Friday, 18 January 2008

Rain brings garden birds

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!


Wren around garden pond, video 0:15 with background music, try 480p quality.


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.

16 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Shirl, The video of the little wren is so sweet. I just love wrens. The wrens here also crawl all over the rocks around my water feature to pick bugs. It enjoy watching their antics. They are rarely still. I can see why you have such trouble getting a photo of them especially in low light.

We do a feeder count for Indiana Audubon that starts this weekend too so I will be watching our feeders. I will try to remember to report to you an hours worth of counting. We are to have ver low temps this weekend. This is usually good for the count since birds need more fuel to keep warm. They come to the feeders more often. We will see. Good luck with your count. I will be watching to see what you see at your feeders.

Jane said...

I loved the wren video. They are so quick. I tried to video one in a hedge the other day, and it was practically impossible, cos it kept jumping all over the place! So well done for catching this. I will be doing a bird count... I'd better fill the feeders up.

Birdfreak said...

Neat video! We have a similar survey called the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) here in the U.S. They are so fun!

Good birding to you!

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa :-)

Yes, the light levels around my pond is a problem as it is shaded from the house. I am ever hopeful though that I will get a photo :-D

Okay to the bird count. Ours is next weekend (25-26th Jan). I am delighted to hear you are doing one at the moment too! So glad you popped by tonight as you were on my hit/invitation list :-D

I hope you post on your bird count too :-D Please let me know and I will post your link with my results next weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Jane and hello Birdfreak :-)

Jane – Thanks, I only wish it was longer. They are so tricky to catch on film and I suspect that is why I am so determined to get it. I agree, they jump so swiftly that we cannot predict which direction they will go next! Yes, filling up the feeders this weekend will give you a good chance for the count next weekend. Enjoy your count :-D

Birdfreak – Thanks! Hi there - I don’t think we’ve met! Seeing as you have found me tonight please do take up my invitation to join us with an hours count next weekend. If you give me a link to your post I will share it with the UK too. I’d like to see what birds you have visit your garden. Happy counting :-D

Mike @ Fenphotography said...

Hi Shirl,
Great video of the Wren very nicely captured, I will check out the form for the count as its gone a bit mad here.

You'll be pleased to know I now have 8+ siskins regularly visiting my garden, yet to make my first post of the year, weathers been terrible.

Mike.

shirl said...

Hi again, Mike :-)

Good to hear from you – I had noticed you hadn’t posted and wondered if you were unwell.

Great to hear you have a group of siskins now. I tried to count mine today and I think there were over 11 but they were so tricky to see as the birds were going in every direction! Look forward to seeing photos of your siskins. :-D Hope you haven’t been caught up in floods!

Roger B. said...

We too have noticed that we seem to get more birds in our garden wet days.

My theory is that they know that rain keeps the neighbourhood cats indoors!

Great video.

Miranda Bell said...

Another lovely posting... Wrens are beautiful little birds - we had one nesting in our stable last year - there was some old hay in the loft above and it had very cleverly pulled a pile through the old floor boards (the ceiling of the stable) creating a hanging nest... spherical and complete with a tiny entrance hole. I once found an old nest - birds are so amazing in the way they construct them - the centre of a wren's is no bigger than the inside of a tennis ball beautifully lined with horsehair, and anything soft and fluffy they can search out - a real work of art! Enjoy!
Miranda

shirl said...

Hi again, Roger and Miranda :-)

Roger – you may well be right! Perhaps the cats don’t like windy days either! Thanks, I really enjoy making the videos. My blog initially began as I way to show videos of the robin to my friend in Australia. I have uploaded quite a few since then :-D

Miranda – thank-you! I agree the wren is really a very dainty and pretty little bird – I love to see it fly. How fascinating to see the wren’s nest being built in this way. The whole nesting process is amazing especially when you can see it first hand as we did last year for the first time in our Nestbox that has a camera. I put out a small basket of soft nesting material for the birds which was all taken – large clumps disappeared when the jackdaw discovered it! However the Blue tit making the nest in our Nestbox didn’t always find it easy to pull away the material as you can see in this video :-D

A wildlife gardener said...

