Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Birds in the Garden

This past week has seen a flurry of activity in the garden in the form of many more baby birds. This year has been an extraordinarily productive one for our feathered friends around here, or so it seems.

We have numerous newly fledged House Sparrows and Starlings in the garden this week being fed by the adult birds. That unmistakable fluttering of the wings accompanied by those ever open mouths and constant chirping. The recent hot weather also encouraged a whole gang of them to engage in a pool party, sparrows and starlings together, diving off the rocks into the refreshing water of the bird bath. Unfortunately I did not have my camera to hand.

Yesterday I also managed to see the first young Woodpigeon of the year. We do have a number of woodpigeons living permanently around us and one pair started nest building in the tall conifer a long time ago, this is the first fledgling I have seen however this year. The youngster, probably on it's first journey away from the safety of it's nest was being closely attended to by one of it's parents. I then lost sight of them as they made their way further down the gardens.

Since that initial sighting, I have not seen this fledgling again but I was away from the garden for most of the day then in the evening there was much activity in the neighbouring gardens. Hopefully it will manage to evade the perils that lie in wait for it and survive, I wish it well.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Early Birds

Five o'clock,
I look out of the house.
Nothing is stirring,
Not even a Mouse.

Well that is not strictly true, because a male House Sparrow is stirring in the garden. A Woodpigeon flies across my field of vision to perch atop the large Conifer. He or she, of course I know not which, is soon accompanied by one of the resident male Blackbirds. I wonder if they might be exchanging early morning conversation, you know as we humans do,

"Good morning Blackbird,"

"Lovely morning."

"It certainly is Woody." Mr Blackbird replies. "what have you got planned for today?"

"Well to start with, I'm going to have a crack at that pretty looking hen across there."

With that the Woodpigeon, that I will shortly confirm to be male, flies off to join the shortly to be confirmed as female, other member of it's species who up until now was perched peacefully on the apex of a nearby rooftop.

My observation of the pair is interrupted by a squirrel (Grey of course) running in that squirrely sort of way, along the rear fence of our garden, likewise through the next doors garden and then up the narrow trunk of Ram's Cherry tree.

The Woodpigeon is by now displaying, chest out, tail fanning, to the totally unreceptive female who shows her displeasure by simply flying off, leaving him to wonder where he went wrong.

LBJ's (little brown jobbies) start to fly to and fro, hither and thither, across the sky. Flying as though they know not where they are going, maybe they simply need to stretch their wings as an early morning form of exercise.

The male Blackbird has started to sing. A lovely sound if you are already up and about like me, but much too loud if you happen to still be in bed trying to remain in the land of dreams.

The sun begins to shine and all is well in this little piece of the world, filled with the sights and sounds of the Early Birds.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Headless Starlings

"Hey Starl"

"What is it Stan?"

"The chap who lives here is by the window with his camera, looks like he is going to try taking pictures of us."

"Yes, I can see him Stan."

"Lets do that trick Starl, where we make our heads disappear"

"That sounds like a great idea Stan!!"

"That fooled him."

"Sure did Stan!!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


In answer to a question asked on Twitter here are some quick pointers to help you identify Woodpeckers.

Hi Karen,

The greater Spotted Woodpecker is a medium sized Black and white bird roughly the size of a Blackbird. The underparts are a dirty white colour but the main colour indicator is that the male, female and juveniles all have a patch of easily seen red body feathers beneath the tail and a white patch on the upper wing. The male has a red spot on the back of it's head and the juveniles have a red band around the back of the neck.

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is a much smaller bird, again black and white but without the white wing patches. The Lesser spotted does not have any red markings beneath it's tail. The male should have a dull red crown while the crown of the female is a dirty white colour.

Hope this helps.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Morning in the Garden

Typically this week, most of the bird activity is during the first few hours of the morning. We currently have many many young Starlings, who along with their elders seem to come enmasse for breakfast, smaller groups (but the same birds) will visit throughout the rest of the day.

Young House Sparrows are still around, but not in such numbers as they were before we went away last week. I think this is due to the fact that they soon become self sufficient then break into smaller groups away from their parents who are now busy producing another brood.

I am glad to say that one of the latest brood of Blackbirds is doing well and was seen this morning. I first noticed it being fed by the adult male who then took off and left it to fend for it's self for a while. It soon busied itself grubbing in the dirt, poking and prodding around, turning over sticks etc. It is looking fine and hopefully will continue to thrive. This young Blackbird is from the third brood to have been reared around us. I have not seen any survivors from the previous broods recently but I just hope that some at least have fared well and simply spread their wings. They do normally disappear during the summer months as they grow and mature but we then see some of them return to our garden during the winter when food becomes scarce.

Wood pigeons and Collared Doves continue to visit but again mostly in the early part of the day. There has been more noise and disruption around us lately that I feel has upset the birds to some degree or at least made them more wary. 

There was of course the incident involving the black cat and although I took steps to prevent it from staging an ambush it is still coming around. Also we seem to have more children living around us again (bah humbug) and the recent half term holiday plus the nice weather has certainly pushed up the general noise levels. Add to this the fact that during the daytime workmen are at the house two doors down ripping their rear garden apart and I am getting some work done in our own garden, I do not blame the the birds from staying away. Hopefully some semblance of peace and tranquility will be restored before long.

If you want to see some pictures that I took of the birds this morning, have a look at my twitter-pics here: