This weekend (30-31 January 2010) is Big Garden Birdwatch (RSPB). Why not take an hour of your time to record birds who feed in your garden. The link explains everything.
Living in the countryside near woods and fields we get a fantastic mix of birds and wildlife visiting our garden. It helps that we put out a lot of food. Peanuts, bird seed mix, sunflower hearts, fat balls, fat towers, and water. These are put in various containers and feeders and in different locations at ground level and higher to give every bird a chance to feed. Peanuts are put in special feeders to that the birds need to peck at the nuts rather take them whole.
For the squirrels we use a special box feeder that will house whole peanuts but they need to raise the lid to get to them. However, they do occasionally decide that sitting in the box is the best way to make sure no other squirrels can have any!
Taking part in the Birdwatch is great fun and watching wildlife in the garden is very relaxing, especially if you rope in someone to spend a relaxing hour with you. Add a lovely cup of tea, some excellent shortbread biscuits and you’ve got a bit of quality time together.
After 8 years here we have got to know the birds we have in our garden by sight, but were particularly delighted to finally have longtailed tits start to visit last year. They are winter and spring visitors, just as Siskins are spring and summer visitors.
We occasionally get the glamourous visitors, notably Sparrow Hawks but this usually means one of our Tits get caught. One notable Big Garden Birdwatch took place a day after we had had 3 Sparrow Hawk strikes. Usually when this happens, the birds stay away for about a week, then the very brave Coal Tits dart back and before you know it, they’re all back eating you out of house and home. Our Birdwatch form that year recorded Zero visits!
We have also had a Buzzard land in our garden, I think he got lost riding the thermals over the valley. He didn’t stay long. We have also had a beautiful Barn Owl land on the fence post opposite our kitchen window. That was an awesome sight. Never repeated. Then we get the Pheasants. We get the usual normal Pheasant, male and female
and on one glorious occasion we had 6 baby Pheasant chicks hidden by Mum under our azalea!
For a couple of years we also had two Reeves Pheasants who visited and would feed from your hand. These were really special and we have no idea where they went or indeed, if something happened to them.
Other visitors have included chickens, a rooster! and ducks who were blown off course and were quite annoyed that the water dish I put out for the birds wasn’t big enough to swim around in!
But back to today’s Birdwatch. I roped in my husband to help, well, actually to make the tea, and of course the two cats help as well.
My count and species list is as follows:
- Robin (2)
- Blackbird (6)
- Bluetit (5)
- Dunnock (4)
- Sparrow (5)
- Coaltit (2)
- Greattit (3)
- Long-Tailed Tits (6)
- Nuthatch (1)
- Woodpecker (1)
- Chaffinches (4)
- Mistle Thrush (1)
- Pheasant (1)
Other wildlife seen 1 Field Vole and 1 Squirrel.
This is down on the previous Birdwatch count. But we did have a Sparrow Hawk strike about a week ago, so they are still a bit wary.
Species that are missing that I would have expected to see are Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Collared Doves, Wrens, and Woodpigeons.