Territorial garden birds

Posted: Friday 10 January 2014
by Kate Bradbury

As seems to be the norm in my garden, one bird in particular seems to have made itself a little more at home than the others.

The birds of Hackney only seem to use my garden when they’re desperate. Mostly, this winter has been so mild they haven’t needed to visit, but the last two weeks have proved difficult enough for them to pop by to take advantage of my peanut feeder. How lovely of them to drop in.

As seems to be the norm in my garden, one bird in particular seems to have made itself a little more at home than the others. This time it’s a robin, which guards the garden and feeders with typical robin bravado. In the spirit of Sid the blackbird before him, our robin defends the bird bath, the peanut and fat ball feeders, the honeysuckle. (None of which he has ever displayed an interest in before.)

On a particularly cold day last week, I watched three blue tits run rings around the robin to try to get a morsel of food each before being attacked. There are hanging feeders placed in different parts of the garden, so one tit was able to distract the robin while the other two grabbed a bite to eat. Team work.

The robin, of course, feeds from a bespoke ground feeder with an upturned hanging basket placed over it to ward off pigeons (for some reason and, disappointingly, the robin doesn’t seem threatened by pigeons). One day I cleaned out the bird bath and found a recently deceased caterpillar in the water. I placed this on the robin’s ground feeder and watched, minutes later, as he wolfed it down while a blue tit seized the opportunity of distraction and dashed in for a peanut.

Despite his aggressive ways, I like my new fiery friend. I doubt he will stick around for breeding season – he may be a migrant from another part of Britain or even further afield – but he’s welcome to stay for now. Just as long as the blue tits get a look in.

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Talkback: Territorial garden birds
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oldchippy 10/01/2014 at 16:27

Hi Kate we have had quite a lot of Redwings over the last couple of weeks,there plenty of berries for them still on the bushes,they wait there turn as we also have a couple of blackbirds as well(not sure if it's Sid).

higgy50 10/01/2014 at 16:55

Hi Kate, lovely little story about your fiery little friend, he sounds like areal character and obviously provides you with lots of entertainment!

I also have a fiery friend but mine is in the form of a male Blackbird! This chap chases anything and everything the same size or smaller than him off of the bird table! However if it's another Blackbird then he will chase it out of the garden! I've actually watched him from the bedroom window chase particularly 'unsavory' male Blackbirds over several neighbouring gardens prior to returning to the garden looking very pleased with himself!

Due to certain features I know that this is the same male blackbird that has been here for the past two winters so he's hanging on as fittest bird at the moment it seems!

All this bravado is for territory and of course securing the best female for mating in Spring! (Maybe this explains all the fights in our city nightclubs!! LOL)


Unfortunately two missed timed shots so poor quality pictures but it does show my garden warrior in action!!...

Even the smaller birds like this Great Tit get the same treatment!!..

 This is what makes attracting wildlife to the garden so interesting and enjoyable, a ringside seat into every aspect of their lives and a good reason for everyone to do it!!





SwissSue 11/01/2014 at 08:15

Here it's the sparrows that drive everyone away, there are dozens of them and they are eating us out of house and home! A couple of blackbirds and some blue tits came when we started putting out the bird food (fat balls and several feeders) but they have all given up and disappeared. Got nothing against sparrows as such, but so many!

Kate Bradbury 12/01/2014 at 12:51

Wonderful photos Higgy!

Heather Michaels 15/01/2014 at 14:51

Higgy, fantastic pictures

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