Category Archives: Uncategorized

SPARROWHAWKS DO NOT LIKE THE COLOURS YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE

I received this comment: –

Sparrowhawks do not like the colours yellow black and white.

I put a yellow high visibility jacket on one of my hens following a failed attempt to take her – touch wood seems to be working along with scary eyes on the shed roof.

Refective items made no difference s.h. took my only remaining fantail dove. Trial and error!

-0-0-0-0-0-0-

Hello Paula, I’m so pleased you have tested this with trial and error. It is the only way isn’t it?

Yellow, Black and White. Interesting. What a lovely idea to put a yellow high visibility jacket on one of your hens. I can imagine it strutting around.

Scary eyes on the shed roof as well.  Brilliant, but I am sad that you lost your last fantail dove to a Sparrowhawk.  Where your other fantail doves taken by sparrowhawks as well.

I’ll put this as an article on Bird Table News. I could help other readers as I know how difficult it is to  feed birds when sparrowhawks are around and how many garden birds get killed by sparrowhawks.

 

Sparrow hawks taking a kitten

This is a comment from one of my readers.  I am receiving a lot of comments from readers who are having problems.

Trisha,

The sparrowhawk is back with a vengeance!

I have a small 9wk old puppy & am too scared to leave it in the garden on it’s own. So I will stop feeding the birds until it goes again.

A friend’s kitten was taken from her garden, not far from here recently. Also small chickens were nearly taken, the owner’s spaniel saw it off.

–0-0-0-0-0-

 THIS IS IN REPLY TO AN ARTICLE I WROTE ON 21 MARCH 2010.  READERS HAVE BEEN GETTING IN TOUCH WITH ME ON AND OFF SINCE THEN

THE ARTICLE IS – WAYS TO STOP SPARROWHAWK ATTACKS IN GARDENS.  HERE IS THE LINK –

HOPE YOU FIND IT INTERESTING

WAYS TO STOP SPARROWHAWK ATTACKS IN GARDENS

The sparrow hawk is the greatest threat to our flock of white garden doves

 

Hello Trisha,

The sparrow hawk is the greatest threat to our flock of white garden doves.

Since I first starting keeping doves in 2008 I have witnessed countless attacks on my birds by the ‘hawk and although some have survived with complete recovery or scars, the majority have been killed, and usually eaten alive.

It is devastating to witness and there have been times when I have felt irresponsible for keeping the flock going, when most of them are destined to be predated soon after fledging, or of living in constant fear of attack. Occasionally the ‘hawk seems to be hunting elsewhere and the doves begin to enjoy life again, using their bath and sitting preening on the roof of their aviary.

I know of no deterrent to the sparrow hawk, although have found the terror eyes balloons to be effective in keeping the buzzards away (another predator).

If anyone reading this keeps garden doves in a dovecote and is having problems with predators, I would recommend keeping them in an aviary instead. This is how I reduced the attacks, although sadly have not eliminated them. The aviary has 2 flight holes that enable the birds to go in and out freely. It is also possible to close the flight holes during times of increased attacks. The protective environment also allows the squabs to leave the nest and be fed on the ground safely by their parents, without risk from cats or other predators.
The prevalence of sparrow hawks, where I live anyway, (West Berkshire) is due to the purposeful breeding of pheasants for shooting and the abundance of food for birds of prey when the pheasant chicks hatch.
I have seen no sparrows in this part of Berkshire, in fact I have read that they are in general decline throughout the UK, not only due to loss of habitat but because their numbers have been drastically reduced by the hunting sparrow hawk.

Tanya

-0-0-0-0-0-

 So much care to stop the doves being killed.

I had never thought of sparow hawk numbers being linked to the breeding of pheasants and the abundance of food – but it does make sense.

