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Talkback: Garden birds and garden pests

Hello Kate,I made a new bird box today and fixed it to the largest tree we have,It has already had alot of interest,I covered the hole with ...

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Hello Kate,I made a new bird box today and fixed it to the largest tree we have,It has already had alot of interest,I covered the hole with the lid off a tin of beans(I drilled a hole first)to stop our local squirrell from getting in.The birds have been picking up all the dogs fur so they will have nice warm nests.

Dave Oldchippy.
Lovely picture of the Longtailed Tit above. I usually get some in my garden over the winter, it seems the colder the winter the more visits I get, unlike all the other varieties of bird that come all the time. They tend to swoop down En-masse onto the large fat balls there can be 16+ at times on 1 ball, with all those tails sticking up the ball looks like a pom-pom or feather duster, its so funny to see, I never have the camera nearby though when this happens...
Today I have had a pair of Greater spotted Woodpeckers in,one of each sex, so I am presuming that they have paired up to produce the next generation, so am looking forward to them bring the youngester in when it arrives. Is it true that woodpeckers only have one egg at a time?

Apparently Greater Spotted woodpeckers lay 5-6 eggs, and given that they will happily clear out a nest of tits, for example, in one sitting, they must have more than one chick to feed!

Hi Kate,
You mention that your great tits will soon be back. Mine never went - is this common (West Sussex) and will the long-tailed tits go?
Hi Kate,

Yesterday while checking the pond to see if the newts were back they are,spotted about 6 males and females.Then something caught my eye a Jenny Wren with a beak full of moss going into an old brick wall,as some of the bricks were missing I covered the holes with a piece of wood with a hole drilled in, ideal for nesting and it's worked. There is also a blue tit looking at another hole, all within a very small area in the garden.


hello kate, may be you can help me, how can i and with what spray the blue berries and rasberry bushes against pests that will not hert the birds or other favorite creature in the garden (in my case balcony). thanks in advance for the answer.

Living right on the North Cornwall coast where there are very few trees in my immediate area, my bird population seems to consist of starlings, blackbirds (my favourite) and jackdaws - but strangly, no seagulls - they prefer next door's garden.

I have made a real effort this year to increase the variety of food available to try and encourage smaller birds into the garden and it appears to be successful.  I now have a regular visiting blue tit (who was last seen tugging the ball of sheded dog hair which I left in a tree to help line nests), a robin and the most gorgeous wren who has taken to running up the trunk of my cornish palm tree - I thought it was a very round mouse to start with!

In previous years I havent been able to put up bird boxes due to a cat who was a bit of a hunter. I now only have an old cat with no teeth (and who is unable to jump) so I may look into bird boxes this year.

We put up a nest box early in 2010, but had no takers that year.    Last year a pair of great tits raised two broods in it, and are back this year.    We didn't see the young birds emerge from the box last year, but one day they were running around on our veggie patch.    Despite the parents calling to them from a tree, the fledglings didn't show any fear of us at all, and we were able to stand and watch their antics really close up.   It was magic!

Kate Bradbury
Hi all, thanks for your comments.

oldchippy - ingenious! Love the baked-bean-tin bird box.

alittlesliceofeden - my great tits only ever come during breeding season. I don't see them in summer and very rarely in winter. I assume there is enough food for them at other times of the year so they don't need to come in to my garden. But it's perfectly normal to have birds in your garden all year round.

primrose09 - lovely. It sounds as if you have made a brilliant habitat in your wall.


Hi Kate,Me and Mrs Oldchippy had to laugh at a crow that had picked up a large ball of dog fur this morning it must have been the size of a grapefruit ,It couldn't see where it was going it was so large,It manage to fly up on the roof and little bit keeped blowing down in the wind,There's not much left in the garden now  as the bird's are taking it for there nest,Time for a good brush tomorrow,


Can anyone advise me how to deal with Sooty Mould on my Camellia bush.I have tried washing each leaf with sponge and water but it refuses to move it

i would love to get birda to come in my garden ,but both my next door nabers have cats

My own personal robin returned to my garden thismorning,Its oficially spring!
Green s leaves
Can anyone tell me why birds are pecking the flower buds of my flowering cherry off the tree and chucking them on the ground, I can't see any insects that would be encouraging them.
Green s leaves
hollie hock


I love the birds that visit my garden, I have a few robins one of which is very pale & has a white tail.  Another, nicknamed scruff (I'm sure that he hears the spade) comes very close & loves the vine weevils.

I've seen a thrush taken a bath & one trying to bash his way into a snail.

I even saw a blackbird feeding a juvenile on the weekend. It's been a very mild winter so a lot of early babies I guess.

My crocus were pecked at and even some of my tiny snapdragons had their heads pecked off


I have birds stacking like Heathrow arrivals for moss and shredded bed quilt in a feeder. I covered the shiny chrome lid, as it seemed to deter birds, with moss swept up from paving cracks. The quilt (shredder shall remain nameless because it stops his tail wagging if I mention it) is as popular as the seeds at the moment and the moss has to be replenished every day!

Some little chicks will be snuggled in 10.5tog!

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