Feeding the birds

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Norman H
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Norman H » 9 May 2017, 10:41am

Mobbing behaviour is most often directed against predators but crows especially will mob for food robbing purposes.

There is a fair sized pond close to my house and some years ago I witnessed a crow mobbing a Grey Heron. I was a bit puzzled at first until the Heron dropped a frog that it was carrying. The crow skilfully retrieved it and flew to a nearby tree to enjoy its free lunch.

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661-Pete
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby 661-Pete » 9 May 2017, 12:09pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:I'm being treated to a few buzzards on my way to and from work at the moment.

Honest question - is it still called mobbing if it's just a single crow seeing a buzzard off its patch?

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildl ... bbing.aspx

Apparently it is still mobbing, even with just a single bird doing it.

Yes: we've watched a single crow or rook mobbing a buzzard which presumably came too close to its nest. And, despite the buzzard being a considerably larger bird, the crow appeared to have the best of the argument!
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francovendee
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby francovendee » 10 May 2017, 8:30am

661-Pete wrote:
francovendee wrote:I haven't lived in the UK for many years and a piece on R4 surprised me. They were talking about Nightingales and said they were a rare bird.
I lived in the south of the UK and used to hear them all the time back then.
No shortage here, they sing day and night, lovely sound.
I can assure you, there are plenty still about, here in Sussex. We were on Ditchling Common (a few miles north of Ditchling Beacon) yesterday, and we were treated to a splendid 'concert' from a bird that must have been only a few yards from us, and was going through its full repertoire (we couldn't see it though: nightingales are notoriously difficult to spot in the thick bushes). Perhaps I should go back today and try to get a recording.

Incidentally, there's an open space adjacent to our town, called "Nightingale Meadow", and - yes! - I have heard nightingales there. But the name is probably a coincidence.

In France, of course, we hear them all over the place. Just about every tree has its own resident...


Very pleased to hear they are still about. One bird I miss hearing here is the Skylark. I've only heard one in 15 years, it's likely due to the terrain.
I used to hear these every day in the Summer when living in the UK. Another lovely sound.

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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Vorpal » 10 May 2017, 11:49am

francovendee wrote:Very pleased to hear they are still about. One bird I miss hearing here is the Skylark. I've only heard one in 15 years, it's likely due to the terrain.
I used to hear these every day in the Summer when living in the UK. Another lovely sound.

It may be related to farming methods.

Skylarks nest on the ground. They prefer semi-sheltered areas in open fields, and British farmers can obtain compensation for creating skylark plots in their fields. They can also receive compensation for planting cereal crops at times that are more beneficial for the larks.

Skylarks range throughout Europe, but they only thrive where they are nurtured.

Edited to add: if you have many cuckoos that affects skylarks, as well because lark nests are favoured by cuckoos for their egg deposits.
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francovendee
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby francovendee » 10 May 2017, 3:35pm

Vorpal wrote:
francovendee wrote:Very pleased to hear they are still about. One bird I miss hearing here is the Skylark. I've only heard one in 15 years, it's likely due to the terrain.
I used to hear these every day in the Summer when living in the UK. Another lovely sound.

It may be related to farming methods.

Skylarks nest on the ground. They prefer semi-sheltered areas in open fields, and British farmers can obtain compensation for creating skylark plots in their fields. They can also receive compensation for planting cereal crops at times that are more beneficial for the larks.

Skylarks range throughout Europe, but they only thrive where they are nurtured.

Edited to add: if you have many cuckoos that affects skylarks, as well because lark nests are favoured by cuckoos for their egg deposits.

I think you've explained, it we have a large number of cuckoos here and very little land is left un-ploughed or un-grazed.

CliveyT
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby CliveyT » 10 May 2017, 3:58pm

francovendee wrote:
Vorpal wrote:
francovendee wrote:Very pleased to hear they are still about. One bird I miss hearing here is the Skylark. I've only heard one in 15 years, it's likely due to the terrain.
I used to hear these every day in the Summer when living in the UK. Another lovely sound.

It may be related to farming methods.

Skylarks nest on the ground. They prefer semi-sheltered areas in open fields, and British farmers can obtain compensation for creating skylark plots in their fields. They can also receive compensation for planting cereal crops at times that are more beneficial for the larks.

Skylarks range throughout Europe, but they only thrive where they are nurtured.

Edited to add: if you have many cuckoos that affects skylarks, as well because lark nests are favoured by cuckoos for their egg deposits.

I think you've explained, it we have a large number of cuckoos here and very little land is left un-ploughed or un-grazed.


It depends on the level of grazing, rough pasture with a few sheep is fine, lush grassland with a very high stocking density isn't

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661-Pete
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby 661-Pete » 11 May 2017, 12:52pm

Recently we've had a crow come frequently to visit our garden. This bird, not usually noted as a visitor to garden bird-feeders, is obviously too big and heavy to perch directly on the feeders (unlike the woodpigeons who always seem to manage!). But it has discovered that there are rich pickings to be had on the lawn, scavenging for bits of food that smaller birds have dropped or knocked off the feeder. A fine example of cooperation in Nature! In this setting, the crow doesn't have a problem with the small birds and the small birds don't have a problem with it. And furthermore, the more 'cleaning up' that the crow does for us, the less likely our lawn is to attract rats.

