Gardening · wildlife

For the Birds

For about 2 years I have been very keen on bees and peripherally on insects in general. Beyond that I only have a passing knowledge on the other wildlife in my garden.

Since I found that I have a Blackbird nest in my garden and that a pair of Great Tits may well be moving in to my bird box, I just need to get them to sign the release papers. I have found a small interest in birds. I feel I should know at the very least the basics!

To be fair I have been feeding the birds for years. I have been very happy to see them in my garden. But to be honest they have been used more as a tool than a garden resident, to such a degree that I found that if I wait a day between refilling the bird feeder all the birds still come to the garden but they then scrabble around in the beds for worms, grubs and, most important for me, slugs and snails.

From this I learned to tell the main few. Blackbirds, Robins and Magpies I knew from even the most casual knowledge… But that was it.

U wot mate?

No, seriously… I know nothing about the birds I probably see every day!

I took a few pics this morning while waiting for the minion to get her act together so I could take her into college, she has hurt her foot and whined that walking for the bus would hurt too much. *sigh*
Anyway… Moving on. Morning time is feeding time here so I took advantage. I also used it as a chance to get a better idea of how to use the wife’s camera.

I got a couple of good pics and a shedload of crap ones.

Blue Tits.
For the longest time I thought all the smaller birds in my garden were blue tits.

One my earliest ‘friends’ in the garden. I had one literally follow me around all day a few years ago while I was doing some redesign work. I thought (s?)he was being curious… I found out later it was only there for the worms.
I felt cheated. >.>


I see this bird a fair bit… More and more common now than it used to be. No clue what it is.
Identified by Heretherebespiders in the comments. It appears to be a Dunnock. Thank you! B-)



Wood pigeon. 
Related to the urban sky rats that plague city centres all over, these are actually not so bad. Big, slow and noisy? – Yes… But, for me at least, not the pest that others seem to think they are. I only ever have one family in the area at a time so they don’t dominate the ground or scare off other birds. It’s the Magpies that do that!
I also have a Collared Dove that visits on occasion but not while I had the camera out. Again, not the problem for us that others seem to suffer.

I didn’t see any Blackbirds or Magpies. The Blackbirds don’t come near the feeder and I was too late to catch them bathing in the pond. The Magpies drop in as and when… I don’t think they have a set time.

And then we come to the ‘problem kids’… Those special little guys that have to ruin it for everyone. I’m talking about Great Tits, yes the very ones that may be taking the bird box.

These buggers waste so much feed it’s not real. I actually think there may be a collaboration between them and the Wood pigeons and Magpies. They flick it out and the bigger birds come in a hoover it all up later on. I wonder what the smaller birds get out of it? O.o
These were/are also responsible for rats being attracted to my garden on more than one occasion. They would come in for the scattered seed and scare off anything smaller than the Magpie. Even then I saw one standing his ground… Brave thing.

For a long while these buggers cost me a LOT of money. Sometimes I would go through a feeder full of seed in a *day*. I’d get a catcher tray for sitting underneath but they throw it so wise I doubt it would work!.

In the summer I get other birds visiting but it’s a little early for them yet. I also, on very rare occasions get visits by a Goshawk. When they turn up I tend to have to clean up scattered feathers. *sigh* I suppose I shouldn’t get upset at the circle of life.

Oh… And I just have to mention Isis who assisted me this morning by adding in comments about the birds as they appeared… And for not commenting on my photographic ability.  B-)

Isis, bird commenter and all around fluff ball.

12 thoughts on “For the Birds

  1. I love watching all the critters that join me in the gardens too! Except for the rats (anything that digs underground and eats the roots of my hard work is now labeled “rat” – ie: a critter that is gonna be toast as soon as I catch it – lol) and rabbits. Now I like rabbits – BUT – when we have tons of grass, feed for the birds and our chickens and tons of space for them to feed on – but nooo, they choose to eat my young fruit tree bark – – that’s where I draw the line on their life! grrr LOL

    1. I’m going to say something that others may well disagree with. I don’t *mind* rats as such… Live and let live. But I will discourage them in my garden.
      There was a time I would happily have put down poison. now I won’t, but I will remove their food source if I can. Or plant something or do something, like the screecher thingy, that will stop them coming in.

      Not seen any rabbits, nor any hedgehogs around here even though I live in pretty much a rural area. I have seen grouse though…. They CAN be a problem when the scratch up all your young plants! ARGH!

  2. We also believe in live and let live, until they are invading our space. We have about 20 acre + open fields, woods, a pond and a creek – all the space in the world for them. So when they choose to come up into my gardens vs all the other places they could freely go to – that’s where I draw the line. Even the prarie dogs are polite enough to keep to the fields and away from the buildings (and we have TONS of those out here). Not the “rats” – they are a type of gopher – just about the same size as the prarie dogs – HUGE teeth and claws and will destroy all underground roots! We use bubble gum. Cut it up into small enough pieces, throw it down their hole – and viola’ – no more critters up in our space. No pesticides, no toxins and no more monsters eating our young tree roots, asaparagas roots, raspberries and strawberry roots and stems, seedlings etc. They are not letting us live, so we are just defending. We have grouse, but not on our property..the only problem birds is our own, so when it is seedling time we fence off those areas from the birds. When the plants are big enough – we let them back in to catch the bugs/pests. Works well for both of us. (sorry I got a bit long here 🙂 )

    1. No stress.
      Do you have any animals for ‘protection’…? I mean like having a Jack Russell Terrier for rat killing or anything like that?

      I know cats can catch mice but they tend to stay away from anything larger that will fight back. Rats can and will fight!

  3. You have some pretty birds there! I’ve been listing the birds I see for several years and got such a thrill when I happened on one of your European robins when I was in Barcelona. They’re so much prettier than ours. Also, those blue tits are amazing.

    I found in feeding the birds that getting pricier food actually ends up costing less because they waste less. I only get black oil sunflower seeds now. They still drop some but they don’t just shovel it out like they did with millet and the ground feeding birds clean it up well.

    1. The wood pigeons hoover up most of the fallen seed. The big issue is in autumn when the berries already and food is plentiful. That’s when the rats appear.
      I tried a “no mess” mix and they didn’t go for it. Maybe I should get just sunflower hearts and Niger seeds and mix them?

      And it’s funny that you think our birds are better. We have a friend in Bosnia and she sent us a pic of their corvids (crow I think). So VERY different to ours!

    1. Looks like it. The grey ‘neckscarf’ is right. I’m guessing there will be variations in shading?… But it has the same wing pattern too.

      Yep… Looks like you may be right here, thank you!

        1. I just can’t find what to look for. With plants I simply describe what I see… That doesn’t seem to work with birds! >.<

          I edited the post with your info (And a thank you!)

    1. Reds? AWESOME!
      Never seen a Red one in the wild… Only even greys.

      On the camera I use the sports setting. On my phone camera I can only set the ISO as high as possible, the aperture as low as possible and hope. B-)

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