The status quo of birds feeding at my bird feeders today was still nowhere to be seen. I would say in fact it heightened to outright Bird Wars. The Goldfinches were the only species that didn’t fight with each other. It was quite cold today, we had snow overnight but it was all away by lunchtime. Hail followed with the odd snow showers in the afternoon which made the feeders even more busy than usual. Perhaps it is simply survival that is driving the strong behaviour change - the basic need for food to survive the cold.
The Bird Table, shown above, was taken over for long periods today by Woodpigeons and Starlings. I am considering only putting out sunflower hearts on the table tomorrow as it is a high energy food. Maybe then the birds will get enough food on a first visit to leave, letting others in. Today I was concerned for the smaller birds as they couldn’t get near the table, or feeders, at times. Unfortunately when they did get their turn they wasted energy in chasing each other away from the food.
Fat cakes are also very high energy. Clearly that is why they are so popular with most birds – although I have never noticed the finches ever feeding on them. Tonight I will go out and hang a fat cake away from the table in an effort to keep the Starlings fed and give the other birds a chance. I’ll fill up the feeders too as they have definitely gone down significantly today – this will give the early birds a chance to get food too.
If I were to be honest about my observations of bird activity today I would say I was concerned about how my neighbours may view it. If I were honest about how I felt about it, I would probably say 'I wish the Starlings and Pigeons would feed elsewhere'. In actual fact as the day went on and I saw the panic in the feeding of the birds I actually felt quite sad. They know they must feed and store food to survive. We, in fact, are no different when we rush to the shops when we feel stocks there may go down through bad weather or some other reason. I myself when I went to the supermarket today was not surprised in the least to see the car park so full for a Wednesday just after lunch, after all, we have snow forecast for tomorrow!
For more information on the Woodpigeon and Starling go to http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/w/woodpigeon/index.asp and http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/s/starling/index.asp