Monthly Archives: April 2009

sparrows plotting against other birds

Sparrows wrecking a  jenny wrens nest! 

Jeannie sent a really interesting bird watching observation about sparrows trying to stop a jenny wren nesting.  I’ve put her comment below my notes. Read it it’s really interesting.

A while ago I read about  Sparrows evicting a martin in 1912.  The sparrows took over the martins nest.  If you read the article  that I have put at the end of this post you will see that the martins got their own back.

I’m glad Jennie sent this as information because  when I put it with my 1912 story it shows that sparrows must often take over other nests and maybe have been doing it for years.   Bird against bird again!

Here is Jeannie’s birdwatching note –

a pair of sparrows have sabotaged my nesting box which had little jenny wrens in there. 

The hole is too small for them but they poked their heads in and dragged out bits of nest. 

Now one of them is sitting as though ‘on guard’ on the box ledge.  why have they done this, your quess is as good as mine.


 Click the link below to read how martins got their own back when sparrows evicted them

Story of a sparrow evicting a martin in 1912


What do you think.  Do you think it shows birds have brains and can think things through.

Have a good day


Starling or Blackbird

This morning I mistook a starling for a blackbird.

The bird was high in  a hedge and the yellow beak and black feathers seemed to point to it being a blackbird.

It was singing a strange song for a blackbird thoug, so I took a longer look and I saw the flecks of white on its plumage and saw the beak was not really yellow, just a light colour.

Then I realised it was a starling.  Within minutes other starlings had gathered and were surrounding the ground feeder.

I wonder if other people make this mistake – or am I the only one.

Then later on I was turning a corner near the house when a flash of black scurried round the corner towards me, near the ground.  I think we made each other jump.

This time it was a blackbird with a large piece of apple in its beak.  So at least this morning the starlings haven’t had all the bird food.

Have just looked out of the window and the meshed feeder and the open ground tray are empty of all the cheese and apple I put in them.

Just for once I’ll put some more grated cheese and cut up apple.  What else would I use apple and cheese for?!

Kitchen scraps for our garden birds

I often put kitchen scraps out for birds.  In these days of recycling it seems a good thing to do.

Bacon Rind for Birds

  • Should be cut into small pieces
  • Popular with nearly all birds
  • Can also attract magpies, gulls and other larger birds

Fruit for Birds

  • Cut and sliced apples can be put out any time of the year
  • Apples, pears and grapes are all popular fruit

Cooked Rice for Birds

  • Avoid putting out hightly flavoured rice
  • Rics is a favourite of house sparrows and starlings

Cooked Potato for Birds

  • Potatoes are high in protein
  • If putting out jacket potatoes many birds will peck at the soft potato and leave the hard skin
  • Cooked potatoe is popular with many birds

Dry cheese for birds

  • Protein rich food for birds
  • Can be a life saver for some birds in bad weather
  • At the moment it seems to be one of the favourite foods on my bird table
  • I always put out grated cheese

Cake for Birds

  • Cake is a good filler food and I put out a lot of crumbs and stale cake.

Bread for Birds

  • Best to soak bread in water first
  • Is a good filler food

Carrots for birds

Last year and this year I have put out grated, raw carrot on the bird table.  It has always been eaten, but I don’t know which birds have eaten it.



These are some of the kitchen scraps that birds will eat.

Have you anyspecial scraps you put out for birds?



  • Popular with nearly all birds
  • Can attract larger birds such as magpies, gulls

The up and downs of bird feeding

I was bird feeding early this morning.

It is a strange feeling knowing that birds are watching you when you step into the garden.  I know this because one lone starling starts to chitter and in a minute there are a small flock flying over my head.  Other birds appear on the fence looking at me.

A blackbird sweeps past the ground feeder – but there isn’t any food on it yet.

I put out the different bird food into the different feeders, put the grated cheese and the bread out as well.  I could hear the birds singing happily away in the hedgerows.

It is a lovely morning.  The colours of the countryside blend into the blue of the sky.

Then the squirrels and rooks appeared.

The squirrel soon disappeared, but the rooks just swarmed near the ground feeders and ate nearly all the food that was there.  They are such big birds.  They don’t belong in the garden at my feeders.  It’s a good job I put a lot of it inside ground caged feeders.

I’ll put some photos on of my home made and bought caged feeders – but that will be later in the week.

