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May 2019



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Nature watch: bird brains

I’m not a believer in spoiling wild birds. They’re wild! Let them build their own nests and find their own food. But it is nice actually to see the garden birds rather than just know they’re there, so I have a feeder hanging conveniently from a tree branch, just where I can see it whenever I’m eating. When I put out those suet chunks impregnated with bird goodies and which you can buy so cheaply at the market, I had happy visions of flocks of tiny birds clinging daintily to the bars of the feeder, pecking away. Alas, there are too many big birds around. The cunning rooks (or crows, which?), baffled at first, found a way to get at the food. They would fly repeatedly at the feeder, stabbing their evil great beaks through the bars until, eventually, the suet bars crumbled and they were able to eat what fell to the ground. The Messerschmitts of the bird world.

The feeder currently (this is a joke, see later) contains lumps of a courgette loaf which turned out a disaster. As it included vegetables, nuts and dried fruit (geddit?) I thought the birds would like it. At first there were no takers and it seemed the loaf was so horrible not even the birds would eat it. Then it started to disappear. The crows (or rooks) are cleverer than ever; they’ve learned to cling to the sides of the feeder to get what they want. They are so monstrous (if they’re crows), that the feeder sways dangerously and twig, food and bird seem about to tumble to the ground. I hope it won’t happen as I’ve run out of handy twigs to hang things from. I thought magpies were supposed to be intelligent birds, yet every day I see one (I assume it’s the same dimwit) trying to get at the food and doomed to failure. It attempts vertical take off from the grass, flutters frantically just far enough to almost reach the tantalising treat, then collapses back on the grass. This goes on until the poor creature is tired out. Will it find a way?

Picture here if I manage to take one.


My mother in law's life is pretty much dedicated to trying to feed the cute little garden birds and outwit the local squirrels and big bully birds. I am buying her a window feeder for Christmas in the hope that only small birds will be nimble enough to access it. We shall see.
The poor soul; it's a losing battle.
The window feeder is a good wheeze of yours.

Rooks or crows

1 crow on its own is a crow. Lots of crows together are rooks!

Re: Rooks or crows

Heh! From the way they roost in the evening, I'd say rooks but I never see more than one or two in the garden at the same time.
As you know I feed the birds during the nesting season as I like to give the babies plenty to eat and it's such a joy to see the little tits, sparrows and starlings growing up. I also put food out in the winter, I just can't bear to think of them struggling for food if it's really cold. Just call me an old softy ;) I get a lot of large birds, jackdaws mainly but rooks as well. Like yours they cling to the feeders, swaying precariously. The wood pigeons are my favourites of the bigger birds, they never try to hang onto the feeders preferring to sit on the edge of the feeding trays.
I'm not really as hard hearted as I seem:-)
Wood pigeons? Ugh, horrid great things. But yes, they do leave the feeder alone. I wonder what they find on the ground everywhere? Also why the rabbits (down to two) have taken to nibbling hazel leaves?
I think wood pigeons eat seeds and grains. They drink a lot of water too so I always make sure there's water out. So what's happened to the rabbits? I don't know why they are eating hazel leaves but I think rabbits will try anything. At least hazel is safe for them whereas much in the garden is poisonous to them - which is perhaps where the rest have gone... :/