Thursday, 9 December 2010

Blackbirds by the Dozen

I normally fill all the seed feeders just before it gets dark so there is plenty of food for the early risers. Also over the past week I have been scattering seed over the frozen snow in the back garden so the ground feeders also have plenty to go at. I scatter it about as that saves many arguments as the birds don't have to get too close to each other.

Blackbird 2
Since the start of Autumn I had rarely seen a Blackbird in the garden. Then a few started to arrive when the temperature dived below zero.. The numbers have continued to grow up to a peak yesterday morning when I counted twenty one feeding at first light. I have always found that Blackbirds seem to be one of the first birds in the village to be up and about each morning. Unfortunately that means the light levels are far too low to try for a photograph of the multitude.

As well as the Blackbirds there have been up to ten Wood Pigeons grabbing as much food as they can. That is another reason for scattering the seed. If it is all in one place then one of the pigeons will sit on it and keep all other birds away.

Wood Pigeons

There was nearly one less Blackbird this morning. I was doing a bit of filming when a shape came hurtling out of the sky. A Sparrowhawk had dived in aiming at one of the birds feeding on the lawn. Fortunately for the Blackbird the raptor was noticed and within a second the garden was empty and the air filled with alarm calls.The Sparrowhawk flew up to a nearby branch empty clawed. It was amusing to watch as two Wood Pigeons sat on a nearby branch and just stared at the hawk as though to say - come on if you feel tough enough. Needless to say the camcorder wasn't pointing in the right direction to capture the action.

There have been far fewer Goldfinches since the harsh weather arrived. Often I will se a lone one at the feeder and just occasionally three or four. This one was captured in one of the short bursts of sunlight we have had recently.

Goldfinch 2

It looks as though we are going to get a short respite from the cold weather for the next few days. I hope to get my drive cleared as I have my yearly  scan, x-ray and blood tests on Monday.


  1. Hi John, we too had thought the blackbirds had vanished from here but in recent days, we have seen one. It must have been great for you to see twenty one, so all the food you put out is making a big difference. We were delighted that the blackbirds escaped but the poor sparrowhawk - he must be finding it very, very tough these days.

  2. I've noticed more Blackbirds about too John.
    Another rare visitor yesterday, was a Pied Wagtail. It must be getting tough for food.
    Lovely shot of the Goldie in the sunlight.

  3. John, you are doing sterling work. I have just bought a big sack 20kg you must be having bird food delivered by truck. Was going to buy the same of meal cheaper to feed them fillet steak.

  4. Lovely photos of the Blackbird and the Goldfinch and the one of the Wood Pigeons made me laugh, it looked like they were having a discussion.

    I too put bird food out just before it gets dark so there is plenty for the early birds. I agree with Adrian about the price of Mealworms (I buy the dried ones) I don't know why they are so very expensive.

  5. Lots more Blackbirds in my neck of the woods to John, lovely opening pic of the Blackbird. Linda

  6. Hello Twosie. The Blackbirds have eaten all the berries that were on local bushes so they are now finding it harder to find food. I was listening to the radio this morning where it was said that much of the natural food which would keep birds going through January and February has already been eaten during this past cold spell.

  7. Hello Keith. It would appear that much of the natural food has already been eaten so they are desperately looking for anything else to eat.

  8. You are stronger than I am Adrian. 20Kg is too much for me to drag about these days. ;)
    Meal worms are a shocking price so get given in very small quantities - first come first served in the mornings. I bet you could be in a three figure price for 20Kg of them.

  9. Thank you Jan. The Wood Pigeons spent most of their time boxing each others ears with all their wing flapping posturing.

  10. Thank you Linda. The Blackbirds do seem to be struggling to find food - amazing how the word spreads when one or two find a good patch.


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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