Bird Food Blog Mon, 28 Sept 2020 00:00:00 GMT en hourly 1 Armchair Naturalist - Is this branch taken? Tues, 18 Aug 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community The weather has been hot during the past week and especially so on Friday 31st July and so bird activity has been a little more muted during the last few days. The weather has been hot during the past week and especially so on Friday 31st July and so bird activity has been a little more muted during the last few days.<br/>The feral pigeons come first thing in the morning and then a smaller number will still be around in the hottest part of the day and a smaller group returns for their tea or evening meal later on. As I have mentioned before, there are distinctive birds so there are different groups coming at different times of the day. I&rsquo;m just looking out the window and the pigeon I called &#39;white wing&#39; has just arrived on the feeders, whereas earlier on this morning, it was a different white pigeon there. The activity near the bird feeders can become a little bit hectic when there is a large flock of feral pigeons around, plus other birds, and there can be some squabbling when they&rsquo;re trying to get to a particular feeder. &lsquo;Is this branch taken? I&rsquo;m coming on there anyway so move over.&rsquo;<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="IS THIS BRANCH TAKEN" src="" /></div> <br /> One visitor to the garden very briefly this week was a sparrow hawk but the pigeons soon flew off to do a circuit round and as far as I&rsquo;m aware, the Sparrowhawk went away hungry. I know it&rsquo;s only part of nature and the way things work, but it&rsquo;s not very nice to see them take a bird from the garden and then just find a large pile of feathers later on.<br /> <br /> Activity with the food may have declined slightly but I always make sure that the pigeons&rsquo; bird bath and the bird bath down the garden used by the sparrows, blackbirds and robins are well topped up. The other day the pigeons&rsquo; tray had become almost dry where they had been having a good session of ablutions. The other evening only about an hour before dusk a feral pigeon arrived on the bird table which was a little bit late, but it just flew down had a quick drink and then went off, so I guess it was having a much-needed drink before bedtime. On hot days I&rsquo;ve also noticed that birds, which have not had a bath, lay on the grass with their wings outstretched. I was watching a collared dove a short while ago doing exactly that and I&rsquo;ve also seen feral pigeons and blackbirds as well as starlings, sitting on the lawn doing a similar thing in the past. I guess they&rsquo;re spreading their wings to cool down a little bit.<br /> <br /> There&rsquo;s been very little starling activity during this past week as I imagine they&rsquo;re now off in the countryside eating berries and so forth. The blackbirds have been around early and late skipping about on the lawn and into the flower beds and there have been a couple of robins around and about as well, especially when some work has been done in the garden. I&rsquo;m not sure whether one of the robins is now changing into adult plumage, as its feathers look a little ruffled and not as bright red as normal, or whether it&rsquo;s a parent bird who is now becoming a little bit dishevelled from feeding youngsters. I mentioned the other week that the jackdaw visits are certainly fewer in number, but that&rsquo;s normal for this time of year, and I&rsquo;m not sure that they are sitting in the chimney pot as a roost at the moment either. I have seen a great tit and a blue tit during the week as well. The sparrows I think have given up finding any aphids on my roses or my sweet peas and I&rsquo;m guessing they are also now out in the countryside, which is less than half a mile away, and are finding plenty of food there but a few still come on the seed feeder.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s nice to see some collared doves in the garden and there is one pair who are now regular visitors again. My picture this week is of the two of them sitting on a branch, one having arrived and the second one coming along and saying, &lsquo;Is this branch taken?&rsquo; and sitting there as well. It&rsquo;s lovely to watch them or indeed any other birds in pairs, preening one another. The other day a wood pigeon was on the tray of the seed feeder, having a meal, and one of the collared doves arrived and did a double-take when they saw the wood pigeon. &lsquo;Is this branch taken? Yes, it is and that&rsquo;s not my mate!&lsquo;. The bird in question quickly flew off.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 Armchair Naturalist - Not the new normal Fri, 07 Aug 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community The new normal is an expression we are used to hearing concerning the pandemic and I began to wonder earlier this week if there was a new normal with the birds in the garden. The new normal is an expression we are used to hearing concerning the pandemic and I began to wonder earlier this week if there was a new normal with the birds in the garden.