Thursday, 23 October 2014

Watching all the birds go by

For reasons I won't bother to explain, I find myself standing at the bedroom window far more these last few weeks than ever before.  As a result, I have had more time to watch the birds at our neighbour's feeder.  This hangs from a plum tree and is enclosed in a supposedly squirrel-proof cage, although I have watched a squirrel struggle to get in - and struggle even harder to get out.

The most frequent visitors of an avian variety are (in alphabetical order) blue tits, great tits, greenfinches and house sparrows.  From time to time we also see chaffinches and goldfinches.  I find it interesting to compare the behaviour of the different varieties.  The sparrows, which are the largest of the four and by far the greatest in number, are the pushiest.  Once one of them gets to the feeder, it stays there stuffing for quite a while, unless another bird - usually another sparrow but occasionally one of the finches - decides that it is its turn and taps the sparrow on the shoulder.  Or, more precisely, pecks it on the rump.  The greenfinches tend to stick at it as well, but usually for shorter periods of time than the sparrows.

While the sparrows are congregating in the tree, chattering and - occasionally - squabbling, the tits are bouncing around the periphery prior to sneaking through the crowd.  They will then wait to dash into the feeder the moment it becomes free, only to grab something and fly off with it.  Whatever they have grabbed, seed or not, is then held down on the branch while the bird bites bits off in a very dainty fashion.  Once the seed is eaten, the process starts all over again.

The attractive blue tit - by John Williams


joeh said...

Interesting how the Blue Tit looks so much like our very aggressive Blue Jays. Blow him up a bit, add a topnotch and lengthen his beak and it is a blue jay. The color pattern is almost identical.

Sarah said...

I love to watch the birds feed, I hope your quiet contemplation helps you gather your thoughts.

John May said...

When we lived in the village of Elford we has 17 different birds visit us every day. When we moved to Lichfield that dropped to 7. These days we are lucky to get three.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Joe: They are quite similar, aren't they - except that the blue jay is at least twice the size.

John: we only get about half a dozen regulars but plenty that just drop in occasionally.