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Hawk eyes

Friday, 17th December 2021

I haven’t had any hawks in the garden as far as I know although possibly a sparrow hawk has been on a couple of occasions recently, as the birds all scramble and disappear for a couple of hours if they have sighted one.
They’re also not too keen on the seagulls flying over either and when they see them or possibly even the crows, a lot of the birds will vanish from the garden. But my title hawk eyes concerns the fact that the birds are definitely doing a look out for food going out into the garden. I’ve mentioned before that the pigeons will start to come down onto the lawn when they see me go outside and that the starlings will be starting to gather on the television aerial or on my roof and will soon appear from around and about once I am back inside. I think the crows and magpies must also be on the lookout for food as this morning for instance, I put out a few scraps of meat on the lawn, filled up the feeders and put out some peanuts and the magpie was soon helping itself to the meat. Similar things have happened with the crows on other occasions.

Food consumption has continued to be brisk during the past week, despite the fact that for the last few days it has been mild. I have two suet squares out in the garden, normally one of them will need replacing daily, and the suet fat ball scheme I’ve put in place, only putting three in the feeder rather than five, does seem to have deterred the three squirrels from taking them away. They have been active, chasing one another round the garden and burying more peanuts. The blackbirds have been hopping about in the garden and I have late in the day been scattering a few mealworms and some beggars banquet seed mixture on the ground when most of the other birds have disappeared for the day. The blackbirds will still be there as will the robin, until quite late and possibly there will be a late visit from a magpie or one or two crows. This past week I’ve not seen any sightings of the greater spotted woodpecker or the wren, but there are certainly plenty of starlings around, feral pigeons, a couple of collared doves and also a couple of wood pigeons, who continue to eat the berries from the holly bushes.
 
winter robin

I think part of my conservatory now resembles a bird food merchant storage area as I have got various boxes and bags of seed, suet and peanuts and so forth stored there, because if I put them in the garage a mouse will help itself and if I put it in the shed it’s rather muddy to go and get supplies if the weather turns. The conservatory isn’t warm enough to sit in at this time of year anyway as it faces north to north-east and so it doesn’t really matter. The birds come first!

I’ve been thinking about where to put my robin roosting box and also the small bird nesting box, given that it has to be a metre and a half above ground level. I think I have found a spot for one of them and they’re not that many cats in the neighbourhood, nothing against them mind you as I have house cat myself, and very few come through my garden these days. If I put one or other of the boxes at the top of the fence post near to a bush it should be okay.

The bee and insect hotel has been put out in the garden at the end of a mixed border, at the top of a fence post near to where there will be flowers next year and also where there is some shelter from a holly bush to keep the rain and wind from it. I’ll wait to see if anybody takes up residence and report back of course in a future blog and the same with the roosting boxes.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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