<br/>I usually have a good number of feral pigeons first thing in the morning who have some food and then go off for several hours, with some returning at lunchtime and then, as there are some distinctive birds, a fresh group arriving late afternoon and into the evening. Two mornings this week there were virtually no feral pigeons in the garden at all first thing and although I saw a few sitting on the roof, they seemed to be reluctant to come down to the dead tree where most of the bird feeders hang and to the bird table. I couldn&rsquo;t see anything in the garden such as a cat, but the birds were conspicuous by their absence and hadn&rsquo;t been eating before I was up and about, as all the suet ball and peanut feeders were still full from the previous evening&rsquo;s refill.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="not the new normal" src="" /></div> <br /> Later in the day a few [birds] appeared but were quite reticent about feeding, coming onto the dead tree or the top of the bird table but then not taking any of the food before flying off. Then another group appeared in the evening who were hungry. As I say this happened for a couple of mornings and I began to wonder what had happened. I do have a fox coming through the garden in the evening, around dusk, and one morning the fox was going off through the garden about eight in the morning and as soon as he disappeared, the feral pigeons turned up. So, I can only assume that it&rsquo;s not the new normal in that they have deserted me but that it was unsafe for them to land. A nearby house has also been having the roof replaced and with the scaffolding and quite a bit of noise, perhaps the flying zone was unsafe. This morning everything was back to normal with a group of ferals coming to the feeders, then going and coming and some of the later ones have just arrived.<br /> <br /> As I have mentioned before, there are some distinctive pigeons and the bird I call &#39;White Wing&#39;, who is predominantly white but has one black tail feather and some small black markings on its back and chest, has been joined by two other predominately white pigeons. One is 99 per cent white and the other has a black and white mottled tail and larger splodges of black on its back. I assume they are one family group.<br /> <br /> It was a lovely sight the other evening watching two wood pigeons sitting in a tree and pecking and preening one another. This morning I was watching a parent sparrow with a couple of youngsters making a trip to the feeders then feeding the youngsters. They have been quite busy coming to a large rose bush and into some of my other plants, presumably looking for aphids and they&rsquo;ve also been picking up seeds in the flower beds in the front garden and arriving as a little group, then all left pretty much together.<br /> <br /> I have seen the adult and immature blackbirds on the lawn as well as the starlings coming to the feeders en masse when it&rsquo;s been a colder day. At least two immature robins are hopping about and the adult birds. The surprise visitor of the week was a seagull. I often see them flying over and occasionally one will land on the roof, but I think they find landing in the garden a bit difficult as I&rsquo;ve got several trees, large bushes and shrubs. This time the seagull landed and I had thrown some meat scraps out which were intended for either the jackdaws, who are still coming but in slightly smaller numbers now, or the crows, but it was a tasty snack for the said seagull. I was lucky enough to be able to grab the picture which is attached to this blog. I usually find with the jackdaws that they do disappear around this time of year, possibly coming briefly early or late in the day and I have seen a few of them sitting up on the chimney ready to hop into their chimney pot home. The jackdaws will reappear in number once the weather starts to get colder heading into the winter. I&rsquo;ve not seen the large crow this week but at two youngsters have still been coming to the garden and mixing in with the pigeons and occasional jackdaws.<br /> <br /> As well as the birds, the two squirrels have been back in the garden this week. The larger squirrel who I&rsquo;m assuming is an adult, takes no notice of who is at the bird table or on the feeders, leaps up and has some peanuts. The second squirrel is much smaller and a youngster and tends to come near the bird table and if it&rsquo;s full of birds turns round again, runs off flicking its tail angrily. When all is quiet it will come back and have a peanut feast. The older one knows how to flip the top open on the feeder, which a few of the pigeons do as well including &#39;White Wing&#39;, but the youngster has yet to learn that trick.<br /> <br /> Written by Margaret Emerson 0 The Turtle Dove Weds, 22 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT Angela There cannot be many people who haven’t heard of the festive song regarding the twelve days of Christmas and two turtle doves. There cannot be many people who haven’t heard of the festive song regarding the twelve days of Christmas and two turtle doves.