Like many of you, we love seeing the birds in our garden, and a great way to see them is feed them. We are lucky enough to have a rural garden with some mature trees and shrubs. I have also been feeding the wild birds consistently for over 5 years. As a result, we regularly have a good range and number of wild birds visiting the garden.
We see lots of the classic birds at the feeders in the Winter: Blue & Great Tits, Chaffinches, Gold Finches (lots of them!) with the odd Robin and Blackbird clearing up on the ground.
I am pleased to say a flock of Long Tailed Tits come through most days – a personal favourite.
We also see Coal Tits, a resident Nuthatch and a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers almost daily on the feeders.
Other common garden birds that are less interested in the feeders are regular visitors too, such as Wrens, Song Thrushes, Sparrows & Dunnocks as well as the Corvids and Pigeons.
Sadly, I have not seen a Greenfinch nor a Bullfinch for some years.
At night we constantly hear Tawny Owls and occasionally Little Owls. Sometimes, especially after a few wet days, the local Barn Owl flies over the nearby field extending its feeding to stock up.
So, we have a lovely range of great British birds around us.
I feed the birds mainly Sunflower Hearts, Peanuts, Mealworm and Fat Balls from two sets of feeders hanging from branches of small trees. I prefer this arrangement as the birds have more places to sit close by and they are better protected from predators. All my feeders now have baffles above them; it helps a little to keep the squirrels off (well, not really!), but I have also found they are good at protecting the feeders from the rain and ruining the feeds.
What I plan to do over the coming months is experiment with the type of feeder and feed to see if we can spot a variation in types of birds at the feeders and in the garden.
At the same time, I’m attempting to get better at photographing the birds, so hopefully we’ll see an improvement. Unless otherwise noted, all the photographs in this blog will be my own. I have already noticed that the Blue & Great Tits seem to be very brave when I am close with a camera, whereas Goldfinches will stay well clear. Let us hope I get better at blending in or do it often enough that they will get used to me.
My feeling is that by being a bit of a stick in the mud with my set-up over the last few years, I’ve ended up feeding a smaller range of birds. It would be good to see some of the other birds in the garden using the feeders where they are not currently. It would be even better to attract different birds we have not seen for a while like Greenfinches and Bullfinches. Could we even attract Goldcrests to feed? (We have seen them in the garden and close by occasionally).
Obviously, as the seasons change, the birds need less feeding and we see the migrants arrive for the summer, so things will constantly change. I hope to keep an eye and get some good photos of our feathered friends as they pass through and keep you updated
Happy bird feeding & spotting!
Ben Woodhouse, February 2021
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