Monthly Archives: November 2009

Rain, Rain and more rain

There has been so much rain lately. 

We live on the Yorkshire Wolds which is very chalky and the rain soaks through the chalk and away – usually.  Our lawn is ‘soggy’  with the rain which is a very rare

There is more mud than usual all over the place.

The rain is pouring down the guttering and overflowing.

The sky has been full of rain and lashing down.

Part of me knows we are lucky we get enough rain in this country.  I know people who live in areas of the world where lack of water is an issue – but there must be a happy medium somewhere.

The towns of York and Pickering have had some flooding.

Further away in Cumbria there has been flooding caused by so much water coming off the peaks.  I heard one farmer on the television say he ‘loved his farm’ and did not want to leave.  The water was rushing through parts of his farm.

I’m glad we’ve got a thick evergreen hedge in the garden.  I was thinking of cutting it back, but I know that a lot of birds shelter inside it.  It’s also more good luck than management that we have a fence at the back of the hedge so that also makes the hedge a good roosting place.

I’ve seen a few birds fly between the hedge and the bird feeders.  

The meshed ground feeder needed cleaning as rain had clogged the bird food to it – but that didn’t take long.

I have had two interesting comments lately.  One from a lady about – should we keep pigeons off birdtables

The second one was from a young man in Costa Rica  who said  “Barn swallow migration near my house, I saw around 30 flying directly to the south. I didn’ t expect to see the migration here…”

I must ask him if there is rain in Costa Rica.  Amazing I can do that (if the internet connection allows me to)

Amazing how different people like birds.  It is worldwide

Internet problems

I am having internet problems with Bird Table News.  Sometimes I cannot connect.

I must admit I’m not the most technical person and I find it so annoying that I can’t connect to my own blog!

If you have the same problem connecting please email me at or if you manage to get onto the site then drop me a line in the comments box.

Hope it will soon be sorted out.

There isn’t any rhyme or reason to when the problem will happen.  The other day the internet connection clicked off when I was in the middle of doing something with birdtablenews.

It’s so annoying.   This never happens when you use pen and paper!

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Should we keep pigeons off Birdtables

Below is a reply I have received to an article about how to keep Pigeons off birdtables.  It is very sensible –

You need to judge your garden situation. Each bird needs to be catered for in different ways.

I find that if you scatter bird food or scraps round your garden not just on or in the feeders the pigeons will happily feed from the ground.

We have a large community of birds in our garden from blue tits, coal tits, great tits, sparrows, chaffinches, greenfinches, doves, pigeons and also the shy nuthatch, wren, goldcrest, black cap, woodpecker, bullfinch etc. and because of this we have never had a problem.

Personally I like to watch our fat pigeon strutting around the garden, he has a very distinct character and is humourous in his manner.

If you find ways to accomadate all of the birds in your garden whether or not you think they are vermin then a happy community can and will build up.

Too many cages makes for wary birds and the freer the feeding area the better. I also find if you situate your feeders amongst bushes, surround them with greenery then there is more cover for these wary creatures. I could go on forever but I’ll stop here, hope this helps.


Thank you Kat for replying. I think you are right that every birds needs to be catered for in different ways.

Wow. You do have a lot of birds come to your garden don’t you.  You must be like me and get through a lot of bird food. 

It may seem strange, but I also find pigeons amusing as they strutt about, but it is when they take all the bird food that it becomes a problem.  I still get pigeons taking food off the ground – but they eat so much!

I also really like to see birds flitting free to the bird food.  It is really amusing and interesting to see the different birds feeding together (I mean the small garden birds) and I myself do use an old garden bush as a place to put bird food.  I also hang bird feeders from branches.

So it seems like we have a lot in common!  Maybe the only thing we don’t have in common is the number of pigeons who come to our gardens.

Strangely enough we have also been getting rooks and crows in our garden.  They usually don’t come this time of year. 

When I started bird feeding I had one birdtable.  That was a long time ago. But I now, like you, use different parts of the garden to put bird food out.  I know friends who have one birdtable and they get loads of birds feeding – which is great.

I sometimes wonder if it’s because I live in the countryside that I’m getting so many garden birds.  Will have to ask Chris Packham or Bill Oddie!

I also realise you don’t need a garden to put birdfood out.  I’ve seen fat balls hanging from a town car park, and bird food scattered near a tree in a town.  I’ve also seen wall fitted bird tables.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has a window feeder.  I tried one, but it did not attract any birds.

I suppose different areas, different gardens will have a different variety of birds and so birdfeeding will be different in each garden.  Maybe that’s what makes it so interesting.

Thanks for replying and getting in contact. It is really good to hear other people’s views.  That is what I enjoy about Bird Table News – getting views, advice and ‘meeting’ people who also like bird feeding.  Great to hear from you – please do send more and ‘go on’ a little more if you have time. 


