Today’s Treasures – The Bird Table in Winter
One of the wonderful things about wintry mornings is the increased activity on the bird table. The birds really seem to appreciate my efforts to fill up bird feeders and thaw out the bird bath.
The robin, resplendent in his bright red winter waistcoat sedately pecks at the sunflower seeds. A rival arrives – as often happens on cold frosty mornings – and is crossly chased away.
A blue tit perches on the edge of the birdbath and takes dainty sips of fresh water. Belinda and Bertie raised a family of blue tits this summer – it was fascinating to watch them feeding their tiny babies on the bird table.
The nutchatches – Nigel and Nolly – creep around the tree trunks then take turns taking peanuts from the feeder.
Then the Twits – a flock of long-tailed tits that always arrive in a flurry of chirps and fluttering wings – take over all the bird feeders, scrapping for perching space.
The great tits Colonel Twist (due to his having a wonky tail) and Lady P (Penelope) wait patiently for the Twits to fly off before resuming their feeding.
A blackbird scurries along to the bird seed sprinkled on the ground and busily tucks into a grain feast before the hens arrive and clear up.
Woody the woodpecker loves peanuts and can often be spotted in the garden with his undulating flight and unusual cry – and peck, peck, pecking on the dead pine tree looking for insects.
There’s a selection of finches – goldfinches with their little red and yellow heads and chaffinches, and, when it’s been really cold, we are sometimes honoured with the presence of a bullfinch or the odd visit from a siskin, or brambling.
Unwelcome visitors that thankfully are seen very infrequently are kestrels and sparrowhawks. In the summer the little birds are safe in the leafy green cover of the roses and honeysuckle; in the winter the branches are bare – except for the ivy which offers welcome cover as well as berries to eat.
There’s no knowing what the cat will do next – but I believe he is actually watching the little mouse that lives in the rockery and uses the bottom of the bird stand as a tunnel, popping in and out collecting seeds.
Published in the February edition of the Whitchurch Gossip