Category Archives: Birds I’ve seen in and around my garden

ROBIN FACT SHEET

Robin in Winter

Robin in Winter

 THE ROBIN   –   Latin Name:  Erithacus rubecula

 Feeding

  • A specialist Robin and songbird mixed seed will bring robins to your garden. 
  • Feed that contains berries and insects will help the robin survive the winter.
  •  Their usual diet is insects and their larvae, spiders and worms, weed seeds and fruit berries,  seeds, nuts and oats. 
    Loves mealworms and eating from birdtables.

Description

  • Large, black eyes. 
  • Forehead, throat and breast are red. 
  • Upper part of a robin is olive-brown. 
  • Robins have  very slender legs.
  • Young are spotted and are lacking red colour

Habitat  Gardens, town, hedgerows, woods with undergrowth, copses, scrub, villages and towns. 

Song:  The robin’s song is a high, clear tone with a wide range of notes.  Calls include – tic, tick, tic.

Often sings late into the evening

Breeding : May to July

Eggs:  4-6 pale eggs.White with sandy or reddish freckles which are brooded by the female robin

Incubation:13-14 days

Fledging: 12-14 days.  Two or more broods

Nest
Cup shaped nest mostly made of moss, leaves and stalks.  Often built near the ground amongst creepers, at the foot of a bush.  Nests in gardens and hedgerows. 
Robins are well known for making nests in a variety of places, such as old kettles, old watering cans, shelves in sheds. 

Size:  The robin is a medium sized bird, up to 5 1/2 inches.   

Robins are solitary birds, sometimes fighting with eath other over territory.

Robins can become very tame and have been known to take feed out of the palm of a person’s hand.

So if you keep feeding the birds you too may gain the confidence of a robin and have the unbelievable feeling of a robin sitting on your hand.

Robin in Yorkshire

Robin in Yorkshire

Why not watch this short video of a robin in my garden –   

ROBIN IN MY GARDEN – VIDEO

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If you have any robin stories, facts,  poems or knowledge please let me know as I’d love to add them to this Robin Information Sheet.  Trisha

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Our Tawny Owl

The following is a diary entry from  my diary in 2007.  It traces what happened to one Tawny Owl that visited our garden

TRISHA’S DIARY ENTRY FROM 19 MAY 2007 TO 22  MAY 2007 –

A Tawny Owl

 19th May 2007


At 6am this morning there was an owl sitting on a plastic duck near our garden pond. I didn’t see it at first .

It was a tawny owl. The other birds were going mad because there was a bird of prey amongst them. Tawny owls usually only eat small mammals, but the other birds don’t know this.
Then the owl roused itself and flew into the trees and onto a branch. The other birds were still going mad. Our garden pond is full of fish so maybe it is getting an easy meal.
Tawny owls live in holes in trees but there isn’t a tree big enough to house an owl here. Maybe we should put some Tawny owl boxes up. The tawny owl would have somewhere to live and not frighten the smaller birds by having to perch in a tree all the time. More expense.

20 May 2007 . Sunday

Tawny owl still visiting us. It sits so still on the ground in a corner of the garden that is sheltered and near a garden pond. It has it’s eyes closed. It is so wonderful to be near such a wild bird. It sits there for ages before it flies away. But we have a feeling this can’t be right.

21nd May. Monday.

Owl still here at times. We have been able to get really close to it today. We think it only has one eye. How sad is that. The owl is ill. We think there are flies on the eye What has happened to this creature?

We have rung the RSPCA and have had a word with someone local who has an owl sanctuary. We now think the owl is not eating or drinking at all. We put some cooked chicken out for it but the other birds grabbed it and the owl stumbled under a hedge. We realise something must be done. We have contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

It is early evening and we are waiting to hear from the RSPCA.

What brought this owl to our garden. I like to think it found peace and sanctuary here. There must be a reason it chose to sit on the grass in a corner of our garden, in the shade, near water rather than out in the fields around here. I hope it found peace here.

The RSPCA are treating it as an emergency and are coming out tonight (8 pm) Thank goodness for the RSPCA.

There is a feeling of sadness in the air. It is affecting us all. We’ve been drawn into the world of nature.

Tawny owl has gone. (I have started to call it Tawny). Taken into care by the RSPCA.

The RSPCA Inspector was very professional. He crawled into the hedge, followed Tawny along the hedge and brought it safely out. He held it gently.

