birds · Life · nature

The CFHW HQ Garden Flock

Back in September, we packed up and moved house and now we’re here in February and still haven’t properly unpacked. The cardboard boxes just feel like part of the furniture now to be honest…

The new CFHW HQ has a garden. We didn’t have a garden before – just a tiny paved back yard – and now we have so much garden we don’t know what to do with it. From one extreme to the other!

One of the first things I did after we moved in was to set up a feeding station for wild birds – I grew up in a house in the countryside with a garden full of feeders and, subsequently, lots of birds. I wanted nothing more than to try to recreate that at CFHW HQ.

Our feeding station consists of one medium-sized tube feeder that I fill with mixed seed, two suet block feeders that I fill weekly with suet cakes of varying ‘flavours’ (peanut, insect, berry, fruit etc), one fat ball feeder, one tube peanut feeder and one novelty ladybird shaped peanut feeder (only the blue tits seem to be brave enough to use this one so far!) We also have a small plastic dish of water (that I refill/defrost daily) and a bird table that I put a handful of mixed seed on every day for the birds that don’t like the feeders so much and don’t want to be on the floor.

I supplement all of these with kitchen scraps and fruit such as apples which I scatter on the grass.

I am thinking of making a tray to go under the tube feeder to catch the seed that gets thrown on the floor when the sparrows and starlings all scrap with each other over who gets to sit where – some days I think they drop more than they eat! I just think it is more likely to get eaten if it is caught on a tray – and also less likely to grow/be easier to clean up.

I love bird watching, and standing in the kitchen or by the patio doors watching our visitors helping themselves to food is one of my favourite things to do.

Male blackbird taking a drink on a frosty morning

It took a while, but we now have a great crowd of regulars and even some occasional visitors. I love hearing their singing and chittering every day, they bring life to the garden even when the weather is miserable and it’s dull and brown with mid-winter muddiness.

Currently the regular CFHW HQ Flock consists of (about) 32 house sparrows, four or five starlings, one to four blackbirds (I have seen four at once, but one of them is very bolshy and chases the others off!), two robins (sometimes three!), three dunnocks, about four blue tits, two coal tits and an enormous wood pigeon.

If you look closely you can see some of the flock of sparrows in the hedge, on the seed feeder and on the fat feeders.

We have also had a dramatic swooping visit from a sparrowhawk (he missed his intended target) and recently spotted a teeny tiny goldcrest on the fat ball feeder (I got very excited about that one!)

What visitors do you get in your garden? Any suggestions as to other things I can do to encourage more birds? I’ve seen goldfinches down our street but they haven’t ventured into our back garden yet…


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