Bird Food Blog https://www.haiths.com/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT https://www.haiths.com/ en hourly 1 Get to know your garden birds from the comfort of an armchair https://www.haiths.com/get-to-know-your-garden-birds-from-the-comfort-of-an-armchair/ https://www.haiths.com/get-to-know-your-garden-birds-from-the-comfort-of-an-armchair/#comments Weds, 24 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community https://www.haiths.com/get-to-know-your-garden-birds-from-the-comfort-of-an-armchair/ Bird watching is easier than we may think while we are staying safely at home. And - let's face it - we can’t get much closer to home and nature than sitting in the comfort of an armchair with a cup of tea watching the birds that visit our garden. Bird watching is easier than we may think while we are staying safely at home. And - let's face it - we can’t get much closer to home and nature than sitting in the comfort of an armchair with a cup of tea watching the birds that visit our garden.<br/><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Starlings" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/starlings.jpg" /><br /> <br /> <img alt="More starlings" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/More-starlings.jpg" /></div> <br /> Garden bird watching is a brilliant way to observe the birds and to help learn to identify the different species and study their actions. Our gardens are often perfect places for birds to feed, nest and bathe in - whilst several species may only use our gardens on a seasonal basis, some have become regular visitors year in year out, such as Robins, Wrens, sparrows, woodpeckers, blackcaps and chaffinches.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Roase Hip" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/Rose-hip.jpg" /></div> <br /> A lot of nature lovers will feed the birds regular hopefully and ideally providing a range of good clean dust-free seed mixes either on a bird table or hanging and ground feeders, which will encourage different species that may not have visited our gardens before.<br /> <br /> Additionally, planting shrubs or bushes also provide safety for birds to nest in and can provide natural food too such as berries, insects and even fallen fruits, even the smallest of gardens can help give birds sanctuary and attract new ones into your garden.<br /> <br /> If you&#39;re feeding and watching the wild birds, why not have a notebook and pen handy to write down the different species that visit and what they tuck into when they are there. Also to help identify the garden birds that come into your garden why not visit Haith&rsquo;s website which has a bird food and bird guide to help you identify them by clicking onto this link <strong><a href="https://www.haiths.com/bird-food-shop-by-bird/">https://www.haiths.com/bird-food-shop-by-bird/</a></strong><br /> <br /> By taking this step you will find that the more you learn about garden birds and their behaviour the more you will want to learn and get involved, and you can do all this without even leaving your home. Young and old are encouraged to get involved by watching the birds in the garden as it is good for our health and well-being and an experience you will not want to miss. <div style="text-align: center;"><br /> <img alt="Garden birds" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/Garden-birds(2).jpg" /></div> <br /> Wtritten by Chris Smith 0 Armchair Naturalist - Working it out https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-working-it-out/ https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-working-it-out/#comments Weds, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-working-it-out/ Activity continues to be brisk at my bird feeders, which is probably the biggest understatement of the year. The starlings have been bringing more and more youngsters to the feeders and in the last couple of days, I’ve counted in excess of 30 in the garden at one time, which probably means they’re even more than that and that’s not counting the adult birds. Activity continues to be brisk at my bird feeders, which is probably the biggest understatement of the year. The starlings have been bringing more and more youngsters to the feeders and in the last couple of days, I’ve counted in excess of 30 in the garden at one time, which probably means they’re even more than that and that’s not counting the adult birds.<br/>They seem to have a routine of a few of them arriving in the morning on the suet balls and squares, then they return again around lunchtime and in greater numbers between 4 and 6 o&rsquo;clock or so in the evening. The parents are still keeping an eye on them but it would be true to say that they are working it out in terms of where the food supplies are, how to access them and darting around on the lawn looking for insects and so on. It&rsquo;s interesting to watch them running about and particularly when they go in hot pursuit of a parent, or commentary on some occasions a feral pigeon.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Working it out" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/working-it-out.jpg" /></div> <br /> I&rsquo;ve noticed that in the past week the starling parents tend to sit in the tree or on the top of the dead tree where I hang my feeders and keep a watchful eye on the youngsters. It&rsquo;s as if they&rsquo;re saying about the food, &lsquo;They&rsquo;re working it out&rsquo;. A few are still being fed by their parents. If they become spooked by something, which usually means one of the feral pigeons has seen something and they all fly off, the young starlings take refuge in the large conifer that I have at the bottom of my garden. It is almost like Dr Who&#39;s Tardis to some extent, as I see a few birds sitting on the edge of the branches, they fly down and then more and more fly out from within the tree. One or two have ventured across onto the seed feeder, but haven&rsquo;t worked out how they can get the food out and I think are just taking the opportunity to pick up any seeds the other birds have dropped into the seed collecting tray. I certainly think having a tray under a seed feeder is a good idea, as it saves the mess on the ground and also the possibility of rats coming for dropped food. Of course, it also provides an extra perching area and the larger birds take advantage of that, although when the feeder swings in the wind they do have a bit of a rough ride. My photograph for this week is of two collared doves sitting on the tray and pecking the seed from the feeding ports.