‘Feed The Birds’

‘Feed the birds tuppence a bag’ goes the song from the film Mary Poppins.                  I feed the birds in the garden all year round, it costs a little more these days.

Observing birds in the garden and feeding them is, for me, an important element of enjoying the garden, which occasionally provides some photographic material.
These are some of the “Birdie” photographs I have taken in Our Garden@19 over the years.

The main bird feeders are on the patio just outside the dining room, ideal for bird watching, with three more around the garden.

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Today all the feeders are inside these cages to prevent the pigeons and jackdaws from emptying the contents onto the floor. I have made trays for them from plastic flower pot saucers, with drainage holes drilled in them, to catch the spillages, which I empty onto a ground feeding tray for the pigeons and collared doves.

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A Gardener’s Friend.

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I spy food!

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Going in for Breakfast.

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Do you come here often?

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28th November 2014, A Female Blackcap arrives on the bird feeders.
Is this a sign of colder weather on the way?
I have noticed in previous winters the female is the first to arrive.
They are a very aggressive little bird, for the first few weeks after arriving it spends all its time chasing other birds away from the feeders.

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Male Blackcap arrived 13th December 2014.

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We have a family of House Sparrows that live under the roof tiles who regularly visit the feeders. I haven’t managed to photograph them they don’t stay still long enough, similarly with the Wren that visits, one November day I could hear one chirping away, from inside the house above ‘Jools’ on the CD player. How can such a small bird make so much noise!

From the smallest to the largest.

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Well someone has to clear up any spillages!

The Collard Doves waiting to go down and help.

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Mr & Mrs Blackbird arrive looking for their breakfast under the bird feeders.

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Bath time!

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Other ground feeders to visit are the Starlings…

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…and very rarely the Chaffinch.

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Great Tits and Blue Tits feed differently to most other birds, they fly in and select a seed.

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Then they return to the safety of the trees, holding the seed with their feet, where they eat it, before returning for another.

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One rare, welcome winter visitor is the Long Tailed Tit, they usually arrive in chattering family groups.
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One winter I noticed a different bird on the feeders, it looked as if it had red head markings, I quickly took some photos and then consulted my Readers Digest Book of British Birds to discover they were Red Polls.

Red Poll’s on the niger seed feeder.

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The main visitors to the feeders, both numerically and for colour, are the Goldfinches.

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One day when idly looking out through the kitchen window, I noticed this brown bunch of feathers sat on the Pear Arch.

img_8288-1I dashed to grab the camera, hoping it would still be there.

Version 2I managed three photos from the kitchen window, before it flew away.

Version 2I think it was either a young or female SparrowHawk.

The foods I now provide are sunflower hearts, niger seed, fat balls and dried meal worms. I purchase them from Vine Tree Farm.  Their food is reasonably priced, mainly UK grown and they donate 10% of sales to the Wild Life Trust in your post code area.  (I have no commercial links to them).
I am testing these feeders (2020) to see if there is less wastage without using the cages.

The majority of the pictures were taken through the dining room window with the flash turned off using my Canon 18-200mm lens.

Please click on any picture to enlarge.

31 thoughts on “‘Feed The Birds’

  1. What a variety of birds. Do you take part in Birdwatch? We have a little hole in the brickwork by the window where the blue tits nest – it gives me great pleasure to watch them come and go though I suspect it isn’t doing the house any good. Fabulous photos Brian.

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    1. I did take part in bird watch a few years ago, it did seem a little hit and miss depending on the hour you choose.I some times think the same about the sparrows under the roof!

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  2. What an enjoyable post, Brian, thank you. You’ve caught some lovely shots and enjoy a enviable range of birds visiting your feeders. Do bullfinches join the party or do they shy away from the limelight?

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  3. We have only ever had one blackcap in the garden a female and one redpoll. Other than that we get very similar birds to you. Unfortunately the goldfinches don’t seem as numerous as they used to be though. I love the photo of the great tit flying to the feeder. I do agree that birds are a very important part of the garden. Flying flowers!

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  4. Hi Brian, you have a really lovely garden full of birds, I agree with Sue’s comment and they are flying flowers, what a lovely expression. I enjoyed seeing Shirls Garden Watch and have added her to my reader Thank you. PS – A tad envious of your Red Polls, we have never seen one here!

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    1. Great photographs. Kourosh feeds the birds all year round too, they provide so much pleasure and of course we can sit and watch them at the feeding station on winter days. We do not get long-tailed tits or red polls but we also have sparrows nesting under our roof! Our French friends say you should only feed the birds in winter but they were amazed at how close they came to us while we were sitting outside (it sort of figures!) Also we have masses of sparrows that are supposed to be on the decline here. Amelia

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      1. Thank you Amelia, I did only feed the birds during the winter until I read that feeding the correct food during the breeding season was very beneficial. The only adjustment I make is to soak the mealworms to make them softer for the young birds. I think I almost feed as much during this period as the winter, especially if it is wet.

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      1. Hi Brian, I’ve just had chance to have a really good look at Shirley’s blog, thanks again for sharing that, its really inspirational.

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  5. You have many different visitors. I esp like the goldfinches. Birds really add vitality to a garden. I rely on them in winter to help make the landscape feel less barren. Unfortunately, because of bears we cannot feed them year round. <-:)

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  6. Love this blog..you have summed up beautifully the joys of watching birds. The first thing we did when we moved in was set up the feeders. Today cycling back I was amazed at the large number of magpies in the tree…well over thirty. We have a male blackcap, lots of long tailed tits, willow and coal tits, and the other tits…and I’m also on the look out for specials as we are a short distance from the Mendip escarpment and the levels. We have our chairs in the dining room angled to watch the feeders and bird baths.

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  7. I have really enjoyed reading about the birds that visit your garden Brian – and what great photos. How exciting to have the red polls! Our best ever spot was a firecrest

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  8. Oh some familiar feathered friends there Brian although we have never seen a red poll here. They look rather distinctive. Do you have any visiting squirrels? We’ve had much fun over the years trying to thwart their attempts to dine on what we put out for the birds.

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  9. So many wonderful birds, Brian! Not too much overlap in species here, of course, but we do have a pair of Collared Doves (known here as Ring-neck Doves, I believe). We try to make sure there is water available for the birds in summer; that is the most critical thing!

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  10. lovely images, Brian.The blue tits seem to be busy looking for nesting sites in my garden at the moment.

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