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By tanny


What a great day it was yesterday, the sun was shining and the birds were feeding on my special cake and hanging feeders.
Up to twenty one Blackbirds took it in turns to come in, When it gets to! (four and twenty I can make a pie), “Ha”, as if.
Boss Blackbird and the other males with yellow beaks are always the first to feed, then the boss females have a go, and last come the dark beaked males and timid females. The blackbirds are here throughout the day, taking their turns to feed on the cake. To give them all a chance I cut the cake into thirds and spread them around the snow covered lawn.

Today Robert Redwing came and has a terrible time feeding between the squabbling Blackbirds. He tucks himself beneath the manicured privet hedge and waits there till he sees his chance to grab a morsel of cake, he and his pall try to eat the berries on the piracantha but Fearless Freddy Fieldfare who is still the dominant bird in the garden, guards his berry’s with determination, any bird that goes near the bush gets chased, even if it’s only Charlie Chaffinch passing on his way to the seeds on the gate post. Freddy always gives the birds a warning when he’s about to chase them, he flicks his tail up like a fan and woe-betide any who ignore the sign.

First thing I did on getting up in the morning is to fill the bird bath with warm water and it’s not long before Ruth Redcap, the female Blackcap is seen sipping it with relish, ‘Boris’, her mate frequents the cherry tree and feeds on the suet balls hung there, he’s afraid of Ruth because she’s always bossing him. As soon as there is a film of ice on the surface of the bird bath, I empty it and fill once again with warm water and its not long before Beryl Blackbird plunges in for a dip.

Percy Pigeon hangs around in the Pear tree waiting for a chance to sneak in to feed, I let him come in every so often but I have to restrict his visits because he consumes so much food. Sometimes he brings in over ten of his mates and then I get very annoyed because there isn’t anything left for the other birds.

Maurice Mistle thrush paid a fleeting visit and his cousin Samuel Song thrush dashed in for a quick nibble of the cake.

Robin Redbreast is a resident bird and enjoys a variety of seed and insectivorous mixture to keep him warm along with beak-full of cake

Gerald Jay visits regularly, collecting peanuts to stow away in nooks and crannies, and Colin Coal tit loves to take away the black sunflower seeds and hides them in the wall opposite or in any other small crack in the icy ground.

Daniel Dunnock and his partner Dolores can easily be overlooked as they creep among the plants and its only when they come out onto the snow are they noticed.

Billy Blue tit with the deformed beak never leaves the garden because he can survive on the suet balls and soft bits of cake, and Godfrie Great tit hangs around the peanut dispenser or loose nuts I threw on the ground. Larry and Laura Long tail tit’s haven’t visited for a couple of days but they will be back when all the blackbirds have gone, they find the crowd of black birds rather intimidating. I think Gloria Goldfinch and Gordon Greenfinch also find the Blackbirds a problem and they seem to have moved down the lane to another garden where there are some hanging feeders.

Sadly I haven’t seen Wally Wren for a week and I’m quite worried about whether he has suffered with these freezing conditions.
Maurice Magpie and Claudious Crow hang around at the top of the nearby trees, ever hoping to sneak in when Ann and I are not watching.

Finally William Woodpecker loops in every so often to peck out suet pressed into the little log hanging up in the leafless ornamental cherry tree.

In the afternoon Ann and I sat there at our window hide watching and photographing all the goings on around the feeding station when suddenly all of the birds dashed hither and zither about the place. Gloria and Gordon zipping over the garden from down the lane, the blackbirds scattered through the hedge and over the lane through the Pear and plum trees. One moment the garden was full of birds and in a fraction of a second they had vanished, then over the low wall came the menacing form of Sparticus the Sparrow Hawk, he lands opposite me on the top of the Pear tree. In all his majesty he glowers around with fury in his eyes because of missing a meal.

He spotted me watching him and flies away to another tree about fifty yards away and moments later flies off again only to return to another tree on the other side of the lane. I watch him standing there and then suddenly he bends down and I see him plucking feathers from some unfortunate bird, the blighter had made a kill. “Oh dear”, I do hope its not one of my friends. I watch him pluck away feathers that drift over the hedge into my garden and could see they were a grey color and I felt a deep depression come over me when I thought it was Fearless Freddy.

