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Talkback: Garden birds and the Big Garden Birdwatch

W Sheffield
Great decrease in small birds
Even in snow birds dont seem to want to visit bird feeders
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  • During the worst of the weather I did not get so many birds, now, still snowy I have blue tits, coal tits,goldfinches, long-tailed tits, pigeons, chaffinches, thrush,fieldfare, siskins, woodpeckers, robins. My neighbour had a goldcrest and a friend sent me lovely photos of a woodcock in her snowy garden.Margaret, Cardross
  • I answered the call to feed the birds and went and bought three different feeders for peanuts, seed and fatballs. I trudged through the snow at the end of the garden and hung them out, two from the top of the arbour and another from the apple tree and waited for 3 days. NOTHING! So, very disappointed, I put out apple, orange, oats and a bit of pork fat I had, plus a container with water, on a tray which I put up on the top of the arbour. NOTHING! Meanwhile, my neighbour has dozens of little birds around his one, tiny, little feeder. I'm upset - where have I gone wrong? The garden has trees, grass, shrubs - what else can I do to lure the birds to my feeders?
  • I have kept up with replenishing my bird feeders and tables. Both hanging feeders and ground tables. I have always put suet granules out as well as different seed mixtures and suet blocks. I have a family of squirrels which visit but I found if I put some peanuts high up on a tree away from the other feeders it gives the small birds a chance. Over this terrible cold weather I have had more birds than ever. 5 x robins feeding together, which is not usual as they normally fight each other off. 10 x Blue Tits, then various, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits. I have a visiting Black Cap for the first time, a Song Thrush the first for ages, a Wren, Blackbirds, Green Finches, Chaffinches, a Bull Finch, then various, Pigeons, Mapgpies and a few Crows. I count myself lucky to see so many species so close to the house, and it is a struggle to get any work done when I have such a wonderful display. I have kept the bird baths free from ice every day and cleaned them thoroughly, as the birds still need their drink, and to clean their plummage to keep it in good condition. I put warm water in the baths which went down so well it looked like the local bird swimming baths.
  • I was delighted to see a mistle thrush in my garden until I watched it chase all the ground-feeders away. It's been feasting on apples but won't let the blackbirds near.
    I've had blue tits; great tits (& even long-tailed tits - not seen before) but hadn't seen the usual gold finches around until I saw just one today.
    Sun flower hearts are most popular in the feeders.
  • I have put up a fat ball feeder and have a bird table too. I am seeing a good variety of familiar birds, a pair of blue tits which used the box last year, a robin various sparrows ,starlings , a pair of blackbirds , some wagtails and during this cold snap a song trush has been seeking for food under my large ceonothus. I'm delighted.
    It has however taken three years to get this far so keep going. The locals get to know and rely on us to feed them.
  • Nice to hear about woodcocks, blackcaps and goldcrests visiting the garden... although they can't have been having a good time lately! Rosemary62 - stick with it. I used to live on the 6th floor of a high rise flat in central Manchester, and after a year of hanging feeders from my balcony, the birds finally came. First were the greenfinches, then blue tits, then chaffinches. No trees, shrubs, or anything. I'm sure the birds will be along to your feeders soon. Everything's thawed here now - hoping the birds are finding it easier.
  • My usual bird friends have been coming closer to the house as I could not venture out to their normal feeding stations but just threw their food out on the snow from the kitchen door. They were joined by flocks of fieldfares and redwings until the holly, pyracantha and cotoneaster berries had been stripped. They then moved further afield but I photographed them through the window. Pied wagtails have deserted the roads and come into the garden for the seeds too. Robins feeding together? Could they not have been redwings?
  • This cold spell I've seen our usual visitors, blackbirds, robin and longtail tits. A flock of fieldfares were in the tall trees for a few days but only a couple came down to feed and are still here, the others gone. It has been difficult to keep water unfrozen. We saw the birds eating snow and also a female blackbird bathing in snow ! A pair of bullfinches called in as usual each winter but the berries had mainly been eaten or damaged by the frost. I think the reason that there arent more birds around is because more people have been putting food out and some birds have died in the unusual cold.
  • Has anyone noticed lots of birds roosting together in their bird boxes? Too cute!
  • All the normal birds eating us out of house & home, only one rook will take food from my hand, could he learn to talk? he has been coming for over a year now.
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