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  • More blackbirds have discovered the dog food

    Miranda Hodgson on 30 May 2011 at 01:20 PM

    More blackbirds have now realised that a little tray of dog food appears in the courtyard each day and have been taking full advantage of it. We have gone from only a couple of birds to two sets of parents and their chicks, who arrive early each morning to take breakfast. Dog food isn’t as good as worms, of course, but as the weather has been dry for so long, there aren’t many worms to be found in the soil surface, so this supplementary food should help. The chicks are certainly growing quickly and some of them are starting to eat by themselves, instead of sitting there squawking and waiting for their parents to feed them. I’m still putting apple out, mainly for the pleasure of seeing the birds eating it, which they do with obvious enthusiasm.



  • Birds looking for food and water during the dry spell

    Miranda Hodgson on 28 May 2011 at 11:36 AM

    The long dry spell has broken in Oxfordshire. From the 30th of March to the 25th of May, I didn’t have to put my waterproofs on once, but we have finally had a couple of days of proper rain. During that time of dryness, many birds have come to gardens to make use of the fresh water put down for drinking and bathing and it seems that some of them have become more accustomed to humans. A young blackbird was pecking in the grass very close to me the other day and didn’t seem at all bothered by me scuffling about in the flower bed and just carried on with what it was doing. Of course, as soon as I went to take a picture, it turned its back on me. That happens a lot – a bird will be in the perfect pose, until I take the picture, when it will turn around and all I get is a picture of its back. That, or it will do something to make the picture blurred.



  • Putting out more water for birds

    Miranda Hodgson on 18 May 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Spending so much time outside in gardens, I’m naturally obsessed with the weather, even more obsessed than most people in a country known for constantly referring to what the sky is doing. The forecasts so far this year have shown very little rain – almost no April showers and very little since then and that follows a relatively dry winter. This means that there are fewer natural water resources for wildlife as there are no puddles, no shallow pools caught in curled foliage and ponds which have not been topped up by rain will be drying out.

    It’s a worry. Not only birds, but small mammals and flying insects will be searching for water and may not find it. They all need to drink and birds need to bathe to keep their feathers in good condition. What to do? What I’ve done here is to increase the number of bird baths in the garden at home. They’re not fancy and don’t need to be; you don’t have to spend out on anything expensive, just find a suitable container to hold clean water. There's probably something in the shed or garage that would do the job.