<br/>You may ask yourself why these summer migrants to the UK feature in a winter carol but the answer, we think, lies in the fact that turtle doves pair up and form strong bonds with their mate and often pair up for life. Thus, it is seen as a symbol of enduring love, perfect credentials for a religious symbol.<br /> <br /> However, turtle doves are in very serious decline and are the UK&rsquo;s fastest declining bird species with a real threat of extinction. It is thought that habitat loss and disease are the cause of the decline.<br /> <br /> Arriving in the UK during April and May, the turtle dove can be found in the south and east of England as well as the lowlands of Wales. Research suggests that adult turtle doves are producing half of the number of chicks than in the 1970s and this is a cause for concern. Unlike other dove species they are granivores &ndash; which means their diet is entirely seeds, mainly weed seeds and, as this food source is lacking in the countryside, it means a dietary switch to cereal grains - which may account for some of the reduction in breeding numbers.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Tutle Dove" src="" /></div> <br /> Turtle Doves are Europe&rsquo;s only long-distance migratory dove, spending their winter in sub-Saharan West Africa and undertake a long and dangerous journey to reach Europe and their breeding grounds.<br /> <br /> It has an orange-brown and black patterned back, a bluish-grey head, pink chest and three-four black &amp; white stripes that form a pattern on the side of its neck. It is much more coloured than a collared dove and has a lifespan of around two years.<br /> <br /> Once in the UK, the turtle dove can be seen in a range of habitats from grassland, towns, gardens, farmland, heathland and moorland searching for cereal and wildflower seeds.<br /> <br /> And its name (<em>Streptopelia turtur</em>), is unusual in that it has no connection with turtles &ndash; but is in fact down to Latinisation of its purring song, turr turr turr.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="Dovecote A1 Fancy mix" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> As this is now on the red list of species &ndash; the highest conservation priority &ndash; why not help it along by feeding <a href="">Dovecote &amp; A1 Mix</a> or <a href="">Garden Pheasant Mix</a> if you&rsquo;re lucky enough to live in one of the few areas of the UK that this beautiful dove visits.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="Garden Pheasant mix" src="" /></a> 0 Britain's top 10 most common garden birds2020 Mon, 20 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT Angela and Chris The results for this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch are in and yet again the House Sparrow has topped the charts at the number one spot. The results for this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch are in and yet again the House Sparrow has topped the charts at the number one spot.<br/><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="House Sparrow" src="" /></div> <br /> Although it is the garden bird which is most commonly seen, its numbers are down 53% since records began in 1979. Indicating that House Sparrows still need our help. We&#39;ve written before how important garden bird feeding is for this species - not only small household scraps but also many of Haith&#39;s seed mixtures, favourites being: <a href="">Original Wild Bird Food</a>, <a href="">Premium Wild Bird Food</a> (No Wheat) and a sprinkling of one of our soft foods, like <a href="">Pinhead Oatmeal</a>, are all suitable as ground or bird table food and they will also take <a href="">peanuts</a> from hanging feeders.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="Original wild bird food" src="" /></a><br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><a href=""><img alt="Premium Wild Bird Food" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Starling" src="" /></div> <br /> In second place is the Starling. Not everyone&rsquo;s cup of tea and sometimes seen as a bully in the garden. They can seem quite fearless when strutting around the garden looking for scraps. They will take a wide variety of Haith&#39;s food mixtures especially, <a href="">Golden Chorus</a> and <a href="">Super Value Fat Balls</a>.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="Golden Chorus" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="SUPER VALUE FAT BALLS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="BLUE TIT" src="" /></div> <br /> Next comes the Blue Tit, a non-mover at number three. This small acrobatic species is easily identified, as it is the only British bird with a blue crown. It has a high mortality rate especially during harsher winters and benefits from the food we provide and the nest boxes we put up in our gardens. Try feeding <a href="">peanuts</a> and fat balls as well as <a href="">Sunflower Hearts</a> and wriggly <a href="">live mealworms</a>.