Monthly Archives: October 2009

An Empty Birds Nest – A Video

I have been taking my Disgo Video Camera with me when I have been on my walks.  I saw this nest swaying high on a branch.  I wondered if it would still be there next year.  I decided to take a short video of it and see if it is used next year.  Yes I know – don’t I have anything better to do!

Isn’t it strange that  birds build this nest  here where  the hedge is not a thick hedge, where the branches sway in the wind and where it is open to the elements. 

A few yards away is a much thicker and more sheltered hedge that seems a better nesting place.

About a foot away is a prickly hawthorn that would have kept any predators away from the nest – BUT this nest was built in a hedge that would not protect them much at all.

Again excuse my voice – but I felt a video of an old nest on it’s own maybe wasn’t a good idea.

My daughter is getting married tomorrow in the Peak District.  I’m setting off in an hour or two  as it is going to be a Wedding Weekend!  I have seen my daughter in her wedding dress and she looks beautiful.  I thought I would put this short video on before we set off and I actually turn the computer off for the weekend. 

I’ve got the bird feeding sorted out.  I don’t suppose it would matter if bird food wasn’t put out for a couple of days but a neighbour offered so thats OK.

Dizzy Spells

Health is everything isn’t it really? 

A few years ago I started to feel dizzy on some mornings.  The room swam and I did not know up from down. I couldn’t walk because the room was spinning.  I felt sick for hours afterwards. I went to the Doctor who said it was an inner ear infection and I had debris in my ear.

I thought I would try Alternative Medicine and  I went to The Herbal Inn in Scarborough.  They said my blood was low, my neck was stiff and so the blood was not getting to my head.  This was causing my problem.

I took their medication and I have not felt dizzy since. 

For a few days I haven’t felt 100% and yesterday I felt headachy and a bit lightheaded.  I really wanted to feel my best for my daughters wedding and did not want to feel ill on THE BIG DAY (My elder daughter is getting married on Saturday).

I went to the Herbal Inn again.  They said this problem can be a complicated one to solve as it can be caused by a lot of different reasons. After having a diagnosis by the Chinese Doctor I had acupuncture on my neck and shoulder and I am going to take some herbs.

I feel better already.   

I feel as though I am 100% again and can pop out and fill the feeders, sort the bird table out, clean the ground feeder and go for a walk.   I know I will feel fine for THE BIG DAY

I believe in herbs.  I read somewhere that it is believed that birds line their nests with certain herbs. They do this as the herbs  kill bacteria in the nest and so keep the young healthy.

A Yorkshire Hedge – video 1!

I went for a walk and took my Disgo Video Digital Camcorder – it’s great because the video can be put straight onto the computer.

Trouble is I tried to expalin the good points of a hedge – but kept getting my words wrong.  I may put these  videos on as well.  So excuse my voice on this disgo video, but I hope you pick up the fact that hedges are great for birds (and other wildlife)

Silent Spring

 ‘Silent Spring’  – I read this book many years ago.  It really made me think how we take birds for granted and to this day when I hear birds singing I sometimes think of Rachel Carson’s book – even though it is over 20 years since I last read it.  It is so hard to imagine a Spring without birdsong

I remember when I read Silent Spring many years ago the thought that we had so much power over this Earth amazed the young ‘me’.  We humans had the ability to kill insects, birds and mammals through our technology
Rachel Carson covers a wide area in Silent Spring.  She covers the ecology of water, birds, plants, mammals, soil and chemicals.  One of the reasons this book is so memorable is the way she explains and tells the stories.

Rachel Carson was born on May 27 1907 in Pennsylvania, United States. She was a writer and a biologist

She also wrote the ‘Edge of the Sea’,  ‘The Sea Around Us’.
Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring shocked a lot of people (including me) because it showed how dangerous some pesticides could be. 

Silent Spring has been one of the books that has stayed with me all my life.  I have remembered parts of it when listening to modern news about pollution.  I have remembered Silent Spring when listening to birds singing.  The title is so simple yet so effective.  The message of the book is clear.

It is as relevant today as it was then, which is why it is still in publication and is still being read today.

Bird Table blown over by the wind

It’s a lovely morning on this Monday morning.  Just one bit of a problem – the wind has blown the bird table over. 

It would be really easy to lift this birdtable up and put it upright –  but it is the birdtable that I surrounded with garden canes that has been blown over.

