Bird watching

by Richard Jones

I don't really do birds...So for me to notice our avian friends they have to be really really abundant and noisy and obvious.

BirdsI don't really do birds. I'm usually too busy peering down at insects on flowers or running across leaves. Or I'm on hands and knees, bum in the air, turning stones over looking for ground beetles or grubbing at plant roots for weevils. Such is the downward-looking microcosm-centred world of the entomologist. So for me to notice our avian friends they have to be really really abundant and noisy and obvious.

Well, this week they have been particularly keen to draw attention to themselves. It started with the magpies. They seem to have something against the house up the street and have taken to trying to dislodge the guttering over the porch. Two of them spent some time bouncing up and down on it and biting it with their beaks. I can only think that something tasty had somehow got wedged in it. I've cleared out plenty of chicken bones from our gutters over the years, dropped there, I think, by crows who have raided gardens where titbits have been left out for cats or foxes.

Then it was the jays, three of them crawking about in the trees of Peckham Rye Park. Again, I could not quite work out what all the fuss was about. They were just being noisy. Maybe they were complaining about the cold wind.

Then earlier today it was the turn of the tits. We had a whole gang of them in the trees (this MUST be the correct collective noun for such a noisy congregation). Unlike starlings and sparrows, which stick to their own kind when they want to hang out together, this was a mixed bunch. Blue, great, and long-tailed tits were all cavorting together.

I sometimes feel a bit uneasy when I see small birds fluttering about in the know...the cats... But I needn't worry now. It's much too inclement for my two to bother getting up out of their basket, let alone venture outside.

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Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:30

We feed the birds regularly and are rewarded as we frequently see Blue, Great, Coal & Longtail tits along with all the other usual birds. Last year we put out a niger seed feeder and this attracts Goldfinches, we were very pleased when on Christmas Eve we also saw a small flock of Siskins on this feeder.