<br /> <br /> There is a lot of other activity in the garden to report this week with parent birds and potential youngsters. I saw a blue tit with at least one baby yesterday and the blue tits and great tits are coming and taking bugs from my honeysuckle, which this year is absolutely covered in aphids, I guess because of the dry weather, so I don&rsquo;t think it will flower properly as a result. The sparrows have also been taking advantage of that and making frequent trips to and fro. A pair of robins seem to be nesting next door in a bush and they are coming down together collecting food and returning, so there should be some youngsters there too. Last week I reported that the jackdaws had probably not done too well with their brood of youngsters, with them possibly being taken by a crow, but it appears that the two jackdaws who nest in my old chimney pot have at least one if not two and this has certainly been a lot of squawking going on or should that be cackling?<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;ve only seen one young blackbird so far this year as I have a pair of blackbirds coming into the garden regularly. I mentioned the two collared doves and until about 2007, collared doves were the most and highest numbered visitors in the garden as far as larger birds were concerned and it would not be unusual in the winter to have in excess of 20 in the tree waiting to come to the bird table. However, the feral pigeons seem to have taken over in that respect and there are only a couple of pairs of collared doves coming regularly into my garden and also to a neighbour&rsquo;s bird table.<br /> <br /> Activity continues a pace at the bird bath which is mainly used by the feral pigeons as I have commented before for their ablutions, but the young starlings have also been working it out and have decided that it&rsquo;s a good place for a drink. I often wonder what they might be thinking to themselves as they run across, as one seems to follow another as much to say, &lsquo;Where&rsquo;s he going? Oh, that&rsquo;s a good idea&rsquo;. So there is still plenty to occupy me looking out the window at the birds and long may it continue, assuming I can keep up with the demands for food.<br /> <br /> Another wildlife sighting the other evening was a bat flying around the front garden just after sunset. I didn&rsquo;t draw my curtains particularly early as it was a lovely sunset and a light evening and one of my armchairs faces the setting sun. I see the bats generally at this time of year when I guess I&rsquo;m drawing my curtains latest, but there&rsquo;s generally only one or two of them about. I&rsquo;ve no idea where they come from and they are only there for a short time.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 Armchair Naturalist - Please stay still! https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-please-stay-still/ https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-please-stay-still/#comments Tues, 16 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-please-stay-still/ It has been an interesting week as always watching the birds in the garden and as I mentioned the other week, the first of the young birds are appearing. It has been an interesting week as always watching the birds in the garden and as I mentioned the other week, the first of the young birds are appearing.<br/>There is a flock of about eight adult starlings and they&rsquo;ve been roosting in a neighbour&rsquo;s roof space and it has proved very difficult counting the number of youngsters that are coming with the adult birds, as they keep darting around. I did say to them through the window, &lsquo;Please stay still!&rsquo; Looking down the garden a few days ago there was a big huddle of birds and I soon lost count as they were all moving about, but there are least 16 youngsters, as I tried to count them again yesterday.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="My Garden" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/Garden.jpg" /></div> <br /> My picture this week shows the scene at the bottom of the garden a few days ago. It&rsquo;s possible of course that there are even more youngsters as they won&rsquo;t necessarily all come at the same time. I am pleased to say that the parent birds have been showing them where the pigeons have their birdbath tray and they have certainly been using it well. Some sparrows are nesting in my neighbour&#39;s roof space and so far have brought along two youngsters to the feeder, but as it is not in full sight of my dining room window, where I&rsquo;m often working on the table, there may have been some more. It&rsquo;s not going to be long before the blue tits and great tits bring along their youngsters, as they are also making frequent visits to and from the suet squares and fat balls early and late in the day when it&rsquo;s not so busy.<br /> <br /> The birds continue to amuse me with their antics and a wood pigeon the other afternoon had landed on a fairly thin cobnut branch. When the pigeon landed on the branch it dropped down but then two feral pigeons decided to sit at the other end of the branch so they dropped even lower. The wood pigeon was probably thinking, please stay still! However, the wood pigeon had the last laugh as he or she then flew off and almost like a funny scene in a cartoon, the feral pigeons suddenly went up into the air so they probably wanted to say, please stay still!