The good news is that we were wrong about its eye. Tawny has not lost an eye and there are not any flies in Tawny’s eyes either. Both eyes are healthy. It seems if we had left it in the garden it would have starved to death. Tawny Owl had been flying about but did not have strength to catch anything to eat, so was getting progressively weaker.

6am 22 May.

It seems so strange not to be looking out for the owl. It is only Saturday when we first saw it flying about in it’s own domain and sitting at our pond. Over the last few days we had seen it more.

I must admit at one point we thought it was getting an easy meal of fish from our garden pond. Tawny has been using our garden as a sanctuary. The strange thing is that the small birds were flitting about frightened of the owl, but it was the owl that needed help. The small birds were healthier than Tawny. Nature, birds and animals affect us, I have become concerned about this tawny owl.
The RSPCA are going to ring us in a day or two to let us know how Tawny has come on. If he gets better we have asked if they will bring him back here and we will put up an owl box. Tawny has been taken to an owl sanctuary and they will give him food and, if needed, antibiotics. We may never know what made him ill.

We see birds flit about all day and don’t know the trials and tribulations they face in the wild. That is why I can’t understand people who let their cats out on a night in the knowledge that the cat is actually killing birds all night long.

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19 May 2009

We found out afterwards that Tawny Owl had come to our garden for sanctuary.  The RSPCA said if it had sheltered in the nearby trees then crows and rooks would have sensed he was weak and would have attacked him.  The same goes if he had been in the open fields.  He would have been spotted as being weak and helpless

My only guilt is that we did not ring the RSPCA as soon as we spotted him., but the first time we saw him we did not know he would return.  We did not believe he would return.

 

 

Prayer for a bird

Birds are so alive with bird song and movement.  I read this poem about the death of a bird and thought I would share it with you –

Prayer for the Burial of a Bird

This sparrow died today, O Lord,
Your feathered creature small.
We lay him in the friendly earth
And ask Your blessings on us all.

It made me remember clearly the day last year I found a dead sparrow near our garden gate.  I picked up this dead sparrow.  I was so amazed how light it was in my hand.  Ths feathers and bone together weighed hardly anything at all.  All the energy had gone from it (of course).

One reason I’m glad I started this bird diary is because it reminds me of what happened in the past.   There was nothing to show why this little sparrow had died.

We should treasure birds and enjoy seeing them full of live.  We shouldn’t take for granted their birdsong and their presence in or near our lives.

We should help them where we can.

Lets join together and feed the birds.

Best.Trisha.

Bird watching in Yorkshire

Or should I say ‘trying’ to bird watch in Yorkshire

Yesterday, for a second,  I saw a lovely bird swooping soft and low close to where I was walking, then is disappeared out of sight.  It was a barn owl

I was walking down a lane .  There were birds  singing, but I couldn’t see any of them as they were hidden in the hedges.  But the air was full of birdsong.

So I caught a glimpse of one bird and I could hear lots more. 

Silently the owl came into sight again.   The owl was flying a little higher than the hedgerow where the birds were singing and where I was walking.  It passed  close to me and then it flew down the lane away from me. 

I grabbed my camera out of my pocket.  I was hoping for a close up photo of a barn owl – the perfect picture.  I thought, for a second, that I may be able to enter the photo in a competition.  It would be my best photo ever.  Dream on!

By the time I’d clicked the switch on my camera and put the zoom on – you’ve guessed it – the owl was nearly out of sight.  A little white speck in the distance.

But maybe it doesn’t matter I didn’t get a photo.  It was a lovely afternoon.  I was lucky enough to be close to an owl for a second and I was surrounded by birdsong.  Lovely.

I have been recording some birdsong to put on birdtable news,  but there is some technical fault with the people who power this blog and it won’t let me put birdsong on.

Magic moments in my garden

I’ve just has two magic moments while I’ve been putting bird food out.

At the moment I’m usually annoyed as the rooks and crows sweep overhead, ready to come to the feast.

  • Magic moment number one was when I was really close to the hanging feeders and saw a robin getting food from the feeder. To me robins always seem frail, but I know they are one of the argumentative birds there are.I must remember to put some of this hanging feeder food on the ground.

I was putting cheese out on the ground feeding tray, inside the meshed feeder, a little scattered on the ground near and under the bush.

  • Magic moment number two.  A thrush came a few feet away from me and hungrily gobbled up  a lot of the grated cheese.It wasn’t frightened of me and I could see it’s colourings so clearly.  If I had taken one step I would have been standing next to it.

So in order for thrushes and blackbirds to get at the bird food and cheese all I have to do is stand in the garden for hours.  This will frighten off the rooks and crows, but the blackbirds, robins, thrushes and the like will be able to feed in peace.  Problem solved”!!!???