This means the canes are all tangled up together like some spider’s web made of garden canes! Trying to put the bird table back up was a bit difficult as the canes kept sticking in the ground and getting taffled up with each other which stopped the bird table balancing upright.

Anyway I managed it – but the canes aren’t back surrounding the bird table yet. That will take a bit of time.  

Perhaps I’d better explain that I surrounded this birdtable with garden canes to stop large birds getting onto the bird table and taking all the food.  It really works.  I don’t have any more rooks, crows and pigeons on the bird table and it’s great to see the garden birds, including the blackbirds and thrushes fly between the canes and settle down to eat the bird food. 

The canes also mean that while they are on the bird table the garden birds are safe from sparrowhawks diving onto them.

Feeding birds, messing about with bird tables – and it’s still only 7.15 in the morning – time for a cuppa.

Gave a good day.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-25

  • Eastern Crowned Warbler #
  • Going to have to buy some more bird food soon. May buy it from Garden Bird Supplies and get it delivered to my door. #
  • Today, as usual, saw a few birds at the garden pond. Today though I had time to stop and watch them for a little while. #
  • Today sparrows,blue tits + more birds were waiting for an afternoon feed. Perched on the fence they looked down at the empty groundfeeder #
  • Tried to get a photo of a sparrow perched on a branch, but failed dismally. It flew away just as I was taking the photo. #
  • Nature Poetry #

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Nature Poetry

Nature Poetry – poetry about anything to do with nature.  Birds are a part of nature.

The Book  THE POETRY OF BIRDS seems an interesting exciting nature poetry book

There are some amazing birds in this world and it seems there is also some amazing nature poetry about birds.

The Poetry of Birds has been put together by one birdwatcher and one poet.

Simon Armitage is the poet and Tim Dee is the birdwatcher.  What a wonderful combinatin.

I have always liked  poetry and I have always liked garden birds.  Nature poetry – poetry  about wild birds -to have this combination in one book is amazing.  I have  put  poetry / nursery rhymes that have a connection with birds on Bird Table News, but it would be wonderful to have a book such as The Poetry of Birds.  I’m sure I would read it more than once – it would be a nature poetry book to savour!

The poems range from  a 14C poem about a Thrush to the modern nature poet Alice Oswald.

Poets observe things in detail and often have see things with a different eye. I wonder what other poems this nature book has in store

There are so many different types of birds to write poetry about.  The wren, the eagle, the sparrow, the seagull, the robin, the crow, the blue tit, the rook, the swallow, the owl.  All so different yet classed under one heading ‘birds’.  I wonder if this bird nature book covers all those birds.

Eastern Crowned Warbler

The Eastern Crowned Warbler is normally seen in China and Indonesia but on Friday an Eastern Crowned Warbler was seen in the North East of England

It seems it is possible that strong winds have blown this bird off its normal course and it has ended up in the North East of England.  Hope it survives.  Another possibility is that this bird was born with its ‘navigation’ not working properly

It is very rare to see an Eastern Crowned Warbler in Britain and it has caused a lot of excitement in the Bird World. 

This bird is more than likely to fly when the stars come out – in starlight, so if this Eastern Crowned Warbler is sleeping during the day there may not be much chance of getting a photograph of it, which is a pity

Swallows that are late migrating, Eastern Crowned Warblers that have been blown off course. There is a lot going on amongst migrating birds. 

Some warblers can fly up to 8,000 miles in just a few days.

To have any chance to see such a rare bird you really do need a really good camera.  I would imagine a tripod would be necessary as well – to balance and steady the camera so you could get a good photo.

I find myself wondering what the Eastern Crowned Warbler eats. If it had been found in my neck of the woods I would be out there with bits food that may help it survive. 

I have been trying to get find a photograph of an Eastern Crowned Warbler.  If you click the link below it takes you to a lovely photograph of an Eastern Crowned Warbler

Titch the injured swallow


Thought it’d be good to update about poor Titch.

Sadly, Titch died last Saturday evening.  He was unable to remain perched and had to spend his last hours on the bottom of the cage.

We wonder if he already a health problem when he left the nest, hence his crashing and breaking of his wing.  Maybe being in captivity contributed to his poor health.

Over time he gradually went completely blind, the lids closing completely over both eyes. We tried special ointment for caged birds but to no avail.  The anti-biotics made no difference. We bought vitamin powder, tonic  solution to add to his water, and ground egg supplement, but nothing seemed to improve his deteriorating condition.

