Today, rain brought much activity to my bird feeders. I have noticed that there are many more birds in my garden on a wet day than a dry one. Back and forth they flew from feeder to feeder looking for a space to land. They would also drop very quickly to the ground and on to shrubs then in a split second they would all swoop out of my garden to the safety of my neighbour’s larger trees. Some also disappear straight into my hedge which is funny to watch although not as funny as seeing them all gingerly peek their heads out again to see if it is safe to go back to the feeders!
The tiny bird that scurries around the edges of my pond was who I set my video camera to capture today. I love to see it visit and would really like to get some photos of it from outside but recently with the rain and winds I haven’t been able to do so. So, for the meantime I will have to settle for the video camera inside at the window. My film above is very short – just like this visit.
Another short visit I spotted today was of a Sparrowhawk briefly landing on the hook of one of my feeders. I believe they check out gardens in advance to plan their attack route. I expect my shrubs, bamboo, small trees, pergola and arch make this route a tricky one. I have also noticed it pass through my garden on windy days too so no wonder the birds are a bit more nervous at the feeders then.
Next weekend I hope I see my usual selection of garden birds visit my garden as it is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for 2008. This is a yearly survey counting the birds that visit our gardens across the UK. To take part you just spend an hour sometime over the weekend – it can be great fun especially for families. You don’t count every bird that you see visit as one bird could make many visits throughout the hour. You don’t count birds that fly over either. You count the most birds you can see at any one time in your garden over a period of one hour.
The RSPB website will give more details and a counting sheet too. I would suggest that you browse their site this weekend for ideas on possible visitors and perhaps pay some attention to what is likely to be the busiest times in your garden - that’s if you want to get a good count! In previous years many people, myself included, have been disappointed that in the hour they chose to do their count it didn’t fully reflect the numbers that usually visit the garden. The RSPB say as there are so many people taking part (over 400,000 last year) these numbers average out and do give an accurate account of the birds visiting our gardens. They publish their results (in March last year) listing the top ten garden birds in the UK and also separate figures for Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
Just a thought – if any of my visitors outside the UK would like to do their own bird count on the weekend of 26-27 January you could pop a comment on this post with your results and I will add them to my results posting. Alternatively if you would like to do your own post just leave a comment here telling me and I will add a direct link to your posting on my results posting and people from the UK will see what birds you have in your gardens. This could be very interesting indeed to see what birds visit gardens in an hour across other parts of Europe, Canada and America. Please do consider joining me - it could be fun. Mmm thinking about this some more I might just send out some invitations!!
The video shown above was taken in my garden on January 18th 2008.