<br /> <br /> Sadly, as far as youngsters are concerned, the pair of jackdaws nesting in my disused chimney pot up on the roof seem to have fared less well. They have been using it as a roost for over a year now and I think the large crow that had been visiting in the last few weeks has unfortunately raided the nest. The jackdaw numbers are down as 6 or 8 were coming in the winter but it just seems to be four now. The crow still comes on the lawn strutting about and the other birds usually make a quick dash for the trees or the house roof or make a circuit, in formation, across several gardens. I have two collared doves and a pair of blackbirds coming into the garden as well but no sign of any young and the goldfinches were back the other afternoon.<br /> <br /> Filling the feeders and the birdbaths is almost a full-time job at the moment, as it is amazing how quickly the pigeons managed to empty their birdbath, but when six or eight of them have had their morning ablutions followed by a quick sunbathe on the lawn, it&rsquo;s no wonder. The suet balls and suet squares seem to be the favourite food at the moment for the larger birds and the starlings, while the sparrows and other assorted smaller birds are tending to favour either the peanut feeder or the seed feeder in another tree. The peanuts don&rsquo;t go down at a particularly fast rate unless of course, the squirrel has been along. It looks as if I now have at least one young squirrel visiting, who is quite nervous at the moment and dashes across the garden and into one of the trees at the slightest sign of anything moving. Please stay still!<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 Armchair Naturalist - Strange goings-on https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-strange-goings-on/ https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-strange-goings-on/#comments Tues, 16 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-strange-goings-on/ My neighbour’s house has for many years been the home for a small group of house sparrows, noisy, bolshy and entertaining. My neighbour’s house has for many years been the home for a small group of house sparrows, noisy, bolshy and entertaining.<br/><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="House sparrow" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/House-sparrows.jpg" /></div> <br /> They (the house sparrows) usually start quite early getting their home suitable for their annual brood.<br /> <br /> A few weeks later, my annual visit of House Martins arrived and I set about repairing and modifying last year&#39;s nest for their occupation.<br /> <br /> All went well for a while and both sparrows and House Martins produced several offspring. (The human houses are roughly 10&#39; (imperial) apart).<br /> <br /> Evenings were a joy for me, with twittering by House Martins (bird world bedtime stories), absolutely fabulous birds.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="House Martins" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/House-Martin(1).jpg" /></div> <br /> The young of both species were growing and space decreasing for both families.<br /> <br /> A few days later the sparrows were becoming quite agitated over something and were kicking up a rumpus, the males especially. I found a seat and decided to find out what was going on!!<br /> <br /> And did I get a shock. The House Sparrow flew on to the flat wall face of my house, about two metres below the House Martin nest, climbed the remaining distance and into their nest. I don&#39;t need to explain what happened next, nor what happened to my family of House Martins. Both parents and three babies were killed. Within a day or two, the male sparrow moved in and had created a hole in the bottom of the House Martin nest for access. one of the Sparrows was still lodging there in January of this year.<br /> <br /> I am now waiting to see if the sparrows will nest there - probably not but neither do I expect a new House Martin to arrive.<br /> <br /> After years of these two species, seemingly to live in peace together, I wonder what went wrong, or perhaps this is a regular occurrence&hellip;<br /> <br /> <strong><u>Update 9th May:</u></strong><br /> <br /> Further interesting goings-on at House Martin villa, much to my surprise and delight I was amazed yesterday when three Martins visited the semi-destroyed nest from last year. All three were there for quite a while, I know the female is fussy where she has her home. I am now waiting to see what happens next. Hopefully, a new nest full of young Martins.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Blue Tit" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/Blue-Tit(9).jpg" /></div> <br /> Blue Tit family are busy, looking forward to seeing the babies fledge.<br /> <br /> One worrying thing this year, my garden is full of wild geraniums and other nectar laden flowers for the bees, and there are very few bumblebees and hive bees, hopefully, this will change.<br /> <br /> If there is one good thing to emerge from this COVID horror, is that the human race will come to its senses and stop poisoning this fabulous planet that we all live on.<br /> <br /> <strong><u>Further update 22nd May:</u></strong><br /> <br /> The latest on my House Martins is that they did arrive at their nesting site on the side of my house, much to my delight. They have reared families for a few years, and they are a joy to observe. I quietly observed them for a couple of days, and they were busy repairing and making ready for a new family. But unfortunately, the sparrows arrived and recreated the hole in the bottom of the nest, making it impossible for the House Martins to continue with their repairs. What happens now I wait to find out, but I doubt if I will have any House Martins.