great spotted woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I love to see birds in my garden and especially at the feeders, which I can clearly see through my kitchen window, and since I do most of my computing at the kitchen table I do take frequent glances outside.

Over the past years there has always been lots of pigeons monopolizing the feeders and keeping all but the bravest of small birds at bay. But over recent months I have noticed something of a change. There seems to be far fewer pigeons about. Instead of the usual 8 or 10 at a time we seem to be down to only one or two, maybe three, at less frequent intervals. Pigeons are a bit of a nuisance and, yes, I have often said that we have far too many; but I don’t dislike the birds and would not like them to disappear altogether. I can’t help wondering if the steady increase in birds of prey in the area is to blame. I often see buzzards circling around and have also seen peregrine falcons on occasions, which are known to catch pigeons and other birds in flight. I have also come across complete bundles of feathers on the ground which could not possibly have been left by a cat for example. We no longer have a cat, but even when we did there was no way she would tackle a pigeon!



On the plus side, the reduction in the pigeon population has allowed far more of our small garden birds to visit the feeders. As well as the usual blue-tits, coal-tits, great-tits, long-tailed-tits, robins, sparrows and various finches that have ventured in when the pigeons are around, we have been visited this year, since the pigeon’s decline, by several nuthatches – the first time that I have ever noticed them in our garden. They are a joy to watch. Blackbirds are also regulars but there seems to be an increase in thrushes as well, and particularly I have noticed redwing thrushes feasting on the Pyracantha berries against the fence this year, having been noticeably absent for a couple of years.

Starlings had been gradually increasing too, a nuisance in some areas and considered pests where I grew up, I hardly ever saw them here until a few years ago and gradually we saw a few more, but never more than half a dozen or so. Now they have now disappeared again and I wonder why.

However there is one bird I have never seen in my garden before, though I know other people outside my immediate area who do have them regularly, and that is a Great Spotted Woodpecker. What a wonderful surprise to see one, a female, fly in to our feeders. Just the one, just the once – so far; at least when I have been looking. Perhaps with this spell of cold weather we have been having she will become a more frequent visitor, then perhaps I may get my own photo instead of sharing the one above which, along with the picture of the Nuthatch, I found on the Internet!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elaine patricia
    Dec 11, 2017 @ 17:44:02

    Starlings are migrating south and they do so in large flocks of thousands sometimes. Autumn is the time they murmurate while gathering then they disperse into smaller groups once again. Wish I understood this behaviour but sadly I don’t. Enjoy them while you have them. Others will call when one group has left .


  2. mad cycling in the middy sun
    Dec 12, 2017 @ 15:20:04

    Wow, that’s quite an array of birds now, I’d get Woodpeckers at Glyn but that’s not surprising, I’m impressed you’ve got them at yours – you must have the best range of food out on any feeder in the county if it’s anything like usual…the talk of the birdie town!


  3. julespaige
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 14:34:01

    There are many kinds of woodpeckers. I have them at my feeder too.
    They are a joy to watch. Nature evolves with different feeding grounds for fowl.

    I used to have a nuisance bunch of grey geese that used to be tended to by a local horse farm. But I haven’t seen them in years. The Canadian Geese tend to stay by the creek as well as the ducks. But this summer I think a pair of ducks were looking for a nesting spot in my yard. I think my neighbors who both have dogs, as well as stray cats discourage them from settling in.

    I know that winter hasn’t officially arrived but I am looking forward to a new nest of robins in my hedge…


  4. julespaige
    Dec 13, 2017 @ 14:35:00

    Oh – I only use black oil sunflower seeds in my one feeder. And the variety of birds is wonderful. 🙂


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