The crow family are generally considered to be the most intelligent of birds, and I can well believe that. It is said that jackdaws make better and more rewarding pets than parrots or budgies (but it's illegal to capture a wild British bird to keep as a pet, so don't try!). And that they can be taught to talk!
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old_windbag
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby old_windbag » 11 May 2017, 1:08pm

661-Pete wrote:Recently we've had a crow come frequently to visit our garden


I used to get a lot of jackdaws, crows and occasional rook to my bird table( restaurant in the sky ). A few had sussed that it was easy to lift the suet feeder or seed feeder off its hook and drop it to the ground. As you say the were a bit too large to easily access it when hanging, but they knew to lift it and drop it. I had to tied it on to prevent it, they've not visited for maybe 7-8yrs as the garden has grown up but the magpies are regulars.

Corvids are very bright and as you say cn be taught to talk, Lance armstrong had a crow that could talk and sing! But he got rid of it a few years ago.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 11 May 2017, 4:22pm

Hi,
landsurfer wrote:You all seem to be going the right way about attracting rats, in my experience. :)

Our resident which would come out at feeding time with the birds (funny to see a rat feeding with the birds and the birds taking no notice, probably thought it was another bird :)) either expired or starved to death, took a long time to go, over three and a half years.
I think it was next doors pet, dunno.
Have some blue tits in our box after no residents last year :D
Several years of sparrows but they are all gone.

Wednesday saw one crow one magpie three blackbirds and a dozen robins all feeding on the ground along local cycle path.
Two weeks ago it was all ground sparrows :? ? chaffinch? and a few robins, hard to see under the trees.
Weather dependant and time of year I suppose as to what you see.

Sorry not time to read all posts' preparing the trainer and the tourer for tomorrows bash with carbon boy :?

When sparrows were abundant in garden, so were the occasional sparrow hawk, 40 % of garden birds are probably pigeons?
So you cant have one without the other in some places, and then there's the resident seagulls on our flat roof :(

We have some odd bushes in the garden and the tits hide in there before skipping onto the washing line then to the box.
Magpies are stealing all the meal worms and pigeons dangle upside down in the holly bush to raid the seed feeders :(

I have been given orders when shopping tonight for dog food for the seagulls :lol:
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mnichols
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby mnichols » 13 May 2017, 9:35am

Do people still feed the birds in spring, summer and autumn? I tend to just feed them in the winter

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Cyril Haearn » 13 May 2017, 11:25am

mnichols wrote:Do people still feed the birds in spring, summer and autumn? I tend to just feed them in the winter


Plusminus

In many areas animals find much less food even in summer because of intensive agriculture, this has got worse in recent decades

I do like vultures although I think I have never seen one. They eat rotten diseased meat with impunity, they stop other creatures poisoning themselves
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old_windbag
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby old_windbag » 13 May 2017, 12:13pm

mnichols wrote:Do people still feed the birds in spring, summer and autumn? I tend to just feed them in the winter


You should feed year round. There may be times that not as much is eaten but then you know to put a little less out. There's a point in spring where to us it looks as though blossom is out and there's plenty of life( to us ) but to birds there can be issues with lack of insects etc at a critical point. Feeding helps them through this bad time. So help them as much as you can but don't discriminate as to which species deserves help more than another, genuinely enjoy them all.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby al_yrpal » 13 May 2017, 2:00pm

We had some chicken pieces the other evening. I stripped off the skins and threw them on a flat roof. I timed the kites, they arrived within two minutes and the skins were gone within three. It isn't something I do regularly, just a very occasional treat for these wonderful birds. I once tried it with pork but they didn't even swoop down and have a look.

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Mistik-ka
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby Mistik-ka » 13 May 2017, 4:40pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:I do like vultures although I think I have never seen one.

Here in Saskatchewan we see them most often high overhead, soaring gracefully without even a flicker of wing movement.
Vulture in flight-1.jpg

I seem to recall a study which monitored turkey vulture's heart rates, and found their hearts beat more slowly while soaring than when perched. Now that's effortless.

Up close a personal they do have a certain hideous charm, and even before they've outgrown their baby down they are prepared to defend themselves boldly against any bird ringer who has the stomach to come to grips with the stench of the nest.
Turkey vulture chick-1.jpg

JohnW
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Re: Feeding the birds

Postby JohnW » 17 May 2017, 3:09pm

Something I've never seen before happened in the hawthorn in our backyard about 20 minutes ago. We have seed and fatball feeders.........one of the fatball feeders is well within the tree, and not easily accessible to big birds or birds with big wingspan - but we had a magpie taking a real feast from a fatball. It was feeding for about 5 minutes and had c9omparative difficulty in getting out of the tree.

Magpies are regular visitors to our backyard, and jackdaws will take whole breadcrusts if we've thrown them on to the top of the hawthorn, but I've not seen big birds within the tree very often, and never previously a magpie.