Tuesday, January 27

Garden Birdwatch - the resuts

We chose Saturday morning for our watching hour. One of us was posted at each of the windows that look out over the side of the house where all our feeders and bird tables are situated. This is the site of the main bird activity - it's impossible to cover all angles with just the two of us.

The blackbirds didn't let us down and as usual were waiting to be fed.
They also patrol under feeders when other birds are feeding and collect the titbits that fall down. Every tiny scrap is searched out from amongst the leaf litter. Along with most of the other birds blackbirds  are also partial to uncooked pastry scraps that is if the magpie leaves any after grabbing a beakful and making off into the trees.
The blackbirds tolerate each other as long as an acceptable distance is maintained between them. Too close and a beak-off is initiated. They also seem to take turns at the choicest areas. I guess some sort of pecking order is in play, however challenges do take place and squabbles break out. These, however, are not as raucous as the quarrelling of the starlings,
The tiny blue tits will take food from anywhere but generally can be fairly confident that they will have the peanut feeder more or less to themselves although if the weather is really bad other birds will provide competition.

At the other end of the scale are the comparatively huge woodpigeons who unlike the starlings can be surprisingly delicate feeders, especially considering the devastation they can cause in the allotment.

We had decided to try a second count on Sunday morning to compare results but it was unusually quiet and so we gave up. Even the blackbirds were reluctant to make a group appearance - they did come but in ones and twos only.

When I went online to submit our results I found that last year's results were still in place. Comparing them I found the two sets of results were very close

I would guess that the numbers of starlings and sparrows are higher than our count suggests but they are scattered and constantly on the move or hidden amongst the tree branches and shrubs and so very difficult to count.

On other days we have counted three robins but in the count only saw one at a time. 

Goldfinch numbers always seem to drop off at this time of year but during the breeding season we have had a whole flock or 'charm' and have counted up to 14 at a time.

All this leads me to think that I may do a count once a month, just for interest, to see how the situation changes from month to month.

As part of the count we are asked about other garden wildlife but I find the questions difficult to answer. You have to state whether you see the chosen creatures, daily, weekly, monthly, less than monthly, don't know or never.

So what is the correct answer for the frog which we see daily when lots are splashing around in the pond spawning but none now when they are hibernating?
I 'ticked' less than monthly - how can it be more frequently for animals like the frog and hedgehog that hibernate and disappear over winter?

NB: Photos not taken during the count

22 comments:

  1. Sounds so interesting that so various bird that you can find on your garden. In my garden there are so many wild birds, but only sparrow that I know.

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    1. I guess yours are tricky to spot in all your lush foliage, Endah

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  2. First of all, excellent photos. Good job with your count! I have found that our birds seem to have an eating schedule. There is a popular feeding time in the morning and one in the afternoon, where more birds show up.

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    1. It's the same in our garden, Juliet. It's as if a good bell rings but some drift in throughout the day.

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  3. I did my count on Sunday afternoon, I should have done it in the morning as the feeders were full. They must have had their fill by the afternoon as I didn't record many birds at all, in fact Eleanor laughed at me when she came towards the window and I told her to slow down because she'd scare the birds, she asked "What birds?". I've stopped putting peanuts out as I rarely have any takers, even the bluetits turn their beaks up at them. I love your photo of the frogs and the robin too.

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    1. I think that they all went off on a day trip on Sunday, Jo.

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  4. Interesting that you got to see last year's result, doing it direct via tablet I don't think I got that opportunity. As everyone else seems to be saying, bird numbers here have increased dramatically since Sunday!

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    1. The results just needed a bit of editing, Jessica. Must admit that I find it easier just to count and make a note on paper. With two of us it would have been tricky to add direct anyway.

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  5. I was surprised at the lack of birds arriving at mine on sunday. Every day before and every day after there's been a whole heap more of them. I'm beginning to think birds are either a) joke pullers or b) religious and take sundays off lol.
    I usually get quite a lot of wrens here but only 1 made an apearance on Sunday and even that was fleeting and even the 2 collared doves were nowhere to be seen.
    I'm quite jealous of the Gold finches Sue, I've had them here once but that's it. I'm going to make a better system this year so that I can start hanging the peanut feeders again without the rooks pinching it all.
    You certainly got a good variety there though.

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    1. Oops your reply should be here, Linda

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  6. That's a great count, and it's good to see that the numbers are staying steady or going up, on the whole.

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    1. It will be interesting to see how the national results turn out CJ

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  7. We'll have to tale note next Sunday, Linda. Maybe they fast on a Sunday although the food did seem to go down they just didn't seem to come together. Just seemed to sneak in when we weren't looking.

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  8. I found many of my regulars missing when I did my count.
    You had similar results to the previous year so nothing too concerning, I think. I tried to rope someone in the house in to help me but oddly enough, everyone was busy! Great pics too Sue.

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    1. Most of our usual visitors turned up Saturday morning but not as much in evidence Sunday, Angie, None of our occasional visitors made an appearance, Surprise surprise!

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  9. It's good to be able to compare last years stats.....my birds went awol as usual....but it was hailing and pouring down.xxx

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    1. In that case you can't blame them for staying away, Dina

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  10. P.s....brilliant frog pic!xxx

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    1. Thanks, Dina I hope that they are back this year

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  11. That's a great result sue. We did Saturday and Sunday to choose the best (Sunday morning was best for us, with 8 species and 14 individual birds. We had a surprise visit from a sparrow too, which was exciting).

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    1. Don't you get many sparrows, Lou?

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    2. Unfortunately not, there's quite a good crowd down at the allotment but not up where we live. We've started hearing them a bit at home though (a few have started sitting on the guttering of our block, so we can hear but not see them) but they don't often land in our garden.

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