<br /> <br /> Best wishes to you all and stay safe.<br /> <br /> Elizabeth 0 One for All - A firm favourite of Great Spotted Woodpeckers https://www.haiths.com/one-for-all-a-firm-favourite-of-great-spotted-woodpeckers/ https://www.haiths.com/one-for-all-a-firm-favourite-of-great-spotted-woodpeckers/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT Simon H. King https://www.haiths.com/one-for-all-a-firm-favourite-of-great-spotted-woodpeckers/ What a few weeks it's been since I last wrote to you; I'm so very proud of the entire Haith's team for remaining agile during the COVID-19 crisis and sticking true to our objective to 'make better things.' What a few weeks it's been since I last wrote to you; I'm so very proud of the entire Haith's team for remaining agile during the COVID-19 crisis and sticking true to our objective to 'make better things.'<br/>It&#39;s this constant drive for improvement that runs through the business and I hope we&#39;ve served you well during our communal annus horribilis.<br /> <br /> Challenging as the year has been it&#39;s been thrilling to see more and more of us (people who care about the natural world) connecting with others through nature. Earlier this year, we invited our customers to become an &#39;Armchair Naturalist&#39; and to share their thoughts and wildlife observations with others via our blog. The blog posts we&#39;ve received have one thing in common - nature can show us the way if we just take a moment or two to observe and listen.<br /> <br /> In my garden, the premium seed mix (&#39;<a href="https://www.haiths.com/one-for-all-super-high-energy-no-mess-seed-mix/">One for All</a>&#39;) I created last year continues to work beyond my original aspirations and is taken by every garden bird who&#39;s appeared on the feeder or bird table. If I have a favourite, it&#39;s the Great Spotted Woodpeckers which grace us with their swashbuckling antics daily. Here&#39;s a short video of a recent encounter - squirrel versus Great Spotted Woodpecker on the bird table. I think you&#39;ll be able to guess who wins; however, it wasn&#39;t long before the Great Spotted was back feeding:<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2Or4chwyEdk?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></div> <br /> If you haven&#39;t tried <a href="https://www.haiths.com/one-for-all-super-high-energy-no-mess-seed-mix/">One for All</a> yet, I encourage you to give it a try in your garden - and we&#39;re encouraging you to do so with a 10% reduction across all weights over the next 14 days. (offer expires 26/06/20)<br /> <br /> <a href="https://www.haiths.com/one-for-all-super-high-energy-no-mess-seed-mix/"> <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="One for all" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/One-for-All(10).jpg" /></a></div> 0 Armchair Naturalist - Woods versus forests https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-woods-versus-forests/ https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-woods-versus-forests/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT Angela https://www.haiths.com/armchair-naturalist-woods-versus-forests/ It is always very important to remember how diverse and important our forests and woods are. They are packed full of flora, fungi and fauna as well as having huge environmental value. It is always very important to remember how diverse and important our forests and woods are. They are packed full of flora, fungi and fauna as well as having huge environmental value.<br/>Nowadays the word &lsquo;forest&rsquo; implies an area of wooded land, but it has not always been so. The medieval meaning was &lsquo;preserve&rsquo; - land that was legally kept for specific purposes, like royal hunting. Forests, therefore, were enormous areas of land and covered much of the UK. These green spaces were large enough to house wolves and deer for hunting. Sadly, many of these forests have shrunk in size, but places like Sherwood Forest are reminders of what our countryside once looked like.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Forest" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/FOREST.jpg" /></div> <br /> Woodland is also considered to be an area covered with vegetation and trees but here in the UK, woods are not as big as forests.<br /> <br /> Urban woodland can often be found in towns and cities usually within parks. These have generally been created for the benefit of humans. Children especially can learn scientific and social skills in woods and forests, but they are there for all of us to enjoy.<br /> <br /> Ancient woodlands are the most important of them all. They are classed as areas of woodland that have been in the position since the 1600s. This is when maps became more accurate and indicated masses of wooded areas that remained untouched for hundreds of years. Left alone by humans, they have developed unique colonies of fungi, insects and plants, like wood anemone and small-leaved lime and not forgetting the strangely named lemon slug.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Anemone" src="http://www.haiths.com/images/blog/haiths/Anemone.jpg" /></div> <br /> Unfortunately, woodland bird populations are in decline, so we need to protect our woodland habitats now more than ever.<br /> <br /> Birds like the Blackcap, Bullfinch, and Nightingale as well as birds of prey such as the Barn Owl and Buzzard all favour these expanses of trees and leafy canopies.<br /> <br /> Also, animals such as badgers, deer, foxes and wild boar may consider this habitat &#39;home&#39; but - with proper land management and preserving these areas - we can all help to ensure that these treasure troves of our countryside are here for many more years to come. 0