and no doubt the starlings will soon be collecting their nesting materials as well. I&rsquo;m not sure if the local starling group will be able to roost in the roof a couple of doors away from me, as the owner has had some roof repairs done and was talking about having the hole blocked off, as they were making a bit of a mess in the roof space. I think the sparrows are certainly going to be able to roost in my neighbour&rsquo;s roof as that seems to be the direction they are going with their nesting materials.<br /> <br /> So all in all it has been a busy week with the birds and spring is certainly showing her hand now with the last of the crocuses, the daffodils, primroses and polyanthus in bloom and new shoots appearing on the bushes.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 The Story of Daphne and the other birds Thurs, 04 Mar 2021 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community In my blog last week I mentioned the sparrows collecting material for their nest building and other birds have been doing the same during the past week. In my blog last week I mentioned the sparrows collecting material for their nest building and other birds have been doing the same during the past week.<br/>A couple of days ago a magpie went off with a long curved twig and seem quite pleased with the find as it was going to wherever they&rsquo;re building their nests. The blackbirds have been hopping about on the lawn too and a female was collecting moss, so there are some advantages of having a garden that&rsquo;s not pristine, and I&rsquo;m sure that will make a lovely lining for a nest.<br /> <br /> It has been milder recently but the last couple of days have been colder again with some overnight frosts. The number of birds certainly seems to be increasing and there are longer hours for them to be eating, so food consumption has increased.The wood pigeons are coming in threes and fours now and I&rsquo;m still seeing the magpies round and about and as I&rsquo;m writing this three are sitting on the roof and the television aerials at the house at the back of me. The collared doves are also coming in twos and fours and are bolder, mixing in with the feral pigeons and jackdaws for food, rather than waiting for them to leave the bird table or feeders.<br /> <br /> I have had a good collection of birds in the garden this week, the feral pigeons, wood pigeons and collared doves that I&rsquo;ve just mentioned, blue tits, great tits, a little group of robins, sparrows, a wren, magpies, jackdaws and blackbirds. One thing I&rsquo;ve not seen in recent months is the long-tailed tits and I was surprised that they didn&rsquo;t arrive when the weather was much colder with the snow on the ground last month. It will certainly be interesting watching the birds over the coming few weeks and months as the youngsters arrive in the garden. The robins have been enjoying their mealworms.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Daphnie" src="" /></div> <br /> A story I have not related in my blogs over the past few weeks is an injured pigeon that I&rsquo;ve been looking after since Christmas. She was with me under supervision for almost 10 weeks to the point that a friend of mine named her Daphne. I think it was a window strike on Christmas Eve as she was wandering around on my patio and seemed to be unable to fly off when the others had left for the day. She then disappeared and I thought she was possibly dazed and had managed to take off but she reappeared late on Boxing Day sitting beside my wheelie bins. I left her to her own devices for a few days as she was spending some time running around on my lawn and feeding with the other birds and going behind my wheelie bins at night. I did wonder if she was safe enough doing that as I have a fox coming through the garden most nights so when I had to move my wheelie bins for collection, I decided she was too vulnerable and so picked her up and put her into an animal carrier basket in my greenhouse for the night. That continued for a couple of weeks with me catching her in the evening and putting her inside and then she would pop out of the basket at the beginning of the day and spend time beside the greenhouse. More recently I have left to have free roam in part of the greenhouse, which I had blocked off for her use, with food and water at night. I just opened the door in the morning and let her come and go as she pleased. Initially she only come out for a couple of hours but more recently has been spending most of the day outside but would take herself to bed as it were when the other pigeons left the garden for the day, settling on a piece of wood raised on bricks.<br /> <br /> Last Friday I had a big fright as I saw a sparrow hawk dive down and thought it had taken Daphne, as I saw her fluttering around on the grass shortly before and did not see her afterwards, but to my great surprise and relief, she reappeared on Monday morning. I then didn&rsquo;t see her again on Tuesday but was pretty sure that she&rsquo;d flown off on Monday evening to a neighbouring roof with a good run up from my lawn to clear the fence, as she flies fairly low initially, which at least meant she was safe from foxes or cats. She returned again yesterday and is now able to fly in short bursts, taking a rest between and it seems after a preliminary flutter to check her wings. She will then come down during the day mix with the other birds for a while to have a bit of food or spend time behind a forklift truck pallet beside the greenhouse, as you can see in the picture. It&rsquo;s taken almost 10 weeks but she&rsquo;s almost back to herself although in a way I&rsquo;m quite sad that she won&rsquo;t be quite as much as part of my life as she has been, but she is a wild animal and if she is now able to fend for herself again that is good news and hopefully she will still come for food or a rest.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 Spring has sprung Thurs, 25 Feb 2021 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community During the past week the weather has certainly been spring-like with temperatures around 15 or 16 Celsius, around the 60 Fahrenheit mark, although overnight it’s still a little bit chilly. During the past week the weather has certainly been spring-like with temperatures around 15 or 16 Celsius, around the 60 Fahrenheit mark, although overnight it’s still a little bit chilly.<br/>The spring bulbs have certainly put on a spurt along with some of the other spring flowers in the last week or two. The birds in the garden I think are also getting ready for spring and this morning I was watching a few sparrows sitting on the low fence between my garden and the house next door with nesting materials in their beaks, as they roost in my next door neighbour&rsquo;s eaves.<br /> <br /> While I was having my breakfast this morning I was watching one of the blackbirds having a bath in their bird bath tray in the flowerbed down the garden and he was probably pleased that I&rsquo;d replenished it with fresh water yesterday evening. The pigeons have certainly been making use of their bird bath facility, both having ablutions and nice drinks. I often think when they are gathered together and several of them take it in turns to queue and have a drink, that it&rsquo;s almost like us in an office environment standing around for a chat by the water chiller.