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’m still seeing the magpies round and about and as I’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.
I have had a good collection of birds in the garden this week, the feral pigeons, wood pigeons and collared doves that I’ve just mentioned, blue tits, great tits, a little group of robins, sparrows, a wren, magpies, jackdaws and blackbirds. One thing I’ve not seen in recent months is the long-tailed tits and I was surprised that they didn’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.
A story I have not related in my blogs over the past few weeks is an injured pigeon that I’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.
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’t see her again on Tuesday but was pretty sure that she’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’s taken almost 10 weeks but she’s almost back to herself although in a way I’m quite sad that she won’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.
Written by Margaret Emerson