...it's oh so still!
Or is it? We've been having a pretty varied array of enquiries recently regarding garden birds and their activity. Whilst there are many people out there who are calling to say they are filling their feeders many times a day to feed bands of species, often sparrows, we are also speaking to many people for whom bids are hard to come by, even the ever presents species have done disappearing acts. Are either unusual for this time of the year we have been asked, our answer has been the same for both, not at all!
I remember writing this blog here a couple of years ago discussing the reasons why birds can be hard to spot in gardens during the late summer and autumn months, this year we are looking at bumper berry crops, loads of fruit, healthy acorn supplies and many insects are having a good year. In short, birds have plenty of natural food to have a go at and they instinctively know to take advantage of this. Don't worry though they will be back later in the year.
However, for those who have not seen this drop in activity, don't worry, your birds have not forgotten how to behave naturally, they are just taking advantage of a source of food and a safe place to eat it. Whilst many birds adopt a roving foraging approach post breeding season (blue and great tits for example), some of them will stay close to home range where they know their is sufficient food. Even really sedentary species like the house sparrow adopt different foraging approaches depending on where they are. In some places you will see some using the hedgerows as corridors to take them a mile or two away from their home range to forage on seeds spilt in farming processes or insects in the margins whilst others stick around the garden area using bird feeders and feeding on the insects found in most gardens. I was watching the local sparrows, robin and chaffinches splitting their time between the seed feeder and the emerging flying ants!
We often get asked about the dawn chorus and why birds are not singing anymore, often people are concerned that something bad has happened to them. Thankfully in most cases it isn't something to worry about. The peak time for birds singing to proclaim ownership of territory and to attract in mates is between March and June. After this period things go very quiet as birds are busy tending young or have completed their breeding season and moved off to foraging grounds where they have no need to sing over territory and are not thinking about mating anymore! However, not all birds are quiet, i'm listening to a robin at the moment! They can sing through the year as they hold a permanent territory, maybe going quiet for a time during the late summer and autumn moult but otherwise they are one of our most prolific songsters. Have you heard any other bird song recently? Let us know who is singing where you are!
I'm overrun with Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Tits and Blackbirds, all with juveniles. Oh and the Starlings have returned
I'm just grateful that my sultana tray is getting a rest :) during the winter and spring sultanas were at a premium ! I still keep my tree feeders topped up and my water holders (deep one for drinking and most birds) and the shallow (RSPB) one for insects and blue tits (they love to bathe in the shallow water). Thank you for the Blog, most enjoyable to read.
It's the first season in our new home since moving in late June. So far we are seeing easily a couple dozen sparrows, up to a dozen goldfinches, half a dozen chaffinches and a pair of siskins on a regular daily basis.
Having lived close to the coast on a new housing estate before moving to Hemyock in East Devon, we are delighted to see so many birds now taking advantage of the garden and feeders. Oh, and a spotted woodpecker popped in briefly too, which was a real treat.
We're looking forward to seeing what the year ahead brings to the garden, esp the winter months.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654