I had to condition myself into thinking It was a natural incident, after-all Sparticus has to eat to survive and birds were his food.
I sat there watching him in the tree until I thought he had eaten his fill, then went out to take his picture from outside but he was away as soon as I opened the door. I gathered the feathers I could find and recognized them as from a Redwing.
Oh, what a sorrow there came over me, poor little inoffensive Robert would be with us no more. All those thousands of miles from the woods of Norway, across the tempestuous North Sea to give me the pleasure of his company here on the other side of England. Oh how depressed I was as I photographed his few remaining feathers.

I sat there at the window and there wasn’t a bird in sight, then through the trees came a bird flying to plunge beneath the Piracantha and I felt a little joy returning with that bird because it was Fearless Freddy Fieldfair back to protect his berries. Not long after the other birds returned and once more it was bedlam in the garden. I went away to make an afternoon cup of tea and on returning sat there still in a sad mood munching a ginger biscuit. Freddy was chasing another Fieldfare who had dared to come near his berries and down on my left about two yards away was Boss Blackbird pecking a piece of the cake and right beside him was! “Yee-haa”, Robert as large as life sitting there looking up at me, and I thought I heard him say, “Thank you for the dense privet hedge”. That was where he had hidden.

More blog posts by tanny

Previous post: Don't forget the water

Next post: Streptocarpus Update



What a wonderful blog Tanny, how do you remember all those names? It's nice to see you've such an attachment to them all, very rewarding. Good photos too.

10 Jan, 2010


That is a super blog,Tanny,and your photography is stunning.So glad Robert
lived to fight another day:o))

10 Jan, 2010


Brilliant blog and superb photos Tanny. Thankyou :~)))).

10 Jan, 2010


A brilliant blog Tanny.Was reading with bated breath throughout and could hardly bera to read after the pile of feathers.Felt your joy when Robert emerged ! Enjoyed the story...keep them coming..

10 Jan, 2010


Fantastic photo's and narrative Tanny,I suppose Spartacus sparrow hawk regards your garden as his dining room, unfortunately ! What a stressful afternoon for you :( Glad it wasn't your favourite bird though :)

10 Jan, 2010


really enjoyed this great blog tanny,brilliant photos love the robin looks as though hes about to strutt his stuff there..:o))

10 Jan, 2010


what an entertaining blog Tanny...i love terrier reggie does his nut if a sparrow hawk comes to hunt on his territory....

10 Jan, 2010


Thanks Tanny this narrative and photo`s were better than anything thats been on TV of late.

10 Jan, 2010


What a lovely blog Tanny brilliant photography of all the birds :0))))

10 Jan, 2010


Loved this blog Tanny,your photo`s are smashing and I really enjoyed the antic`s your feathered friends get up to in your garden. Relieved you haven`t lost Robert, I know it`s natures way and no different than me eating meat but would have felt sad if I`d seen it myself, typically human. Hope you don`t get their names mixed up,lol.........

10 Jan, 2010


fab blog tanny, great shots to, cant say which is my favourite as all equally as good, poor redwing, but all hungry out there and is nature however sad we feel,i felt very sad when it happened in my garden just before the snow came, it was a shock as so quick to, enjoyed the blog and seeing your garden buddies :o))

10 Jan, 2010


Thanks everyone for the comments, glad you enjoyed my pictorial story. I recon I was lucky to have Sparticus feeding so close to the window so that I could add his picture. I only gave the birds those names to make the story that little bit more personal, now I'm stuck with them so now I've had to write them down on a bit of paper kept beside the computer to remind me.
I would like to take this opatunity to say I'm sorry for not perusing all your blogs and failing to comment on them, my excuse is I'm so busy editing all the pictures Ann and I take of the birds that ther's no time for anything else.
I will try and make an effort to keep in touch with some of you each day.

10 Jan, 2010


Hi Tanny another brill Blog :) I love your Bird Photos u get so many visit u well done&keep up the Good work :)

11 Jan, 2010


Brilliant blog Tanny and wonderful photos. Thank you.

11 Jan, 2010


That was a brill blog enjoyed reading it and looking at the brill photos.

11 Jan, 2010

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