We did think about trying to release him but we came to the conclusion that while he would have had his freedom it would very likely have been very short-lived, and if he had dropped down to the ground we may not have been able to rescue him. We decided therefore to persist in restoring his health and then eventually releasing him in the spring.

It was quite sad: he was cute and friendly and had hopes that we could nurse im back to health. But it was not to be.

Would w do it again? Yes, but we introduce the supplements much earlier,  maybe consult a vet, or contact a bird rescue centre who have experience  with swallows.

Ironically just days before he died we discovered that there is a couple who  run a rescue/rehab operation close by. We were going to contact them to see if they could help, but too late.

Better news, Bob the rook still comes every day, usually mornings and gets fed dried mealworms, and his favourite food of bread and margarine!    We also give him fresh water.

He has an injured leg but we do not know the extent of the injury but it does not seem too bad.
He notices when you are around, i.e. if he sees you through a window.

He will try to land on you in his excitement and just yesterday he tried several times to land on me when he saw I had food and water ready to give him. However, It is my partner who usually does the feeding and while she is happy to have him perch on her arm, I have yet to experience this – he always takes me by surprise and my initial reaction is to duck away and fend him off!


This is the first I heard of Tich –

We have been looking after an injured young swallow that we found on the  23rd August – we have had it for a week now. We found it on the ground  with an apparently broken wing. Amazingly, it made no attempt to get away  and allowed us to pick it up. We decided to look after it, rather than  allow it to end up the meal of a cat or fox or such like.

We now have it  in a canary cage and are feeding it live and dried mealworms, flies etc. 
We are trying to teach it to help itself to food and water!

We are are  considering ways of maintaining a live food supply throughout the winter. 
We will also have to make sure it is kept warm but we do not know what an  appropriate temperature range would be.

It is really cute but we are  saddened by the fact it is on its own. Is it possible to get hold of 
another (injured?) swallow from somewhere to keep it company. How can we 
find out if ours is a make or female?


There has been other correspondence inbetween this first and last email chat.

I think that they did the right thing and think that it is great that they gave this one small, injured swallow so much care, love  and attention. 

I know there will be a difference of opinion as to whether an inujured bird should be left or not.  I know it’s hard to walk by an injured bird.  For one thing they seem to lose their fear of us – and do not seem to shy away from us, but take to the attention.

I know from other emails that they sent to me that Tich was perched in a cage near a window and seemed to enjoy himself – and also had the best care and attention.

Thanks for sharing this with us.  Trisha

Cleaning Nest Boxes

A reader has recently asked me ‘
Should I clean out the old nesting materials from the nest box, or just leave it,

The answer is that it is best to clean nest boxes out  This is sometimes not a nice job, but it is an important job. 

  • There may be fleas and parasites inside the box that would infect healthy birds that fly into the nest or, next year could  infect  the chicks that hatch in the box in 2010. 
  • Nest boxes can be important in winter.  Nest boxes are used by birds on winter nights to roost in.  Some nest boxes  have quite a few birds in one box, so it is important to keep the nest box clean and parasite free, as this will help keep birds healthy.
  • After cleaning you should not use disinfectant or flea powders, but  –
  • You can buy special nest box spray.  I use boiling hot water to clean them and then leave them to dry naturally
  • A little amount of wood shavings or hay (not straw) can be put in the bottom of the nest box after it has been cleaned.
  • It is a good idea to wear gloves as it can be a messy job and I heard of someone who found a wasp in the nest box!

It is easier if you have a nest box that opens up.  We did not realise this when we bought our first nest box.  Now,  if I am thinking about buying a nest box I always look to see how it opens.

How you clean the nest box depends on

  • how accessible the nest box is
  • If you can take the nest box down
  • If the nest box opens up.

We manage to take our nest boxes down, but I don’t do it on my own – I get help to get the nest boxes down. 

 I get a pair of old washing up gloves, plenty of hot water and some sort of scrubbing brush / cloth.

It is a good ides to do it now as when the really old weather comes birds may be using the empty nest box to roost and in cleaning the nest box out then would disturb them. 

Birds need shelter from wind, rain, snow and freezing weather – winters can be long and hard for birds.  Some birds stay for 16 hours a day in their roost – which could be the nest box that you bought.

Please get in touch if you have any top tips or have any questions.  Looking after birds is like having pets sometimes isn’t it?