Have a good day

Swifts save us from disease

Swifts save us from illness.

The swift is a predator of flying insects.

A lot of these flying insects carry a lot of tropical diseases.

Mr Edward Mayer has been researching into the swift and thinks that if the swift becomes extinct illnesses such as green nile fever and malaria will spread across the earth and infect europe.

Swift numbers are dropping and Mr Meyer, among others are trying to get people involved  in providing nesting sites for swifts


Click here to see the reasons why swift numbers are declining and what we can do now.


Click here to see how we can help swifts at the Olympic Games in London

White tailed bird – please identify

White tailed black bird in the USA –  we’d love some help identifying this bird

I’ve been sent some photos of a black bird that has a white tail.  We really want to see what bird it is. Can anyone help

Below are the   photos that were sent from the USA (thanks for sending them Angie)

bird i.d. needed

bird i.d. needed


Black bird with a white tail

Black bird with a white tail

Is this a young bird

Is this a young bird

Angie says – I wasn’t going to send one of them  , because this bird doesn’t stand still and the quality is worse than the others, however, I think that is actually has some white on the left side of it. Interesting bird. I can’t find anything on the internet other than your website on them. thanks so much!


I aren’t an expert on identifying birds, but I wondered if this was a young American Crow or a young American Rook.

I’ve put two links below so you can take a look.  The Crows and Rooks in the photos below are adult birds – so we’ll have to imagine a younger version.

Click here for a link to USA Crow information 

Click here for a link to USA Raven information

We still need help identifying it. I’m going to take a look at some more books.  Hope we get there in the end.

Click here to see why the bird may have  white tail feathers

The investigation has started.   All we need now is Sherlock Holmes!


How many birds are there?

This is a fun competition.  Take time and read the following letter.  Hidden inside all the words and sentences are a lot of bird names – how many can you find – and what are they? 

Bird-Watching Holiday

How many hidden birds can you spot?

Dear Ed,

Starting early we took it easily, and at the Bell Inn, Eton, we picked up Jack Dawling and Ernest.  One chatted a lot, so time passed swiftly, but rain on the motorway was a grave nuisance.  After lunch I decided to hand over the wheel and steal and hour’s sleep, before reaching Ullswater at midnight in gale-force winds.

Next morning on to Scotland, where our hotel is in as fine a glen as I have seen, with rushing stream at the bottom of a steep lovers’ lane.  It is all that is now left of an old mill, but it is now renovated, and very smart inside – no other one for miles around!  Eric rows, though awkardly, leaving Anne to doze in the stern.  Excellent food – no good for taking off inches from the waist or keeping wide awake.  Nothing is wanting, except perhaps regular kilts and pipers.

Love from all,



This is just a fun competition, because I don’t know the answer!  I have found a few birds hidden in the words. 

I’m hoping we can put a list together and then I can stop looking!

My bird feeding friend

This post is for my friend who was usually with me when I fed the birds.

Bonnie the dog.

She had to be put down a year ago today, but we still miss her.

She had been ill.  We took her to the vets again.  The only way we could help her was to put her out of her pain.  Which we did.  It was the only thing we could do, but being with an animal when it slips from life to death is horrible.  Especially when that animal trusts you to get it better.

But I did feel relieved that she was out of her pain.

The house felt very empty for ages,

This poem was written in 1987 for a dog called Wimpy.  Years later is says how I felt about Bonnie.

I didn’t write this poem, my dad did.  I have changed the dogs name from Wimpy to Bonnie

To Bonnie

No face at the window
No welcoming bark.
No more chasing a cat,
as we returned from the park.
There will be a big gap for a long time to come
That chair will be vacant every time I come home

But, Bonnie, my pet,
You were loved by us all,
and though for you I still fret
you had to go at the Call.
You’re at peace near the garden where you loved to play
And I’ll oft stand beside you at the end of the day.

Bonnie always used to come with me when I fed the birds.  She was company and enjoyed the garden.

White tailed blackbird in Iowa

This past week I have had the fun of watching, what to me looks like a black bird with a long white tail.

I did get a few photo’s of it, I hope to get more tomorrow that are clearer. What a neat bird to see!
I live south of mason city, Iowa. Is there any way for me to post a photo?


I received the above comment, have been in touch and am looking forward to receiving a photo