09 December 2010

Garden Green Woodpecker, and a moan.

Green Woodpecker in the garden this morning. Great! Yeah, but the high quickly turned to a low as I started pondering the failure of my garden - and excellent feeder setup - to attract a regular and diverse crowd of birds. The 'regulars' (and I use that word loosely) are:

- Up to 15 House Sparrows. They often descend to fight it out for one of the eight available feeding spots.
- A smattering of Blackbirds.
- Two Robins.
- One Dunnock.
- One Wren.
- Three or four Collared Doves and the usual Woodpigeons.
- Flyover Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and both tiers of Black-backed Gulls.
- Occasionally a few Blue Tits and Great Tits grace us (but these are really rare visits).
- Even more occasionally a Goldfinch or two will remeber we have Niger Seed on tap, too.

Beyond those 'usual suspects' though, it's slim pickings. It's a typical suburban garden, but one that birds just don't seem interested in. The feeders and the tree they hang in are even out of the reach of any cats that might wander past. They've been up - stocked with food purchased from the RSPB - for over four years. In that time the only other birds I've seen using them have been:

- A female Siskin in 2007 (which was good, I'll admit).
- One instance each of a female and male Blackcap.
- One male Greenfinch.
- A small troop of Long-tailed Tits (that didn't stop).
- Tiny numbers of Chaffinch. Tiny.
- One Coal Tit.
- A Chiffchaff - extraordinarily briefly - two summers ago.
- Last winter a Mistle Thrush chould be seen most days in a neighbour's tree. In the same tree I spotted four Redwings one day.
- Also last winter a rather desperate looking Fieldfare was mooching around underneath the feeders. Indeed, when things were pretty desperate last winter for birds I put loads of food out for the birds, kept the areas free of snow, and still nothing came to take advantage of it.
- On the raptor front, we've had one Peregrine soaring way overhead, a Sparrowhawk stay for about fifteen seconds on a fence and a Buzzard erupting out of a large hedge and then pursued off by Gulls and crows.

That's it. It may appear to be a good selection (my garden list stands at 40)... but spread that over four years and an interesting bird (and right now I'd rate a Greenfinch, or even a regular Blue Tit, as an interesting bird) is a spectacularly rare event. It shouldn't be like this.

I visit family and friends' houses, with no better setup than me, and birds pour in all the time. Not here. Put the food out and the birds will come, my arse.


Tim Jones said...

Keep at it Chris and I'm sure if you keep feeding you'll get birds in, how long do you get to actually watch the garden specifically?

Chris Berry said...

In the winter, only the weekends when I'm in, but in the summer I can watch the feeders from my home office window.