(Hope you like the new look! Please let me know what you think.)
In recent years we have seen the numbers of most birds visiting our garden, even the commonest, dropping most drastically. Goldfinches, House Sparrows, House Martins, Swallows and Starlings seem particularly badly affected. We try to help by providing food, shelter and nest boxes but our actions must be a drop in the ocean. What would make a real difference would be for some serious research to find the root causes of this sad decline, and then putting it to rights.
For a change I thought I would add some of my drawings and paintings to the usual photos I include in my postings. The pencil sketch below is of the multi-coloured Goldfinch.
This year the flocks of Goldfinches are showing signs of improvement, the sparrows are back cheerily entertaining us with their constant chatterings and the tit family seem more numerous. We notice these changes just by observing activity on and around our three feeding stations.
Some birds though still seem to be suffering especially Chaffinches and Greenfinches which until a few years ago were two of our garden’s commonest species.
Happily the Great Tit population here appears stable and their cousins the Coal Tits seem more numerous. These related birds display very different characters when visiting the feeders. The larger Great Tits are confident and stay feeding for long periods often chasing away other birds with wing-flaring and threatening shouting, while the Coal Tit comes quickly and quietly, selects its nourishment and disappears into nearby vegetation.
Many birds come into the garden to feed even when we are around, confidently feeding and foraging as we go about our business.
Winter brings into our garden for our enjoyment birds that we rarely see for the rest of the year. Winter visitors like the continental thrushes are the most obvious as they arrive in great numbers noisily and feed voraciously on berries and bits and pieces dropped from the bird table by the residents. Smaller less obvious visitors are Blackcaps and Siskins and these are welcomed with open arms. They are lovely to watch in the shrubs and trees. Goldcrests move in from the local woodlands and add wonderful bright splashes of colour.
A strange happening that we have observed this winter for the first time kept us amused for while. Our Nuthatches have started hiding peanuts away under the edges of the roofing felt of the garage and sheds. They ram them in a long way and very firmly. We wonder if they will recall where they left them when they need them in the future. It seems more likely that the Bluetits will discover them as they search all nooks and crannies in search of bugs.
Feeding the birds in our gardens may be drops in the ocean, but lots of drops may make a big wave!