But, seriously, seeing the garden birds get the food  makes up for all the times pigeons, rooks and crows pinch the food.

Walking with a wild bird

I remember clearly a walk I had last February. We had a dog then, sadly the dog had to be put down last year.

I was walking on the path and I saw a small bird hopping about in the early morning gloom.   

Early morning, when the night is entwined with the day, is a strange time.  A time when the wild world is with us and nature is part of us.

I didn’t know then that this moment was going to stay with me as then it was just an ordinary walk

I  was walking towards this bird when it started walking towards me.  The dog was messing about.  

I thought this small bird on the ground would fly away because either me or the dog would frighten it. 

We kept walking towards each other, the bird and I. 

It was like something from the OK Corral!

Closer, closer.  When we were close to each other and ‘facing’ each other  we both stopped walking.

I looked down at the bird that was the size of a pebble at my feet.  

The small, tiny bird  looked up at me.  It’s small black eyes seemed to meet mine.  It was a strange moment

I was mesmerised seeing this small bird in extreme close up.  

The tiny, frail bird  was aware I was there and was not frightened. 

I was a few inches away  and I really wanted to know what type of bird it was so I bent down knowing I would frighten it away.  The bird wasn’t afraid and it didn’t move.  It kept looking up at me with black unblinking eyes.   In the half light I  saw

  • The bird’s beak was turned upwards
  • its feet firmly planted on the ground
  • It showed no fear
  • I watched mesmerised as it hopped away, caught a worm, ate it and then
  • hopped back to me

The dog was somewhere sniffing about in the grass.

The bird ignored the dog.  

The dog ignored the bird.

I didn’t speak, the dog didn’t bark and the bird didn’t sing.  All was silence.

This couldn’t go on. 

It was a gloomy morning and I’d never actually been close enough to look down on a bird before from this angle.

I’d never actually seen a bird as this angle before – looking directly down onto it.

In the half light I saw soft, red breast feathers being ruffled by the breeze.

Robin redbreast

A vivid moment.  A vivid memory. Is this what birds are about. 

Ordinary ‘birdy’ moments stay with us as well, such as walking to the shop for the newspaper and a bird sings in the hedge.  Coming back with the shopping and we hear birdsong

I seem to have robins at my bird feeders all the time at the moment so I’m glad they feel ‘at home’ here.  Sometimes I really feel like I run a Cafe for Birds and I have my regular customers who know me.  Such nonsense.

This memory is a nice memory different to the one I have of when I found the soft, sad feathers of a robin that had been killed by our stray cat.

It seems robins pair up as early as December.  The hen builds a nest low and throughout incubation of the eggs the hen is fed by the cock robin.

A robin’s favourite food on the birdtable is crumbs, mealworms and cheese, but there are many good seed mixes especially for robins that can be fed on the bird table.  It’s easy to buy a packet and feed the robin.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Birds in my Garden

I’ve been birdwatching from my kitchen window and the air has been full of a variety of birds. 

The way the birds flit and fly around it’s a wonder they never collide with each other.

Some of the birds I’ve seen are –

  • Robin
  • Blackbird
  • Sparrows
  • Starlings
  • Crows
  • Great Tits
  • Wren
  • House sparrows
  • Tree sparrows
  • Starlings
  • Blue Tits
  • A partridge on the ground eating the grain from under the feeder
  • chaffinches

I suppose they are trying to get enough food to see them through the night.

Sparrow and a Thrush

I put a fatball on the grass today.   I don’t know why. I just thought I would.

This fatball has been popular today and pecked at by a lot of birds.

A blackbird was pecking at it and later on some blue tits.

Sparrows have been there as well. 

About half an hour ago there was a sparrow pecking it and a large Thrush came pecking at it as well.  The small sparrow wasn’t having any of it and tried to peck the thrush. 

The sparrow wasn’t scared of the big Thrush at all.  Seeing the two birds on the ground together made me realise how small the sparrow is in relation to the Thrush, yet the sparrow actually frightened the Thrush away.

The sparrow stood guard over the fat ball.  It was looking up at the thrush.  It made me laugh.  The thrush backed off a little, then turned and  disappeared into the hedgebottom. The sparrow kept on pecking at the fatball.

How do Thrushes survive when they are so timid?  Hopefully there is a lot of food in the countryside.

I’ll soon have to go and collect what is left of the fatball before it gets dark.  Don’t want to attract any vermin.