Thursday, 21 January 2016

Robins, Blackbirds, a Wren and some Great Tits all in a Student house!

So since I came back to Nottingham for exams this January, I decided to try providing some food for the local birds to help them over winter, and to provide myself with some solace from the mundane exam season. Since first putting some food on the brick barbeque a few weeks ago, we have had a fantastic array of birds coming to see what’s on offer, and I think I may have heightened my reputation amongst house mates as the crazy bird lady as well. Hopefully what I have to tell about these wonderful winged friends will make a few people want to do the same as myself.

The very fat little Rob helping himself to more seed
Before putting out any seed, we had to the odd visit from a Robin and a pair of Blackbirds, who liked to rummage around the Ivy for any berries that may be in the undergrowth. I initially thought it may be nice for them to have some seed to supplement their diet, and surely enough the three birds turned into regulars. The female Blackbird in particular is happy to potter around the edge of the garden, minding her own business and looking for food while I watch on the patio only a few metres away. The male blackbird in contrast is a little shyer, but it is quite evident that his lady has her belly as a much higher priority over any dangers a human may pose on her. The Robin has been one of my favourite characters, who has been looking rather well fed in recent weeks, and with good reason. Each morning now when I come to put the seed out I can hear him tweeting at the top of our tree wishing me a good day. Before I have even stepped a few metres away he will have swooped down onto the bricks and be pecking away at all of the goodies I have provided for him.
The female Blackbird pleased with one of her berries she's managed to forage from the undergrowth

The female Blackbird looking interested in what I'm doing 
The slightly shy male Blackbird sitting higher up the tree
The Wren sitting on a rock behind the barbecue
A few days after putting the food out, these three were joined by yet more birds. A little wren is often seen flitting about the garden like a mouse with an incredibly nervous disposition on a sugar rush. He however is often chased off by another slightly slimmer looking Robin who reckons he is far more worthy of this territory. Of course this Robin is soon put back in his place when the two dim-witted Pigeons come to play. It did make me chuckle watching one pigeon progress its way, and eating all along the wall of seed, before sitting there for a good 15 minutes realising he has eaten far too much. He looked a little like I felt after Christmas dinner, having filled every gap in my stomach, and just needing to sit digest for a while before any other activity is even thinkable.
After a few days I decided to invest in a very basic bird feeder to hang off the branch of a tree, but unfortunately and surprisingly, the birds have not taken too well to it. It did not occur to me before that the birds may refuse to use the feeder, but this one had been out for a week and still nobody had decided to try out the new gadget. I still put the food on the top of the barbeque wall, but on catching sight of a recent less desired visitor, a large rat, I thought best to try other methods of feeding. I have since bought a new mesh feeder and a seed feeder with larger holes in the hope that these may be a little more appealing to the birds. I don’t mind any non-flying wildlife, so long as they remain outside, but I somehow don’t think everyone else would agree on that matter!
One of the Great tits on the seed with the Pigeon and female Blackbird on the
barbecue behind
The winged guests have come to visit our garden every day without fail, and I was delighted with two new visitors that first came to munch on the fat balls on the washing line yesterday. Two Great Tits decided to grace us with their presence for a short while, and unlike the other birds, were quick to use the bird feeders. I am hoping the others may catch on so I can see them well from the window of our kitchen, and so that I may provide a little less of an advert to the rodents around and about. Unlike the other birds, the Great tits are much more timid, and will fill their beaks with as much seed as they can before flying up to a high branch on the tree to continue their feast. I’m hoping in the next few weeks they may too learn that I am no threat to them, so I can see these two going about their daily business moderately undisturbed.

I hope this may inspire some of you with even just a patio outside your house to put out some seed for the birds. To give you an idea, I managed to get a bag of mixed bird seed for £1 from a certain shop selling things for a pound, have lightened up January for myself, and hopefully provided some entertainment for my housemates as well.  

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