Feeding the birds

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 2 Mar 2018, 12:40pm

Hi,
Robin on bird table feeding yesterday, no larger bird can get on, bodged table so pigeons don't eat everything :)
This morning saw a blackbird on fence, cannot get to table, removed door and within a minute blackbird on table scoffing.

Robin in front garden so put out some seed and dried worms in a bowl.
A few seagulls about but not much else.

Pigeons are scarce after a cat has taken to frequenting garden, no dogs now so cats think they own the place.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Mar 2018, 12:53pm

We had three blackbirds yesterday wasting a lot of energy chasing each other off the food I'd intentionally put out for them on the ground. It seems weird that they ignore other ground feeders filling their boots. We ended up with one blackbird sitting in a hole it had dug in the snow, not unlike a nest. Perhaps that was as protection against the strong wind whipping up the snow. The only time it left its improvised roost was to chase off other blackbirds.

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fausto copy
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby fausto copy » 2 Mar 2018, 1:31pm

The blackbird still don't seem keen on eating the diced apple and crumbs of cheese I put out this morning.
However, they are getting fed, as we've seen both a male and female blackbird devouring snails they've found.
Hope they find a lot more; they'll be doing me and the hostas a favour.

Norman H
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Norman H » 2 Mar 2018, 2:05pm

I'm normally reluctant to put food out for ground feeding birds because of the numerous cats in the neighbourhood. Yesterday the Blackbirds were hoovering up the crumbs from beneath the feeders and they were joined by a couple of Fieldfare that looked particularly cold and miserable. I took pity on them and cut a couple of apples in half. Fieldfare only show up at the feeders in my garden when the weather is severe and food is scarce.

thirdcrank
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Mar 2018, 2:41pm

I'd agree about cats but ground feeders are attracted anyway to the discarded bits and pieces from the feeders above. Our greatest observed casualty rate has been to sparrowhawks. They must know which gardens have feeders attracting lots of small birds and plan their route accordingly.

I also don't want to attract vermin so I try to avoid putting out so much that there are leftovers on the ground in the evening.

JohnW
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby JohnW » 2 Mar 2018, 3:13pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'd agree about cats but ground feeders are attracted anyway to the discarded bits and pieces from the feeders above. Our greatest observed casualty rate has been to sparrowhawks. They must know which gardens have feeders attracting lots of small birds and plan their route accordingly.

I also don't want to attract vermin so I try to avoid putting out so much that there are leftovers on the ground in the evening.


We seem to have similar experiences tc - I keep our feeders stocked up, but generally I only appeal to the sparrows. We have a visiting fieldfare, taking the last remaining rose-hips. The blackbirds come and go - they look around for a minute or two; at the moment we've just one male visiting. I've not seen many tits in this weather - occasionally one or two great tits will visit the fatballs, but they ignore the peanuts! In winter the tits seem to favour the suet blocks. No finches, and the collared doves have looked elsewhere during this cold/snowy spell.

The sparrows disappear when the feeders are empty, but they must be keeping an eye on me because within minutes of me re-filling the feeders the sparrows are there in force.

As for the vermin - I'm OK with mice and rats - we don't get weasels anymore, since the land behind us was built on and the drystone walls demolished - but calling rats vermin and then welcoming cars seems to me to be quite a contradiction.

We do have cats, but not a great problem, and similarly we have recently seen the occasional sparrow hawk coming near the houses but this is a recent phenomenon. I think that as their prey's habitat is destroyed, they have to look elsewhere for food. I don't like to see it, but it's just nature.

Norman H
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Norman H » 2 Mar 2018, 3:31pm

I'm surprised that I don't get more visits from Sparrowhawks. I back on to woodland and my feeders are constantly busy but I've only ever witnessed one Sparrowhawk attack. They are definitely present as I've often seen them. On a few occasions I've discovered piles of Pigeon or Magpie feathers, but no corpses, I've put this down to cat attacks. Last year saw the appearance of Red Kites. I often see them when I'm out in the Chilterns on the bike but these were the first that I'd seen inside the M25.