USE AN AVIARY INSTEAD.  Tanya I’m sure this advice will help a lot of people

Trisha

 TANYA GOT IN TOUCH WITH ME BECAUSE OF AN ARTICLE I WROTE ON 21 MARCH 2010.  READERS HAVE BEEN GETTING IN TOUCH WITH ME ON AND OFF SINCE THEN

THE ARTICLE IS – WAYS TO STOP SPARROWHAWK ATTACKS IN GARDENS.  HERE IS THE LINK –

HOPE YOU FIND IT INTERESTING

http://birdtablenews.com/2010/03/ways-to-stop-sparrowhawk-attacks-in-gardens/

17 YEAR SWALLOW STUDY BY GARTH LOWE

Good to hear you are still able to get out and see nature.
One bit of interesting news I thought I would tell you is about my swallow study, now in its 17th year.
At one of my swallow sites where birds had again returned to a garage, I went to ring the nestlings and also caught the parents. This is an odd site as the birds go in through the rear door tucked away at the back, and I was pretty certain one must be from last year who had remembered this good site. To my surprise both birds had my rings on and on checking my records this is now the third time both of these birds have returned to breed. This is quite incredible as it means both have been back to S Africa at least three times, survived the rigours of migration and come back to the same spot in Worcestershire.
I have had a few pairs do this twice but never three times, so the chances of it happening are quite small.
My bad news is at my best swallow site, what I guess is a corvid, has learned food can be had from nesting swallows, and just like last year it is raiding every nest giving the six plus swallow pairs that use these stables no chance at all! Last year a few managed one brood only late in the season.
Garth
I think Garth deserves a medal, don’t you?

Dunnocks feasting on soggy bread

Have a pair of Dunnock’s visiting my garden on a regular basis.

They seem quite happy feeding on soggy wholemeal bread
which I place on the bird-table.  Annette

 

Hi Annette,

The Dunnocks I get in my garden always seem to be hidden in the hedgerow.  You’re lucky that these Dunocks feel at home in your garden.

Thanks for telling us.  I can picture them happily tucking into their meal

 

How can I attract Blue Tits into my garden?

Hi Trisha, I don’t seem to be able to attract blue tits into my garden, despite best efforts. I have a variety of foods and different nest boxes, which although I don’t have much cover, I have located behind some tree branches. I also have a bird table and bird bath.

As per previous post, I dont get a lot of birds because of the location of our garden, but do currently have a faithful dunnock and also a collared dove, and think there is a robin nesting nearby as that comes in and out occasionally. Although they move so quickly I hardly ever catch them! Any recommendations to help would be appreciated.. Thanks

 -0-0-0-0-

Thanks for getting in touch with me. Firstly,  It’s brilliant that you are trying to attract Blue Tits into your garden.  Here is a link that shows one reason why BLUE TITS SPEND 85% OF EVERY WINTER’S DAY LOOKING FOR FOOD –

Click this link below –

http://birdtablenews.com/2013/03/a-blue-tit-spends-85-of-every-winters-day-looking-for-food/ 

 -0-0-0-0-0-

  I don’t know what bird food you are putting out but Peanut Granules are brilliant bird food  they are power packed with proteins and oil which makes them a nourising nibble for our garden birds including Blue Tits.

Peanut granules  give birds  energy for the day and night ahead.  This is important at any time of the year,  but more so when it is winter  because in winter birds need high protein to survive the dark, cold nights.  So peanut granules are a good all round bird food

Peanut Granules - Energy Food for Birds

Peanut Granules – Energy Food for Birds

PEANUT GRANULES ARE

  • Bite sized pieces of peanut heart
  • Easier for bird to eat and digest than whole peanuts
  • Packed with protein and oils
  • Appeal to all garden birds not just birds that can feed from peanut feeders.
  • Can be fed from bird tables, the ground, ground feeders and also tube feeders – which is why peanut granules attract more garden birds.
  • An energy food that helps birds survive the winter nights

PEANUT GRANULES WILL PROVIDE AN ALL YEAR ROUND (ESPECIALLY  WINTER)  BANQUET FOR –

  • Robins
  • Dunnocks,
  • Chaffinches
  • Blackbirds
  • Blue Tits
  • Coal Tits
  • Great Tits
  • Greenfinches
  • Sparrows

