This week we have been in touch with all our volunteers and we are pleased to report that they are all doing well.  We are all making the most of the time at home to observe the birds and wildlife in our garden. 

This week we have two guest blogs.  One from our retail assistant Liz who has written an account of the bird antics in her garden and one from Ellie, who has written about her sunflower competition with her brother Sammy.

Views from my window - Part 1

Although I haven’t got a huge or horticulturally diverse garden, I am lucky enough to have fairly active feeding station and a selection of regular avian visitors to keep me entertained during this time of restricted outdoor activity. So far this week, I have managed to see blue tits, great tits, robins, blackbirds, chaffinches, starlings, a pair of greenfinches, goldfinches, wrens, dunnocks, rooks, magpies, jackdaws, collared doves, wood pigeons and, surprisingly, several feral pigeons that are generally absent from my list of garden spots. In addition, I looked out the other day to see what might have been causing my dog to be somewhat anxious to find a beautiful kestrel sitting on my fence. I have never spotted one anywhere in, over, or near my garden before so this was quite exciting!  He didn’t hang about for long and it hasn’t put off my regular feathered friends from dining in my garden.

I am fairly new to the world of birds so having more time on my hands has enabled me to spend longer observing their habits as oppose to simply identifying them.

Dunnock Grahame Madge RSPB-images                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Goldfinch Chris Gomersall RSPB-images

#1 The Entertainer

I have to give a shout out to the humble wood pigeons that are currently my number one for entertainment value! Being ‘that time of year’, there are all sorts of antics going on and the remains of an old climbing frame has provided the perfect platform for them to perform in full view. The ritual seems to start with Mrs Woody strutting around the grass seemingly ignoring Mr Woody as he follows her around head lowered doing a dainty little skip every few paces. After a few minutes off they both go to a nearby tree where they sit at an acceptable distance apart whilst she (presumably) decides whether he is a worthy suitor. Everything goes quiet for a while after that, they fly off separately, change trees, come down for some spilled seed, I make a cup of tea or whatever before the grand finale begins. Mr & Mrs Woody reconvene on top of my climbing frame, at a safe distance apart to start with. Mr Woody hops around and preens himself, showing what a fine specimen he is! Once suitably impressed, Mrs Woody joins him and they hop closer and closer until they are snuggled side by side; and then comes the most unexpected behaviour…he feeds her! You can see him regurgitating food and she takes the food from well into his gaping beak – quite extraordinary! Whilst she is feeding she is nuzzling closer and closer until she finally accepts his advances and the deed is done. Quite amusingly Mr Woody then literally turns his back on her and hops off to go about his business which normally involves eating!! My (grown-up) daughter and I usually put voices to the action and end up in stitches – Oh the joys of social lockdown.  Liz

We are also encouraging the #BreakfastBirdwatch.  This takes place between 8-9am every morning.  Sit back with a cuppa and your breakfast and enjoy the birds from the window.  Let us know what you see on our Twitter page @RSPB_Ribble and Facebook @RSPBRibbleEstuary.

RSPB Flower Power Wild Challenge

Me and my brother decided we wanted to grow something during our time at home, so we checked out the RSPB Flower Power Wild Challenge.  However being siblings we decided to make it into a competition.  Why not try it yourself?  It would be brilliant to have beautiful sunflowers everywhere to brighten things up.

Step 1.  You need; peat free compost, sunflower seeds, trowels and pots

Step 2.  Fill your pots with compost

Step 3. Make a small hole in the compost with your finger and pop the seed in.  Cover it up with compost again.

Step 4. Water the seed and find a cool spot inside that provides light but protects it from the frost.

When the seeds start to grow we will put them into bigger pots and put them outside and tie them to a stick so they don't fall over.  When they start to flower we will measure them and let you know which variety grew the tallest and which of us won the competition.  Ellie