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Magpie" src="" /></div> <br /> During the past week I have been doing some more work in the garden and I&rsquo;ve had a couple of sessions digging over my vegetable plot, which was certainly appreciated by at least one of the robins, who came and sat on the compost bin and then was diving down to pick up some bugs and grubs. Later in the day when the blackbirds were almost the only birds in the garden, I saw one of them hopping about in the vegetable plot and digging for some food. The robins have also been making use of the seed feeder and beggars&rsquo; banquet food, which I scatter in the tray together with some mealworms, which they also seem to enjoy. I make sure that gets topped up in the morning, towards dusk and probably at midday too, as the starlings and pigeons have cottoned on to their being an easy source of food. The robins can have a tasty snack that way before leaving for the day.<br /> <br /> I think there are generally more birds about now but not necessarily different types and one of the magpie group has worked out that by landing in the cobnut tree and working its way down one of the branches, that it is able to reach the suet log, which I think has slid a little bit down the branch. It&rsquo;s only able to take a couple of pecks and not actually land on it, but it&rsquo;s clearly been sitting watching and has worked it out. I think the feral pigeons and the wood pigeons would also like to have a go, but haven&rsquo;t as yet tried! My picture is of the magpie after its snack.<br /> <br /> There is definitely a routine to the birds with the feral pigeons now arriving in the garden around about 7 o&rsquo;clock, or at least the first wave of them and then a different group will arrive around lunchtime and then a smaller group will appear about 3 o&rsquo;clock. Although I&rsquo;m sure there is some overlap in the groups, there are some distinctive coloured birds, as I&rsquo;ve mentioned before, so there are different birds at different times. The blackbirds are certainly around early and late as are the robins and the collared doves tend to come in pairs when most of the activity has started to wane. The wood pigeons are finishing off the last of the ivy berries, but I think the pickings are now pretty scarce and they are definitely onto the most difficult berries to reach, so I&rsquo;m not sure that they are taking very much food that way. The jackdaws have been coming as well generally as a group of four, but I&rsquo;ve noticed that with the current group, they have been tending to eat on the ground or from the bird table. Having said that, the suet balls are being consumed more quickly and they have been eating those with enthusiasm.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 Normal service is resumed Fri, 19 Feb 2021 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community Last week was very cold in Kent with snow on the ground from the Sunday afternoon through until the following Sunday. Last week was very cold in Kent with snow on the ground from the Sunday afternoon through until the following Sunday.<br/>The birds were more plentiful as it was very cold but I think were slightly perplexed by the frozen bird bath, although I did try to keep it replaced with water as much as possible through the day and they seemed confused by the snow on the ground too. A pigeon is shown in my picture this week amidst the snowy garden scene. However, this week has seen normal service resume and the birds have been making full use of the bird bath facilities. On Monday a blackbird was having a lovely wash in their ground-based birdbath down the garden and spent several minutes having a good bath. The pigeons and starlings have certainly been making use of their normal bird bath tray for a drink and I imagine they are pleased that the weather is not so cold. I did wonder one day whether a pigeon who was having a bath when the temperature was well below freezing was going to end up coated in ice, but it was alright.<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;ve not seen the redwings in the garden for the last five or so days but I think as they have just about consumed all the holly and ivy berries that was to be expected. Having said that though, two wood pigeons are sitting in the branches of my cobnut and the top of a buddleia bush this afternoon to pick some of the ivy berries that are on overhanging stems. It&rsquo;s quite amusing watching them bobbing up and down on the branches and then diving for some of the berries.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Snow and Pigeon" src="" /></div> <br /> The robins have been busy hopping about on the path and were clearing up the last of the food that I had scattered around under the seed feeder when there was snow on the ground and of course it&rsquo;s now completely uncovered. Normal service is resumed for them as well but they do use the tray under the seed feeder too, in which I scatter various morsels including now some dried mealworms. The longer days mean that the first birds arrive in the garden not long after 7 am and the last ones can be there now at almost 5 pm as far as the bird table is concerned, although I might see robins and blackbirds even later than that. The garden is certainly looking as if spring is not too far away as some of the crocuses and snowdrops have emerged from under the snow cover and the first of the daffodils are now in bloom. I think the birds realise that better weather is on the way as the male feral pigeons have been engaging in their courting rituals with the females this week.<br /> <br /> A while back I was not seeing very many magpies and even now I probably only see one at a time in the garden, but there were four on a neighbour&rsquo;s roof the other afternoon, so they are still around and about. Apart from that it&rsquo;s been a fairly regular week with the usual visitors blackbirds, robins, jackdaws, feral pigeons, collared doves, sparrows, blue tits and great tits coming at various times and sitting in various bushes and trees and feeding at various feeders. I&rsquo;m sure food consumption will be increasing in the coming weeks as the days lengthen even further and of course in probably less than a couple of months, there will be extra beaks to feed.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 Do I need a bigger bird table? Thurs, 11 Feb 2021 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community 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. 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.<br/>It&rsquo;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.<br /> <br /> This week though I&rsquo;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&rsquo;s just as well that it didn&rsquo;t try going inside the table as I think it would&rsquo;ve got stuck, so perhaps I need to get a bigger bird table?<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Gull" src="" /></div> <br /> I&rsquo;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&rsquo;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&rsquo;m beginning to think that&rsquo;s another reason for getting a bigger bird table!<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;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, &lsquo;Ah, is there any water?, had a drink and walk backed to its mates and I almost imagined it saying to the others, &lsquo;Go over there, the water&rsquo;s back&rsquo;. Another one went over and decided to have a bath but I&rsquo;m not sure that was perhaps the best idea as it was still very cold, but as it&rsquo;s been bright and sunny I&rsquo;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.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson. 0