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="SUNFLOWER HEARTS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="MEALWORMS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="WOOD PIGEON" src="" /></div> <br /> In fourth place this year is the woodpigeon. Considered a pest by many farmers due to the damage it causes to crops, it will eat almost anything from seed to food scraps. <a href="">Garden Pheasant Mix</a> and <a href="">Original Wild Bird Food</a> are the mixes to try should you wish to attract it into your garden.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="GARDEN PHEASANT" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="ORIGINAL WILD BIRD FOOD" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="blackbird" src="" /></div> <br /> The gorgeous Blackbird is at number five in the top ten list and although its numbers are down 46% since 1979 it is still a firm garden bird favourite. Blackbirds feed mainly on insects and earthworms during the summer months and fruit and berries during the winter, but Haith&rsquo;s <a href="">Huskfree Advance with Dried Mealworms</a>, live foods like <a href="">waxworms</a> and <a href="">mealworms</a> and <a href="">Softbill Food</a> would soon attract this beautiful member of the thrush family into your garden.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="HUSKFREE ADVANCE WITH DRIED MEALWORMS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="SOFTBILL" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="GOLDFINCH" src="" /></div> <br /> The Goldfinch with its Latin name of Carduelis Carduelis is common throughout the UK apart from the highland areas. Most famous for its colourful red and yellow plumage, goldfinches are most common in parks, gardens and woodland areas with a tendency to flock in large numbers to feed, which is known as a charm of Goldfinches. The Goldfinch is number six in the most common garden bird survey. They mainly feed on <a href="">Goldfinch &amp; Siskin mix</a>, <a href="">Niger Seed</a> and they do love <a href="">Sunflower Hearts</a> too.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="GOLDFINCH AND NIGER SEED" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="NIGER SEED" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Great Tit" src="" /></div> <br /> The Great Tit (Parus Major) is the largest member of the tit family in the UK. The adults are prominent birds with wings and tail that are a blue grey, the breast is bright yellow, and the under tail is white, the head is black with large white cheek patches. The Great Tit can be found in all counties throughout the UK and Ireland, they are usually seen in parks, woodland, gardens and hedgerows. The Great Tit is number seven in the most common garden bird survey and is partial to <a href="">black sunflowers</a>, <a href="">peanuts</a>, <a href="">mealworms</a> and <a href="">fat balls</a> and loves <a href="">Prosecto Insectivorous</a>.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="PEANUTS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="PROSECTO" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="ROBIN" src="" /></div> <br /> The Robin is at number eight in this year&rsquo;s garden bird survey. The Robin is seemingly keen to rise early and can be one of the first to start singing early morning, however despite how friendly the Robin can become it would not think twice about driving away intruders as it can punch above its weight, even with larger birds. Its Latin name is Erithacus Rebecula and is a plump little bird with a bright red breast, face and throat. The purpose of the red breast is for territorial defence and not courtship, the precedence of the colour is often to deter intruders. They mainly feed on <a href="">Prosecto Insectivorous</a>, Live and <a href="">Dried Mealworms</a> and <a href="">Fat Robin Mix</a> - but they&#39;ll happily take <a href="">Sunflower Hearts</a> and small seeds.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="DRIED MEALWORMS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="FAT ROBIN SOFT FOOD" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Long-tailed tit" src="" /></div> <br /> The Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos Caudatus) is a most sociable bird, with its tiny little body and very long tail, its plumage is mainly black and white with tinges of pink and grey with a long black tail. Long-tailed Tits are widespread and are mostly seen in common parks, gardens and large areas of heathland and woodlands, where there is mostly ash, oak and sycamore trees. The Long-tailed Tit is a new-comer on the leader board, coming in at number nine in the most common garden bird survey. They mainly feed on <a href="">Peanuts Granules</a>, insects and other invertebrates and <a href="">Golden Chorus</a>.