Saturday, 2 April 2016

In Praise of Sunflower Hearts

Mrs S & I get a great deal of pleasure from the birds that visit our garden - and, luckily for us, the visitors are rarely in short supply. On one memorable afternoon last summer I actually had go out and remove the fat-feeder for a while, as we had over 40 Starlings causing a screeching cacophony on and around it. Large numbers of Sparrows nest under our roof tiles, performing chirruping tap-dances on the ceiling to wake us each morning - we sleep at the top of the house, directly beneath them. We have a resident pair of Collared Doves. Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Thrushes all stop by. So too do Robins, Great Tits and Blue Tits. Until we had the fence erected a couple of years ago, a group of Wild Chickens occasionally wandered in from the fields to create havoc. Once or twice we've even had the slightly surreal experience of a Pheasant inadvertently landing in the garden - it's always a toss-up who's more surprised, us or the Pheasant. With all this activity, it feels a little unappreciative to complain, but (with the honourable exception of the Robins and Tits) up to last year, we'd seen very few splashes of colour amongst our visitors. A friend advised us to try filling a feeder with sunflower hearts. I gave it a go and, very gradually, they came. New visitors this year have included Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Coal Tits, Siskins and, my favourites, a seemingly inseparable male and female Chaffinch.

I bring the feeders in each evening, particularly during the winter months, to dissuade any Rats who might roam in off the marsh in search of food. Every morning when I take the feeders back out, various groups of birds are sitting waiting around the fence, shuffling excitedly. They all pounce the moment I hook up the feeders and are already stuffing their faces by the time I get back indoors to my breakfast. On a couple of mornings this week I had a camera on hand as I watched them tuck in.





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10 comments:

John Medd said...

Lovely. Just one of the many reasons I drop by. Does Bill Oddie live close?

Marie said...

Mr. S.,

What are the colourful birds in the bottom photo? They're so very beautiful! How lucky you are.

The Swede said...

Not to my knowledge John - although Rick Wakeman lives just up the road!

The bottom ones are Goldfinches Marie, or, as a friend of mine calls them, Jam-Faced Finches!

C said...

Such gorgeous photos! You know I share your passion for our lovely garden birds - this is bliss!

Singing Bear said...

Fab photos. You are certain blessed in the bird dept. We also feed our feathered chums on sunflower hearts but are now torn because the cats seem to think the feeder is some kind of takeaway menu for them. Bloody savages!

The Swede said...

Thanks C & SB. This is actually a densely cat-populated area, though thankfully few seem interested in the bird population, preferring to chase mice, voles and small rabbits, judging by what I've witnessed dangling from their mouths. Sparrowhawks are the main threat - terrifying, yet impressively methodical.

Singing Bear said...

I forget to exclaim: Wild Chickens?!! What??

charity chic said...

Great photos
Like SB we get the occasional casualty courtesy of the local cats

C said...

Yes, intrigued too like SB by Wild Chickens! Please tell us more...
Also had a pheasant in the garden over Easter w/e, I was working in the Shedio and so got an amazing view of him just a couple of feet away from my window; with the sun shining on his plumage it looked like his featherw were made from golden threads - gorgeous bird.

Brian said...

Ah, you know I have a real soft spot for these bird photos of yours. We have had some new feathered friends this spring too, but I could never capture them as well. Enjoyed this song too. The Beach Boys also have a lovely song called Little Bird that came out on Friends just before this one.

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