Monday, January 27

Big Garden Bird Watch

The following birds braved the wet weather to visit us during the Bird Watch.
The numbers of house sparrows, starlings and goldfinches were down on the usual number of visitors but blackbird wars continued unabated. Most of the blackbird visitors were male and included our friend Hoppy. As you would expect our less frequent visitors stayed away.

I tried submitting my numbers yesterday but the Birdwatch website was so slow presumably due to the numbers logging on which is a good sign. I'll try again today.

Were our observations similar to yours? I do wonder whether bird visitor numbers fall during Bird Watch weekend as more people put out food in order to take part. This year I noticed that the RSPB even had an advert for the event on TV. My theory is that our fickle feathered friends take advantage of the unexpected bounty knowing full well that their regular food supply will be there all the time.

44 comments:

  1. I saw a bird I haven't seen before in my garden today. Always something of a thrill. Less thrilling was its position on the top of our guinea pigs pen. It definitely seemed to be eyeing them off and it had the kind of beak that would do them a lot of damage. I think I have identified it as a grey butcherbird but I'm not yet completely convinced.

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    1. I'll have to find a photo of a butcherbird, Liz - the name makes it sound fearsome

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  2. I don't think it's fickle of them Sue...just smart. I think you are probably right though. Many people will feed just to join in but then this goes down again. it's a shame really as birds do need the help, especially this time of year when they need to be fattening up in readiness for laying. Of course if they hadn't chopped down so many of the hedgerows the birds would have plenty to eat!!

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    1. As feeding becomes more popular, Tanya the cost of wild bird food goes up and that maybe puts people off. We have big sacks of all sorts of food delivered.

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  3. Worst weather ever for the big garden bird watch. Eventually did the hour, sent off the poor results from a garden where food is provided on a regular basis, then came the chaffinches, the bluetits etc. They just waited until I'd pressed ENTER!

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  4. The weather was just awful in the morning, it cleared after one so we started ours at two. Less goldfiches than normal but everything else seemed consistent with other years though.

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    1. We normally have a whole flock of goldfinches, Jo sometimes over a dozen at once. Maybe there are lots of natural seeds for them at the moment

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  5. What an awful weekend weather wise. I'd have been better to get it done on Saturday morning but I had to go out. We had torrential rain and hail in the afternoon and it rained just about all day yesterday so we had hardly any visitors to our feeders at all.

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    1. Hail, Jo? We missed that and were too busy finishing off the decorating on Saturday.

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  6. Darn it! I was determined not to miss it this year. Having said that I don't think I would be reporting much anyway, there's been a serious and sudden decline of garden birds on the feeders here, even the Tits are about which is extremely unusual. I worked out that the decline coincides with the land clearance - I think all those gorse bushes that we hated were home to many birds. Sadly they had to go as we need the land cleared but we did leave plenty of wild areas so hopefully they'll re-establish there. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Birds do like to nest in gorse, Linda especially linnets and long tailed tits so maybe they have moved on. Hopefully they will be back when things settle down again.

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  7. You had a good turnout! Better showing than here, but because of the weather we didn't venture much further than the bird table. The RSPB were saying on Twitter that they were having problems yesterday.

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    1. I have to admit I found it amusing the the RSPB were tweeting, Jessica. I think the idea that people logged in and used the website live the tally their bird count won't have helped. That's an incredible amount of traffic.

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  8. I think you are spot on re everyone feeding so the bird numbers drop for a while. Still, you have a good and varied turnout there. I had to give up, we had horrendous winds and hail so the birds were reluctant to show up, only a few collared doves and wood pigeons braved the weather. Today though....what a difference! Typical!xxx

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    1. It was really just wet here on Sunday, Snowbird but there were dry periods too which helped

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  9. I just had to say your photo's are great of these birds Sue. Well done for doing the survey

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    1. The photos are ones that I had taken at different times, Lisa. The conditions were hardly ideal for photography on Saturday

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  10. I logged into their site last night via a link, didn't realize it had a 60 minute time limit, so I didn't see many birds at that time it was dark.

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    1. I didn't use the online real time recording option, Rooko, just tallied on paper and entered my results later.

