Sunny Intervals

In the sunny intervals
between the hailstone showers
back and forth the small birds flit,
raiding the bird feeders.

Deep Freeze

Deep freeze.
The birds empty the feeders.
I can’t break the ice on the pond.
Spring retreats, regroups.

Deposed

Who’d have thought it?
A pigeon,
king of the feeders,
deposed
by a family
of marauding starlings.

Lone Magpie

Magpie

Magpie (Photo by Adrian Pingstone via Wikipedia)

A lone magpie visited my bird feeding station this morning. It brought to mind the traditional rhyme about magpies:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl and
Four for a boy.
Five for silver,
Six for gold and
Seven for a secret
that’s never told.

 

 

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This has been recorded as a most beautifully haunting song by The Unthanks on their ‘Mount the Air’ album.
Sorry, I can’t share the video here but check it out on YouTube.
Search ‘The Unthanks – Magpie’.

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Antics

Antics at the bird feeders;
the birds display their quirks and foibles.
Domineering, bombastic, bullying pigeons
defend their claim and stand their ground.
Opportunistic sparrows, robins, blue-tits,
dart swiftly in and out, evading strife
while on the ground the blackbird ferrets,
finding food spilled by the squabbles above.

Later in the evening the hedgehog snuffles,
seeking fallen mealworms among the grass.

Posturing

Two pigeons posturing
at the feeders.
A third, incoming,
sees them off – unfed.

Oblivious

Drizzle
falls steadily.
Birds line up along the fence
waiting for the feeders
to be filled. Oblivious.
Bedraggled.

Returning

A few days away
and cherry blossom gone,
but look — cherries form.

Returning
I refill
the bird feeders.
Rare visitor flies in.
Jackdaw.

Woodpecker

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!

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

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!

Knocked Aside

I refill the bird feeders
casually knocked aside
as careless Storm Doris
bulldozed her way through.

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