Thursday, 16 April 2009

Birds in the Garden

The new feeding arrangements are going really well with birds visiting nearly all day. I am especially pleased that after over a year of trying to tempt Goldfinches there was a pair who dropped in on and off nearly all day.

From Blogger Pictures

Most of the time they spent snacking at the niger seed feeder ...

... with an occasional sortie into the covered feeder which, amongst other seeds, contains Sunflower hearts.

Every so often they would fly into a nearby tree but it wouldn't be long before they were back again.


One of the Goldfinches was the first bird I had seen try out the new water supply.

Other bird visitors included a Wren which I always find difficult to photograph as they are either constantly on the move or when they do stop they are so small they vanish behind the smallest of obstacles.


During the Winter I had put up some roosting pouches for birds to find shelter if they needed it. I don't think any was actually used though I did once spy a House Sparrow go inside one. Today a Great Tit was investigating the outside of a roost but I think that on both occasions the birds were looking for food.

Great Tit

Of course a day does not go by without one unwelcome visitor to the feeders. I have tried all sorts of things to discourage it but in the end the best that can be done is damage limitation. Make sure that the wire on the peanut feeder is strong enough to withstand those teeth!


I have found another individual Rook visitor. Just look at the size of the underhang on this ones beak. No mistaking him / her when it revisits. It looks a bit on the tatty side but I think it had recently been having a paddle.

Rook 6

All in all, in spite of the gloomy weather, it was a good day for watching the bird visitors to the garden.


  1. Lovely visitors to have in the garden John. And Goldies definitely like Sunflower Hearts - in fact mine will eat those in preference to Niger seed.

    Some lovely pictures and that Rook - I wonder what causes that rather large "pouch"!

  2. Hi Tricia. I wonder if the 'pouch' is a crop to hold the little stones they eat when grubbing around in muddy fields. I've tried Googling but so far not managed to find any information.

    I keep experimenting with seed combinations. My seed feeder is always the least used item. In fact the seeds last so long they can start sprouting in the feeder! I may well just put Sunflower hearts in that as there is still a variety to choose from in the flat mesh feders.

  3. John - it might be that it's food or stones as you say. A sort of "store" as a Pelican stores it's food? I'm probably way out here, but it is intriguing though.

    It's interesting that your seed is going to waste too.

    Both my mother and I have found the same thing to the extent that I've now given up buying mixed seeds at all and only use sunflower hearts - in the seed and (caged) ground feeder - peanuts and fat products.

    Even the fat's going down quite slowing!

  4. That's a great shot of the Rook John. He looks like an old man with a grey beard. You did well to get the Wren; very difficult birds to capture as you say. And the Goldfinches are real beauties.

  5. Great goldfinches. A pair in transit paused in our tiny garden yesterday - rarely see 'em, unfortunately. Startling colours, putting me in mind of tribal war paint.

  6. Holdingmoments: Yes. It looked to me like the 'wise old man' of the Rookery. I took several photos of the Wren and that was the one which showed most of it in view.

    Rambling Rob: They really are brilliant in their breeding plumage. No sign of them today but at least I now know they will visit from time to time.

  7. Lovely post and photos John. The Goldfinches are such beautiful little birds, and like Tricia, they eat the sunflower hearts in preference to the niger seed in my garden. I have four small feeders containing only hearts which have to be refilled most days! During the breeding season last year I was filling six feeders a day! They are very messy eaters though and I find there is much less waste with kibbled hearts.
    Well done on the Wren, you have beaten me to it! This week I managed to get some photos for the first time and will be showing some on my next post, as you say they are extremely difficult to capture.

  8. Hi again John, I have emailed you a link regarding the Rook's pouch. Hope you get it ok.

  9. ShySongbird: Thanks for your nice comment. I have today ordered some Sunflower hearts as the only ones I have at the moment are in a seed mixture.
    Surely Goldfinches can't be messier that Rooks or House Sparrows which throw the seeds they are not interested in all over the place. Mind you the Blackbirds soon clear most of it up for me.

    The Wren is so small it's a problem to get close enough for a decent photo. The picture I used was a small crop.

    Thanks also for the other information reference you sent. Nice to know that the skin under the beak is used for carrying extra food. That Rook must have had quite a store when I photographed it.

  10. Great to see the new layout has attracted the Goldfinch. Seem to have the same taste in food as ours, nyger first and sunflower hearts second. Wonderful shots and a great post.

  11. The Goldfinches are such beautiful little birds. We don't have squirrels out here but I learnt when visiting the USA a few years ago that they are cute but nuisances!

  12. LBJ: Thanks for the nice comment. No sign of them today but I expect they will be back another day.

    Mick: The grey squirrel certainly is a pest. It can cause a lot of damage if it gets into buildings and kills off tree branches by stripping the bark.

  13. Just been catching up on recent posts John. Loved the goldfinch photos, and the sparrow 'bathing'. I'm absolutely fascinated by your resident newts.

  14. Many thanks for the nice comment BTB.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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