Chris Packham gives good advice

Chris Packham gives such good advice.  He sums up why it’s important to keep on putting bird food out through the year.  He supports Garden Bird Supplies and this is what he says –

At this time of year keeping your feeders full with a constant supply of good quality food is really important. In the winter birds try to conserve as much energy as possible to keep themselves warm at night and to help them find their next meal. Once they find a constant supply of food they’ll stay nearby ensuring the energy they gain from their food is greater than the energy they spent looking for it.

There’s no better way of knowing you’re doing your bit to help the birds survive the coldest months of the year than when regular visitors have appeared to ‘set up camp’ in your garden. If there’s a constant supply of food, why go anywhere else?

Remember, a trip to an empty feeder is a waste of valuable energy – your garden birds are relying on you to keep your feeders full during the winter. Stock up and keep them visiting!

Chris Packham


I so wish I could sum things up as well.  Lets just Feed the Birds!


All finches have short bills as they are seed eating birds. 

There are variations between bills as there are different types of finches



Here is some information about the first bird in the picture
The Hawfinch
  •   The hawfinch is the largest of the 12 British finches and has the most powerful bill.
  • The Hawfinch has a large head and bill.  It is not easy to see as it perches high in the branches of deciduous trees and keeps very still.
  • The Hawfinch breeds in forests, orchards, large gardens, bushy places and deciduous forests.
  • The stones of sloes, damsons and cherries are its basic food.  It also east haws, hips and holly berries.  With their powerful bills hawfinches can smash cherry stones.

I realise the photos are a little small, so here are the names of the birds

Hawfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Crossbill

Serin, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Brambling

Linnet, siskin,  Twite , redpoll

sparrow murderers together?

 I posted awhile back about sparrows taking over a Robin’s nest in my back yard. !

Well they scared off the Robin as she never came back.  The odd thing is though is that I never found any dead baby birds.  I found egg shells on the ground so I know she laid them but where are the babies? 

The sparrows sat and picked in her nest for about a week and then they disappeared too. There is nothing in the nest either.  I checked it all out.  hmmm very odd

I have always been a animal and bird watcher since I was a young child.  I hung out with the woods with the critters more than I did with people.

In all the years I have watched nature, I have never seen anything like
that happen before.

The sparrows acted totally as if if was their nest.  They sat on the edge
of it chirping away …flying back and forth and bending their heads inside the nest.
Sometimes they would even sit in it.  I thought at first they were feeding the Robin’s babies and then I guessed they were probably eating them.

 Thank you Linda for sharing this.  Did the sparrows take the robin’s eggs /chicks?  It really sounds like it doesn’ t it.  It it is very odd.  I wonder how many times this happens out of our view?


Yesterday evening I observed a male house sparrow ‘divebombing’ a male blackbird. 

On the first occasion the blackbird was simply foraging in the lawn, on the second he was singing from a branch at the top of the apple tree.  Why would the sparrow do this?  Is it a territory thing? 

On each occasion the sparrow made a swoop and went for the blackbird’s head, but did not persist, flying off again about his business.  The blackbird seemed relatively unperturbed.


Thank you Deborah for this.

I have never ever seen such a thing.  I get sparrows and blackbirds in the garden every day.  Sometimes they feed together on the same bird table or on the ground feeder.

I must say the sparrows are more aggressive than the blackbirds.  The blackbirds always seem to hang back a bit.  But divebombing!  No I’ve never seen that.

Maybe it is a territory thing – if your garden is small and you put a lot of food out perhaps the sparrow wants the good territory all to itself!


Have any readers seen such things or do you have any bird stories.  Ordinary or extraordinary would be interestiang to hear about


Garden Bird Supplies – Soft Bill Bird Mix

Blackbirds, thrushes, robins and wagtails are amongst the birds that DO NOT have a beak that is good for cracking seeds.  Because of their beaks these birds are called SOFTBILLS 

Garden Bird Supplies have a very good Soft Bill Mix which is a blend of wheat, barley, oats and maize together with sultanas

Garden Bird Supplies soft bill mix is also good because –

1. It gives you great bird feeding results with no waste

2. It is a special mix which has good quality bird food for soft bill birds who have difficulty eating most seeds and grain.

3. Gives softbill birds their own food source  in winter 

4. It is pre treated to make it easy for these birds to eat

5.The softbill mix is a boost and a help to these birds in Spring when they are busy laying eggs and rearing their young.

6. Birds such as blackbirds and thrushes will definitely eat this softbill birdfood.  Because of the shape of their beaks they have difficulty with the tough outer skin of most seeds and grain that we feed other birds so this is a treat for them.

7. This softbill mix can be fed all year round.

8. You can enjoy watching the results of feeding these ground feeding birds. I know I do.

9.  Quite often the more traditional garden bird gets left behind when it comes to feeding.  This mix caters specifically for our ground feeding birds.  Sultanas are amongst the bird mixture and these are popular with our soft-fruit loving birds.

10.  It can be put on the bird table or put on a ground feeder.

Garden Bird Supplies

Garden Bird Supplies



Take a look – Bird Food Delivered to your Door! – Click the link below –