I love wrens, shirl..and your video was so sweet. We are going to try to do the RSPB birdwatch...Most years we manage to do it.

I often wish they would post a list of birds online, and ask members to tick boxes to indicate which birds from the list they have seen in their garden over the previous year...because, often, not many varieties come during the one hour, whereas there might be a huge variety over the year.

As always, your posts continue to delight :)

Meems said...

Hi Shirl: Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comment. I've been out of town so this is my first chance to stop by yours and say hi. Lovely photos and posts - I've enjoyed your site!

Oh how I love to watch the sweet wrens hopping and flitting about as they forage so nimbly. They tend to nest in any nook or cranny they find comfortable don't they? We have a time discouraging them from nesting in my front door wreath - for their safety.

Thanks for the video. I do the same thing (video them) when I can't seem to capture the quick wee birds- then I can continue to enjoy watching them on my computer. I've posted some videos of "beach" birds on my blog after our weekend trip. Please stop by when you get a minute.

I'm going to research info on a feeder count in my area... you've got me curious to see if we do something like that here.

Catherine said...

Hi Shirl, I love the video of the wren..they are so fun to watch! And very quick and hard to capture..you however had great sucess and captured the little darling nicely!!
I also enjoyed your earlier post on arbors & pergolas!

shirl said...

Hi again, Wildlife Gardener, Meems and Cat :-)

Wildlife Gardener – Thank-you, as always I do really enjoy making the videos I post – especially when they are tricky to get like the wren. The RSPB Birdwatch seems more popular now but being a member for some time you will probably have seen many changes. Yes I agree the stats for one hour never seem to reflect the garden visitors on an average day. You are quite correct about noting the birds that have visited throughout the year too. Recently after mailing the BTO I discovered that they have members who do quarterly surveys of visiting species with highest numbers seen etc too :-D

Meems – You are welcome - thank-you! The wrens seem popular visitors throughout the world don’t they? It is always very interesting to hear about all their different nesting places. Funnily enough I began videos with the same idea as you and always enjoy discovering other sites that show them. Thanks, I enjoyed looking at your videos too. Perhaps you might like to spare an hour this weekend and post on what birds visit your garden. If you do please send me a link :-D

Cat – I agree they are fun to watch. Yes, capturing them on film is a challenge! My two posts on arbours and pergolas were also tricky to do looking back on the changes in my garden – I’m glad you enjoyed them :-D

jodi said...

Hi Shirl: Sure i'll join in counting this weekend. I just wrote a post about one bird I'll be including in my weekend observations...and I quoted your invite and linked back to you too. You'll get a charge out of the bird I'll be watching.

How did i expand the comment area? I didn't do anything myself, it's the new template I'm using; I just wanted one with three columns (though I wish I could make the sidebar columns a little wider, because I'm having image issues on the sides). All I did was customize the wallpaper beind the template, and change colours, fonts, etc to make it entirely mine.

And now, my question; what are you using for a camera and lenses? It's been too cold and snarky out for me to go outdoors and sit quietly with the camera on my tripod, so what photos I've gotten in the past couple weeks have been through windows--sometimes with screens.

shirl said...

Wow, Jodi :-D

Thanks very much for the link back! Fantastic! That’s quite a bird that you’ll be looking out for too :-D

I wondered if that was the case with the comments as I noticed it on all the new templates on other blogs. I have spent many, many hours already altering much of my original template including colours and changing html etc for the photos on the side bar and adding java script for my banners etc - with a lot of help from my husband. I will just keep as is in my comments unless we can now look at altering them now too :-D

Your question is probably the one I get asked the most :-) I too have been taking photos from through my window recently! All my bird and flower close-up shots are taken with a Tamron f4 55-200mm lens on my Canon EOS 400D camera. However, I have to name and shame the standard lens that comes with this camera – I have found it take rubbish shots and reviews of it agree.

Thanks once again for posting with my links. I have just heard from Frances at Faire Garden who has just linked to us both :-D