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Talkback: Helping garden birds through winter

Hi Kate I was watching a Jay taking berries off a bush down the garden this morning,it landed on my Robinia Frisia then jumped in to the Pyracantha but the branches were to weak to hold it's weight and then it tried to hover and take the berries then gave up and went some where else. Oldchippy.


  • Since oldchippy mentions jays I thought I'd just say that I've plenty of jay activity around my garden. I think this on account of the mature oak that sits at the boundary. It produces plenty of acorns. Mini-oaks often spring up in places well away from the tree. This probably on account of them 'stashing' the nuts. Wonderful birds.

    Our renovated drystone retaining wall has plenty of bird activity. Tits and wrens work the crevices for tasty morsels. There's still a buzzard that mews and soars when the thermals permit. There's the occasional 'craaack' of a raven. The resident robins are defining their winter territories who gets the 'prime' hawthorn tree is anyone's guess.

    The field next door to our garden has gone wet-marshy after the recent rainfalls. It now has resident mallards and gulls enjoying the standing water. I don't think Jack (the resident horse) goes a great bundle on the current waterpark 'theme' of his field, though. I expect (fingers crossed) the return of redwings and fieldfares as the winter proceeds. The local swallows and martins have long since departed. That field gave them a good feed of insects during the summer months.

    Then there are the mammals. The rabbits are not so active above ground at the moment. Returning from work the other night I caught sight of a vole in the headlights of the car as I drove down the track. It was busy trying to find whatever it could. Despite the local woodland/trees grey squirrels are mostly noted by their absence. I've seen one in the past eight months, and that was fleetingly.

    One the gardening note I planted some snakes-head fritillary bulbs in the rough grass at the top of the garden. I think most of them have been excavated and eaten by rodents. I found most of the holes where they were planted has been re-opened/dug out. Ho hum. Perhaps a few have survived and they will 'breed'.

    Talking of birds and berries, the species which strips rowan berries most efficiently is the waxwing. A small flock (just a few birds, really) will totally strip a rowan tree over a few successive days. They are not fussy about the berry colours either - red, yellow, pink, white, whatever. They just like sorbus species (or that's my experiences of encountering them). Perhaps a little bird told Kate's robin that waxwings are on the way?
  • MeggaMegga Posts: 9
    Hi Kate I was watching a female Black Bird this week standing on the edge of my bird bath for several minutes, thinking about taking the plunge, the water must have been near to freezing, eventually hoped onto the submerged rocks and dipped her head first I guess to get a feel of the temperature then went for it complete submersed. A delight to watch.
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,264

    I saw my first blackbird in the garden this morning. For some unknown reason, long forgotten now I stopped feeding them in the summer but started again a few weeks ago and am ever so pleased to see they are slowly returning.

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