<br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="GOLDEN CHORUS" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <a href=""><img alt="PEANUT GRANULES" src="" /></a><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Magpie" src="" /></div> <br /> The Magpie, last but by no means least, is this year&rsquo;s number ten. A very popular bird and has increased in numbers over the years. Its Latin name is Pica Pica. The Magpie is black and white with a very long tail which makes up half the bird&rsquo;s length. Magpies have always been surrounded by superstition as the poem states.... one for sorrow etc. In spring you will usually find large numbers of magpies gathering to settle territorial rights and these gatherings are called parliaments. Very popular in England and Wales, they usually go around in pairs or more, but not too welcome in gardens because of their predatory habits. They will come to a bird table for scraps, cereals, fruit, berries and nuts which they will take away.<br /> <br /> &nbsp; 0 Haith's Covid-19 Survey Tues, 14 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's ***Survey is now closed***<br>Take part in our Covid-19 survey for your chance to win 5kg Winterberry ™ ***Survey is now closed***<br>Take part in our Covid-19 survey for your chance to win 5kg Winterberry ™<br/><div style="text-align: center;"><a href=""><img alt="Take our survey for your chance to win" src="" /></a></div> <div>Survey closes midnight 2nd August 2020</div> 0 A change in routine Tues, 14 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT Haith's Community The last couple of days have been hot here in Kent and the birds at the feeders and bird table have moved to a new routine. Normally the larger birds such as the feral pigeons, the collared doves, the jackdaws and crow tend to come early in the morning and have their breakfast and some more come for a top-up of food at lunchtime. The last couple of days have been hot here in Kent and the birds at the feeders and bird table have moved to a new routine. Normally the larger birds such as the feral pigeons, the collared doves, the jackdaws and crow tend to come early in the morning and have their breakfast and some more come for a top-up of food at lunchtime.<br/>Another group gathering with usually some different ferals will appear about 5 pm again looking for food and of course at this time of year some birds of various sorts are still in the garden beyond 8 pm. They are lucky that they can have top-ups during the day since I retired, as normally they would&rsquo;ve had a supply of food put out at about 6 am and then another after 6 or 7 pm.<br /> &nbsp; <div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="feral pigeons" src="" /></div> <br /> It&rsquo;s quite noticeable with the feral pigeons though that even with the longest hours of daylight, they still go home, as it were, about an hour and a half before it gets dark. On the hottest days, the new routine consists of coming early in the morning and having some food but not in exceptionally high numbers and they do their normal ablutions and drinking and then disappear. A few will stay on the roof or round and about during the day but they must find it too warm and sunny. Then as the temperature starts to drop away they come for their evening meal. Over the last couple of days, this has brought a slight easing up in bird feeder filling. On a hot day, any suet becomes soft and tends to disintegrate when vigorous pecking ensues, but the birds have learnt this and know that they will have more in the way of pickings from beneath the feeder, leaving others to do the hard work.<br /> <br /> The crow is still coming into the garden a couple of times a day and usually causes all the other birds to disappear. I&rsquo;ve seen it on the suet ball feeder but it is generally walking about on the ground to see what is available. The crow doesn&rsquo;t seem to like the jackdaws at all and sometimes will chase them away and fly around in a circuit, but no harm seems to come to them. The starlings are still coming but now in slightly decreased numbers to the feeders, but plenty are flying around and I would estimate over 40 the other day in a group. It was very interesting the other evening, unfortunately, I didn&rsquo;t have a camera to hand, when about 20 of them congregated at the top of my large conifer. I was sitting outside and more and more were turning up and one or two adults were flying around as much to say, &lsquo;Where are the others? Come on its time to go home for the night&rsquo;. That was about 8.30 pm so they still had a good hour of daylight left. I&rsquo;ll keep an eye out for them again as it would certainly make a great picture. The sparrows this morning have been in the holy tree outside my upstairs window, but I haven&rsquo;t seen any more youngsters and I&rsquo;ve also not seen the goldfinches this week.<br /> <br /> I have a wild cherry in the garden and the wood pigeons love to sit up in the tree and eat the small cherries, bobbing down under the branches and having a good feast. I&rsquo;ve also seen a blackbird giving it a try but the starlings don&rsquo;t seem to have cottoned on yet. They better be quick though as the wood pigeons are eating them with gusto and with four of them coming along, they won&rsquo;t last many days. Yesterday evening a sea breeze developed and came inland as far as my garden and things were quite blustery for a while making landing tricky.<br /> <br /> Writen by Margaret Emerson 0