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Normal service is resumed

Friday, 19th February 2021

Last week was very cold in Kent with snow on the ground from the Sunday afternoon through until the following Sunday.
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.

I’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’s quite amusing watching them bobbing up and down on the branches and then diving for some of the berries.
 
Snow and Pigeon

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’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.

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’s roof the other afternoon, so they are still around and about. Apart from that it’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’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.

Written by Margaret Emerson

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