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Talkback: Blackbirds nesting in my garden

Isn't it amazing where birds will nest! A few years ago. a song thrush built a nest in a sparsely leaved young passion flower growing by the front door of one of the therapy rooms where I work. The mother had very little cover, but sat there in all weathers and with people going in and out at frequent intervals. I have also seen a blackbird nesting in a potted apple tree in a garden centre. Brave creatures!


  • Do I need to feed them all year.
  • Hi reading the letters about birds in the garden made me remember a really tatty blackbird that used to come in our garden she had a big lump under her chin and feathers missing from her head hence the name tatty head that we gave her and she was a joy to have around and became very use to us and came back every summer to nest in the garden it was a sad year when she did'nt return, but we are sure that her off springs are here even the odd one with a tatty head
  • help - can anyone recommend a squirrel-proof peanut feeder?
  • I always find it a real honour when a bird decides to bring its family into the world in your garden. They are so trusting and i find myself getting very protective of their babies are born. I,too, use my water pistol to shoo away nosy cats that could pose a threat to these tiny creatures. This year, i am delighted to welcome into my garden, a very busy woodpecker who is constantly looking for tasty treats for her new family. How exciting!!!
  • I too have nesting blackbirds, also robins, and now wrens. Its amazing! I could literally spend the whole day in the garden, the birds are quite used to me pottering around and are quite happy to continue doing what they do, I have turned my pond over to the birds, having placed a couple of small conifer branches in it, so they can take a drink and a dip whenever they want. Its the pigeons who are territorial when the blackbirds sit up the tree (or try to) the pigeon starts flapping his wings and his little head starts bobbing up and down.
  • If you do feed birds all year round then you increase their chances of successful breeding. Please don't feed whole peanuts - unless they are in a metal mesh peanut feeder, please try to avoid the plastic mesh bags, I've seen birds break legs when tangled up in them (for fat balls I use feeders but remove the net first). The RSPB recommend feeding all year round. Thanks.
  • I have quite a few blackbirds visiting as I feed them currents so they're very regular. But I have noticed that quite a few seem to have a skin/feather problem. I saw the same last year. They are like 'punks' - all tufted and bald. Does anyone know what this is? I have a bird bath so would be willing to add something to the water if it would help.
  • We love all the birds, and have had many varieties, including even a Pereguin Falcon eating a collared dove who had just fed on our seed. My husband actually crawled along the lawn with his camcorder. We have a blackbird who walks into our kitchen, if she sees its me who is about she struts out, but if it is my husband she makes a fuss until she gets sultanas. Meanwhile two Staffordshire Bull Terriers live in the same room!! We have robins who sing beautifully in a morning until we get up and feed them, we are very lucky, sparrows, blue tits, great tits, long tail tits, dunnocks, black cap pair with mrs having a red top notch. Woodpeckers visit, Jackdaw babies are about at the moment, but they eat an alarming amount, we have a pair of thrushes about somewhere but they are our early visitors, and believe it or not two drakes and a duck. These make a dreadful mess of the pond, and any water bowls that are out for the birds. Our dogs chase them off, but they are back the next day for a feed. A heron visits our pond, and believe it or not a robin has just called me for its tea - door open.
    We have counted 33 types of birds in our garden, and love them all, (Heron least of all but only because of the fish).

    At our previous house we rescued a pair of baby thrushes (cats either side of us) one sadly died, but the other came on in leaps and bounds in our breakfast room. Fed on ox heart, worms, bone supplement and dog food. We built it an avery outside to get it to learn to dig and watch other birds. We taught it to bathe in a pyrex dish, and kept moving away with its food until it took that first leap and flutter of wings. We called it Poppit. When she was finally released, we used to give the same whistle and down she would fly to our shoulders or heads for a feed, until she was brave enough to go it alone. We used to have a particular religious pair of callers at the house, and one day to their amazement I invited them in, they had been talking about miracles. I took them to the back garden, and gave Poppit her usual shout, down she came, and I gave her a bit of dog food, off she flew. That's one of my miracles I told them, I never saw them again!! Well done Poppit.

    You do get back what you put in, no matter what you are doing. But gardens and birds and dogs are our favourite!

  • I too have squirrels who come to my garden to feed. Personally I find them fascinating, and I am happy to be feeding them as well as the birds .... after all, they all need to eat. However, of all the bird feeders I put out ..... plastic ones were chewed straight away, metal tubes had their bottoms pulled off etc ..... a round metal ball that I bought at our garden centre worked the best. I hung it on a wire, and our acrobatic squirrels would hang down from their back legs to reach it. At one time the little chap was hanging from only one foot, and of course fell off after a while!! He would turn the ball over to try to get to the other side where the nuts were, but of course the nuts tumbled away. It was interesting to see the "calculations" going on in their minds as to how to get the nuts.
    The birds had no trouble getting them out, so everybody was happy.
  • Just browse all these letters, I'm pleased and reassured so many people know the healing powers of birds... These creatures are a precious part of our world - just stopping to watch them in our gardens is the best medicine ever. The RSPB reserves are wonderful, but the sparrows, blackbirds and starlings in my backyard provide every bit as much fascination: my fantastic, hardworking blackbird mums and dads here have delighted me with several batches of young this year!
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