CLICK ON THIS LINE FOR PEANUT GRANULES FROM HAITH’S

Haith's - Trusted Bird Food Since 1937

 

 -0-0-0-0-
HERE IS SOME INFORMATION ABOUT SUNFLOWER HEARTS
Sunflower hearts are eaten by a lot of birds including –

  • Blackbird
  • Blue tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Coal tit
  • Dunnock
  • Goldfinch
  • GreatTit
  • Greenfinch
  • House sparrow
  • Robin
  • Starling
  • Woodpecker

Sunflower hearts are not eaten by

  • Song thrush
  • collared dove

So feeding sunflower hearts and peanut granules helps a lot of birds including blue tits

-0-0-0-0

BIRD FEEDERS

I  use a  ground feeder with a wire mesh cover.  I get a lot of blue tits popping in and and out all day.  I put the food on a meshed bird food tray and they feed off that.  I don’t put whole peanuts out at the moment because the young could choke on them.
Hope this helps.  Keep in touch and let me know how you get on

DECLINE IN SPARROWS – THE REASON?

This first appeared in on Bird Table News in 2009 but Kate’s 2007 findings could be  relevant today  –

 

Everyone knows the house sparrow but not many give it a second glance.  A detailed survey into sparrow breeding showed some reasons why urban sparrow numbers may be dropping.

I admire the sparrow.  I think, without realising it, I’ve seen at least one a day for the past 20 years.  I’ve taken this little sparrow for granted.

Yet it’s success is closely tied to our own.

Sparrows are thought to have spread across Europe from Africa at the time of Neolichic man!  So they have been connected to us through history.  What a story they would tell if they could speak.

Colonies of house sparrows that live near an isolated farm or on an island only seem to survive as long as man is there.  This ability they have to use what man provides enables them to have up to 3 broods a year.

Yet in some areas house sparrows are declining.  Farming methods have sometimes been blamed but this is not the complete picture.

Kate Vincent a student from Leicester’s University collected data about urban sparrows.

Kate is very dedicated.  In 2007 she studied 619 nest boxes in Leicester which she put up over the previous three years.

She found that in urban areas the second or third broods of chicks are dying  in the nest.    The reason for this is unknown but starvation or infection could be a cause.

In some places the number of deaths is so big that the population of the house sparrow is dropping.

One of the reasons could be that early and late broods do have different diets.  Spring chicks are fed on beetles and daddy longlegs.  The midsummer birds are fed on smaller insects like aphids.  Aphids are plant eating insects – so lets get planting!

When the chicks are born, when they are at their most vulnerable, they eat only insects   and if there are not enough insects they will die of starvation.

Kate’s research and survey is really  valuable. It is relevant today and does provides questions as well as answers.

 

INTERNET CONNECTION HAS NOT BEEN WORKING

I haven’t been able to log into Bird Table News because the storms have brought a line down and there is another fault on the line as well.

The internet is now very hit and miss.  It disconnects itself (I feel it is alive and being awkward!) just when I need it most.

 

I will reply to any comment I get when the Internet is fully back in operation.  Here’s waiting for BT Outreach to sort things out.

Look forward to getting normal service resumed.  It is strange how we rely on the Internet.  I remember a time before the Internet.  I used to think  how strange the Internet was.

Happy Bird Feeding

FEEDING BIRDS ON A DARK MORNING

 

I’ve got an early start this morning so I had to feed the birds very early.

As it’s still dark  I’ve just been outside with a torch and 3 types of bird food.  Their breakfast is now ready and waiting for them!

As I stepped outside into the darkness two birds were singing so loudly in the hedge.  Their bird song went up and down in tone as they answered each other. On this dark, frosty, cold morning  it sounded so wonderful and I hope the bird food I put out is part of their breakfast.  They deserve it!