JohnW
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby JohnW » 2 Mar 2018, 3:45pm

Norman H wrote:I'm surprised that I don't get more visits from Sparrowhawks. I back on to woodland and my feeders are constantly busy but I've only ever witnessed one Sparrowhawk attack. They are definitely present as I've often seen them. On a few occasions I've discovered piles of Pigeon or Magpie feathers, but no corpses, I've put this down to cat attacks. Last year saw the appearance of Red Kites. I often see them when I'm out in the Chilterns on the bike but these were the first that I'd seen inside the M25.

Possibly the reason why you're not getting an increase in sparrow hawk activity is that their habitat, and that of their prey sounds (from what you say) to remain extant . It's the destruction of habitat that's been the cause of change of habit among our local wildlife.

thirdcrank
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Mar 2018, 4:22pm

IME, piles of feathers are all that's left by a sparrowhawk. One thing I don't understand is that it's always just small body feathers. Cats seem to toy with their catches and then take them home, pretty much in one piece.

kwackers
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby kwackers » 2 Mar 2018, 4:27pm

thirdcrank wrote:IME, piles of feathers are all that's left by a sparrowhawk. One thing I don't understand is that it's always just small body feathers. Cats seem to toy with their catches and then take them home, pretty much in one piece.

We have lots of pigeons and doves, very rarely there's a sparrow hawk at the end of the garden eating one.

If the cat see's it then he sits and waits a respectable distance away and then when the hawk leaves goes up and tucks in.
Judging by the noises he makes, raw pigeon is high on his list of favourite things. (He's too old and slow to catch one, although he likes to meow at them from the window).

Never seen a hawk eat an entire pigeon, they usually leave half or so.

CliveyT
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby CliveyT » 2 Mar 2018, 6:05pm

kwackers wrote:Never seen a hawk eat an entire pigeon, they usually leave half or so.

It's almost certainly the female that takes a pigeon. She's much bigger than the male, but even so she's only pigeon sized herself. I might try sometimes but even I would struggle to eat my whole bodyweight in one sitting :lol:

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Cyril Haearn » 2 Mar 2018, 7:46pm

CliveyT wrote:
kwackers wrote:Never seen a hawk eat an entire pigeon, they usually leave half or so.

It's almost certainly the female that takes a pigeon. She's much bigger than the male, but even so she's only pigeon sized herself. I might try sometimes but even I would struggle to eat my whole bodyweight in one sitting :lol:

Then she goes into hibernation to sleep it off :?
I think everything in nature has a purpose but this seems wasteful, maybe it would be different in the real 'wild'
Wolves for example eat what they can and bury the rest for later
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fausto copy
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby fausto copy » 2 Mar 2018, 8:01pm

Like others on this and other fora, we have had some fieldfares in the garden today, for the very first time.
As the fields are covered in around 3 inches of snow (most unusual for these parts) they're obviously searching the gardens.
I've put out food three times for the resident robins and blackbirds, but as soon as I put it out, the snow comes again and covers it up before they can find it.

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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Norman H » 2 Mar 2018, 10:05pm

thirdcrank wrote:IME, piles of feathers are all that's left by a sparrowhawk. One thing I don't understand is that it's always just small body feathers. Cats seem to toy with their catches and then take them home, pretty much in one piece.


If you've ever had to prepare a Pigeon for cooking*, the breast is pretty much the only part worth bothering with. The Sparrowhawk has probably come to the same conclusion, which might explain the piles of small body feathers. I once inspected a Pigeon carcase after a Sparrowhawk had eaten its fill and only the breast had been picked clean.

* Incidentally there's no need for a pile of feathers when removing the breast fillets. If you slit the skin along the breast bone you can peel it back and remove the fillets by cutting down the breast bone.

Pan fry briefly on each side (medium rare) and enjoy.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 3 Mar 2018, 12:26am

Hi,
Never tried it, any hazards with eating pigeon or any other wild bird, I suppose as long as it looks ok health wise?
Not a big game bird eater whats its like?
I know people do eat them.

Saw a bird of prey (seen many on the verge down quite lanes on prey, bikeing of course) unable to take off a stumbling some what, some one at later date suggested they had gorged themselves and were too heavy.
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
You'll Still Find Me At The Top Of A Hill
Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.