You could easily get knocked off your feet like the ducklings and Mum Mallard in the video below. Thanks go to my daughter for passing me on the link last night. As she says… don't worry, there is a happy ending :-)
Looking out the window to my small Scottish garden this morning, it's wild out there too. I see large leaves spinning around the ground and my first thoughts went to those tiny ducklings seen rolling and spinning along the ground in gusts of wind.
Today garden birds are venturing into my garden but with feeders being blown about and branches of trees and shrubs being battered by the wind getting to them is another matter. The regulars will know there are some sheltered areas and ground feeders so will find food there.
It’s been pretty quiet with garden birds at the feeders this last week. The feeders were due to be cleaned before refilling but after seeing a possible fat finch (with tricho disease which ends in death usually after 5 days) I delayed the refilling. My plan was that visiting groups of mixed finches (lots of goldfinches) would disperse a little and so perhaps halt the spread of trichomonosis. Clean feeders and birdbaths are the first line of defence.
The feeders were only unavailable for a few days but since then the birds really have not returned in any significant numbers. We’re only seeing odd numbers and visits. Even blackbirds have been pretty thin on the ground. That has surprised me.
Mm… don’t know who got the surprise though when I was hanging my newly cleaned and refilled feeders of sunflower hearts on my feeder Arch. There is a large bamboo planted beside the Arch. I never saw the Saprrowhawk and it clearly only saw my hand as it flew close over my head!
Since then, I’ve seen quite a few Sparowhawk flights through the garden. Guessing there could be more than one visiting and I did see one successful snatch from a feeder pre cleaning and refilling too.
On this wild, windy Wednesday I am expecting to see a Sparrowhawk visit. Not just a fly through either. I’ve noticed that on wild, windy days they will sit on a perch (usually my Arch feeder) and wait for the birds to come to it.
You can see Sparrowhawks listening hard for any bird chattering above wind noise. They also appear on very wet days without wind too. I caught video of a wet day visit earlier this year where the male hawk waited patiently for some time before giving up and flying away. I’ve already posted it but here’s it again for anyone that missed it.
After five years of regularly feeding birds my garden when they don’t it just isn’t the same place. However, I am absolutely confident that when the temps drop and there is snow and ice on the ground my garden will come alive again. Then, I feel happy that my food can help keep them alive on cold nights.
Ah… as I am about to post this some brave birdies are coming out from their hiding places and hanging on branches en route to the feeders. It really looks a struggle for them today. Oh… but thinking of those poor little ducklings again – what a moment that was for them. A great video capture too!
Finally for anyone interested in the date for the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdcount it’s Sat/Sun the 28th & 29th of January 2012. If you’ve never taken part before I’d suggest now would be a good time to put up a bird feeder (or two) so the birds find your garden in plenty of time for your garden to get some regular visitors :-)
This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2012.