Watching Garden Birds

30 Days Wild day 3: Today, at last, the cold north wind has dropped and after a chilly start, the day has warmed up to what we'd expect in June. After two days of volunteering, I've had a quiet day watching the garden birds.

It all kicks off at 6am, when the rooks arrive. One will peck at the seed feeders, throwing food down to the others below. Jackdaws join in and appear to be accepted as equals by the rooks. The other birds keep away until the rooks have finished, which is usually when I get up and refill the feeders.

 Rooks and jackdaws feed cooperatively

For a long time, I only saw goldfinches briefly passing through the garden, so decided this year to put out niger seed for them. There was some interest, but no great enthusiasm. When I added sunflower hearts however, I started getting regular visits from them. I now often see six in the garden.

Greenfinches have been absent for several years, since Trichomonosis disease swept the country and wiped out 35% of the population. I'm pleased to see them back this year and chaffinches are on the increase too.



The blue and great tits like sunflower hearts too, but have a different feeding strategy to the finches. With their more delicate beaks, they hold a seed between their feet and peck at it.

 The Great tit and Goldfinch have different feeding methods

For most of the year, I see few starlings these days, but at this time of year mealworms will attract families of young ones within minutes. It amuses me that the chicks will stand in a ground feeder full of food and beg to be fed by their parents.

Starling family at the ground feeder


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