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  11. Lovely photos, and a reasonable tally of birds, although I can imagine it's a bit disappointing that your usual numbers desert you every year at Great Bird Watch time.

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    1. Lots of people say exactly the same thing CJ

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  12. We are lucky to have quite a number of bird species, although goldfinches are very rare, the feeders have not been used as much as expected over the last few months probably down to the mild weather.

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    1. Hi Rick and welcome. WE do well for variety too. I've listed the birds that we have seen in our garden is here. We gets lots of goldfinches - they are often queuing in the tree to have a turn on the sunflower hearts feeder which seems to be a firm favourite although they will also take niger seed. They also like to feed off the ground feeder which is under the sunflower hearts and collects any spills. During breeding season we also get lots of juvenile goldfinches. I've counted about 20 birds at one time.

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  13. No goldfinch, great tit, dunnock or even starling here but we did see the others you saw, and Magpies, a greenfinch and a solitary Jackdaw.

    As for the disappearing birds - they've all flown off to a mythical land called 'scientific rigour'.

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    1. We don't often see greenfinches now, Mal I'm not sure whether that is down to the dreaded finch disease that affected them badly. Maybe the birds have cottoned on to the fact that the fewer of them we count the more help they are given. They're all aiming to feature on the red list.

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  14. Lovely photos and an nice selection of birds, as echoed above its a shame some of your regulars were missing.

    Gaz - Alternative Eden

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    1. Hi Gaz and welcome. We do get a good selection. Just had a sparrowhawk in our crab apple tree which I'll post photos of tomorrow. Typical to be a day late.

      I'll pop and have a look at your blog when I get some browsing time.

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  15. How lovely to see such a good variety of birds.

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    1. I think the secret is a varied range of foods and types of feeders, Victoria

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  16. A fine array of feathered friends Sue. Here the bird count on Saturday morning in good weather was noticeably smaller than in previous years which was disappointing. A number of the usual suspects did not visit in the allocated hour but showed up later in the day :)

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    1. We may have had more sparrows Anna but they were difficult to count as they weren't all in one place and also kept flitting about so it was hard to tell which we had already counted.

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  17. Sue, what is the bird you saw 4 of (I realize it is common, but I am not familiar with European birds unless we have them here as well).

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    1. It's a goldfinch Alain - I think you have a bird called a goldfinch that is completely different. I guess it is only common for some people. Until a few years ago we didn't get any in the garden. The sunflower hearts seem to draw them.

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    2. It is indeed quite different looking.Ours is greenish in winter and canary yellow in summer.

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    1. 'Fraid not, Mark - she only hung around for a couple of days.

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  19. What great photos. I've seen about 5 of the birds you've pictured in my garden. I think my favourite is the robin as every garden I've been to seems to have one.

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    1. Thanks Kelli. Robins are cheeky - the blackbirds are also becoming very 'tame'.

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  20. Hi Sue, I did the bird watch too, but I suppose the numbers I get are not really correct since I can’t watch my garden from any window downstairs, I have to actually sit in my tiny garden doing the counting. And that’s rather scary for most birds so they will fly over and decide not to land when they see me. But a few birds are brave enough, the wood pigeons living on my roof are so used to me that they will happily fly down when I am here. And I also have some black birds and magpies that come frequently although only 1 blackbird came last Saturday. And 2 sparrows dared to come and eat from the feeder for a moment.

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    1. You maybe get birds that you never know about then, Helene. Most of our special visitors are just a chance glimpse from the house window. Blackbirds do appear to be becoming braver, It used to be just the females in our garden that came close but now the males seem to have taken the hint that we aren't a threat!. Maybe they have watched us chasing cats out of the garden (sorry cat lovers but my birds are not a free lunch however cute they are as pets).

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    2. Yes! For all I know there might be lots of birds out there every morning while I am fast asleep :-) Although the bird feed isn’t proving much of a hit yet so somehow I don’t think it’s much of a stampede out there!

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  21. Snap Sue! Nice to see you had Goldfinches. Enjoyed your montage too - I had fun with one of these a few years ago too :-D

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  22. The goldfinches tend to be our signature bird Shirl, along with blackbirds, WE had a couple of long tail tits yesterday - more latecomers to the party"

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