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  • Helping wildlife through this cold spell

    Miranda Hodgson on 25 Mar 2013 at 12:21 PM

    The birds got it wrong, didn’t they. There they were, all optimistic and full of song and now winter has returned with a vengeance. It isn’t snowing here any longer, but it hasn’t melted and the ground is frozen solid. No worms for the ‘early bird’ to catch at the moment. A week or so ago, the soil temperature was around 5C, now it is back to just above 0C.

     

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  • Spring, cats and an angry blackbird

    Miranda Hodgson on 18 Mar 2013 at 12:01 PM

    This winter seems to be lasting forever, but the birds know that spring is on the way. Pigeons (Columba palumbus), who always start early, already have young ones in the nest as seen from discard shells on lawns and pathways. Other birds are toying with nesting materials, picking up moss and plant stems to examine their suitability for building. The singing is noticeably louder – robins, dunnocks, thrushes and chaffinches are now all in full voice and their songs fill the air from dawn to dusk.

     

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  • One bird's nest ends up being used three times, by different species

    Miranda Hodgson on 07 Mar 2013 at 12:18 PM

    I had an enjoyable afternoon renovating a gloomy corner of a garden the other day. Some overhanging branches of a large sycamore tree in a neighbouring garden had been removed the year before and the space revealed made it clear how the nearby shrubs had been straining for light. A Rosa moyesii had leaned over and laid half of its tall stems over a Viburnum tinus, which was itself leaning over a variegated Photinia davidiana ‘Palette’. As I stood looking at it all and thinking about where to begin work, I spotted an old nest perched on top of the confused mass of stems. It was obviously old because there was grass growing out of the top, so I got it down for a closer look and was fascinated to discover that the original nest had been re-purposed, not once but twice.

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  • Spotting long-tailed tits' nests and other bird news

    Miranda Hodgson on 04 Mar 2013 at 10:10 AM

    The birds are already nesting and for the past week, I’ve seen the discarded white shells of half a dozen pigeon eggs on lawns and pathways. Pigeons always start nesting early, though, and they finish late in the year. Now that March is with us and the weather is starting to warm again, other birds are thinking of nesting. More birds are singing, to attract mates and defend their territories. Various materials are being gathered and arranged with secret skills into snug nests. In trees, bushes, hedges, sheds, plant pots, nooks and crannies and even the pocket of a coat left hanging on a tree, great works are being carried out.


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