Tomorrow I hope to finish off some bulb planting (crocus) in my lawn. I have noticed that some in another area are starting to appear through already! I have a few overdue gardening jobs. Bird feeder cleaning is also on the cards. I don’t know if anyone has put up new feeders recently and had little interest in them. The birds do take time to discover them – they tend to go to the ones they know first especially on a cold or windy day.
The apples are still very popular on my obelisks although there have been no more sightings of the female blackcap. Perhaps she will come back, I do hope so. It hasn’t been so cold lately – maybe that is the trigger that brings her into gardens.
The female blackbird in the video above really has the knack of getting the fruit. Notice how she removes fruit from inside the skin. She works pretty quickly so I’ve had to slow down this clip so you can see more clearly how she eats the apple. Notice how she keeps alert for any threats too.
Male blackbirds have been enjoying the peanuts from the feeder hanging on my small pine tree although they don’t seem to have the knack or speed that the female above has. Notice how they queue to get at the feeder in the video below.
The original feeder has been replaced with one that has a top the fits properly. I’ve secured it via two small black plastic cable ties (threaded through the back) to the trunk of the tree. The feeder is positioned higher than it was before with a break of four branches at its base which allows the larger birds like the blackbird to get at the peanuts. It needs to be secure for the force of the larger birds but I will need to check on the trunk regularly to make sure the cable ties don’t cut into the trunk of the tree. Perhaps I’ll replace them with a softer material.
Andrew at Quicksilverbirds metioned the distinctive eye of the male blackbird. He said: ‘Next time you look at a male blackbird look at it’s eye, if it has a yellow ring, it’s a UK bird, fit for purpose, and showing off to a lady. If it hasn’t got one, chances are it’s a Continental bird, and won’t go into breeding colour for a few more week when it returns to foreign climes.’ Interesting Andrew – thanks for that I’ll look more closely now. You can see that one blackbird near the end of the video below has a beautiful yellow eye ring. I wonder if he has being trying to impress the lady above!
Moving a feeder to a different location if birds don’t show any interest in it can be a good idea. Today I moved one that I am very keen for the blue tits to discover. It is another square caged feeder with small entrance holes and it has a small dish inside. This feeder is intended as a live feeder which I plan to use for mini live mealworms in the spring.
I am thinking well ahead about helping the feeding of possible chicks in our nest boxes this year. At the moment it has crushed peanuts in it which will be extremely popular when discovered. I am trying to get the birds to look for food in it. I have also positioned it on my pergola beside a pillar of ivy which will have lots of insects in it too.
This is the time of year to keep an eye out on your nest boxes to see if any birds are popping in to have a look around. You might even see a pair going in if you are lucky. It is also a time for getting last year’s nest boxes emptied of old nesting material too. We have had a rooster in our Arch nest box that has no camera in it since the first week in October.
Recently I’ve seen these blue tits take a look in our camera Nestbox. I have seen them go from one to the other. However, as I was editing my videos today I heard a familiar tapping coming through the speakers. A quick look in the camera Nestbox – but I missed the visitor! However, on this occasion I was much more interested in what was left in the box. I choose not to add wood shavings to our new nest box so the evidence that we have had a rooster using this box was clear for all to see – droppings were on the floor! The picture below was taken via torch light at 8.30pm tonight – a quiet night in.
Watching a few visits of the blue tit leaving this Nestbox earlier on in the day I could see that it didn’t go anywhere near the Arch nest box. I am wondering now if we have two roosters – one from two possible pairs. Now… this could be another interesting year of nest box activity!
Ah… but this weekend my thoughts do go to Joe and his new Nestbox with a camera in it. He hopes his Dad will be able to put up for him. He has been quite excited about getting one of these and I am certain he will be as addicted to watching it during nesting as I am. I wish you success with it Joe, but sadly the reality of nesting is that not all broods survive. Joe is in a completely different part of the UK than I am – quite far South. Fingers crossed that there will be plenty of caterpillars around when any broods need fed in his garden this year. The mornings seem to the busiest for sightings in the Nestboxes at this time of year – good luck Joe!
Finally, it isn’t just the blackbirds that have been enjoying the peanut feeder above. Blue and coat tits enjoy it too, as I would have expected, but unexpectedly a siskin was seen on it yesterday and today a group of four where clinging to the ball feeder I have with peanuts in it too. That was an odd sight! Whatever you expect to do or see in your garden this weekend – do enjoy it!
The videos above were taken in my garden on January 7th & 8th 2009. The photo above was taken from my camera nestbox on January 9th 2009.