Monday, 21 January 2013

Birds

I have been feeding the birds at work. I attempt to feed them at home too - I bought a special bird feeder Christmas wreath this year - but they are wise to the fact we are cat-owners and we don't see many. I did watch a robin scavenging for hay in the bunny's run over the Christmas holiday though. When I crept to the door to get a picture it heard me, panicked, started flying around the run and then squeezed out through the bars - roughly 1 inch wide. Amazing.

Anyway. Back to work. Before Christmas I put out lots of peanuts which attracted a fair few birds and a family of fat, healthy-looking squirrels who were an endless distraction to my students and ran around on the roof of the classroom in a scratchy, Grudge-type way. I tried some suet balls and a bird feeder filled with peanuts, but both had disappeared during the holiday - there was a shard of green plastic on the ground from the feeder. I can only assume the squirrels ate the rest, mesh and all.

But I was undeterred. I bought a seed feeder that stuck to the window, and Caroline at work bought me a cardboard tray feeder filled with mealworms. Shuddering and ignoring the fact they are top 5 creepiest creepy crawlies for me, even dried, I hung that out and then managed to wedge the feeder in a tree (it wouldn't stick to the window). I saw a couple of blue tits on Thursday, much to my delight.

Then it snowed, of course. I was pleased I'd left them food. A combination of poor soil drainage, a broken gutter and the kickback from my furnace heater keeps a pool of water on the corner of the building almost constantly and the History Swamp, as we call it, is a little too densely wooded to be popular with our larger scavengers, the crows and gulls, yet undisturbed by other animal life. I hope. So, it's a little birdie paradise.

Indeed! Upon returning to work today, the feeder had been emptied to the point where the rest of the seed could not be accessed. I'm certain this wasn't squirrels because it was still intact. I refilled it and set out to watch them. And I received a rich reward! Today I saw (in order)
  • Blue tits
  • Robins
  • Blackbirds
  • Redwings (first sighting since 2011!)
  • Mistle thrushes (I thought these might be song thrushes but then one sat in a tree preening and it was huge - about the size of a pigeon - so I am fairly sure it was a mistle thrush)
  • Goldfinches
  • A lonely Chaffinch
  • Greenfinches (hogged the feeder for 20 minutes and squabbled with each other over it, but also scattered a lot of seed on the ground trying to get to their favourites so kept the other birds happy)
  • Long-tailed tits (this is my first sighting of the last two)
I was so excited! It's lucky today was a light teaching day - I was veritably obsessed with spotting and identifying and trying to get pictures. Naturally, pictures from my phone camera at a distance of 20ish feet through glass was not going to work. I did get this little video though.

video

I prefer to watch the blackbirds and redwings throwing leaves around - we had one in the back garden who was at it for ages last week, I was only sorry I couldn't get him to throw them all in aneat pile - but they are much shyer and don't come as close to the window.

So yes. Birds! Amazing. 

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