Late night opening
When you live a live of virtual solitude, you get your amusement where you can.
We have taken to watching the antics of our little avian friends in the garden.
As I feared, the demolition of the Beech tree seems to have scared off the blackbirds. They used to perch on its highest branches and sing their little hearts out but for some reason they haven’t chosen any of our other trees as an alternative and have mainly buggered off. This means we have to rely on the little ‘uns to entertain us.
I have a bird feeder which I hang on the remains of an apple tree. I say the remains as most of the Beech fell on it during the demolition process so it has lost a lot of its branches and looks a bit tatty. It does however provide the only spot where I can hang the feeder so we can both see it from our respective windows.
The feeder is a huge attraction; so much so that I have to regularly top it up with seed. It’s designed for very small birds as the perches are tiny with little feeding troughs beside them. At any one time there can be as many as a dozen all queueing to grab a spot. The queue is ever changing as they change branches in the hopes of getting there quicker. Naturally there are fights and frequently one will get impatient and attempt to knock a feeding one off the perch. It is actually remarkably similar to a queue for Tescos.
I’m no expert on birds I have to confess. I know that our friends consist mainly of Robins, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Greenfinches, Bullfinches and Chaffinches. Beyond that I profess ignorance. They are all messy little fuckers anyway and a lot of the seed is chucked onto the ground. It will be interesting to see what grows there.
Occasionally we get a visit from a Rook. That’s where the fun starts. The Rook of course scares away all the wee ones and then perches on a branch glaring at the feeder which is just out of reach. He will then try another branch and then another, all of which are close but just not close enough. All the branches are thin and springy so when he lands he shoots down lower than expected which annoys him even more. Eventually he will have a go at landing on the feeder but of course he hasn’t a chance in hell and just falls off.
Just for the craic I decided to introduce late night opening at the seed-bar. I hung three lightbulbs around the feeder that were given to me by Daughter a couple of years ago. They are solar powered and light up beautifully at dusk and last until after midnight.
Strangely, the birds seem to lack an appetite after dusk.
Maybe it’s because the pubs are shut?
I recommend BirdNet – https://birdnet.cornell.edu
You can record birds' voices, and the app then checks with a database (of Cornell University) and tells you what you're hearing (and with what probability the analysis is right).
Great fun, and instructive to boot!
Thanks for that Claudia! I have just spent a happy while browsing birds [the feathered variety]. The problem with a sound sample is that it would consist of a chorus of different songs. It would probably tell me I'm listening to a Wood Pigeon as they are very common here [along with Collared Doves] and tend to drown out the smaller birds.
My one mystery is that a very common song I hear is apparently a Blackcap yet I don't remember ever seeing one. Is there such a type as as Invisible Blackcap?
Sometimes this app even manages to show different birds from a chorus. Now and then, it shows what obviously must be wrong. It also recognizes "human" 🙂
I use it whenever I hear a bird song that stands out – it works a treat, I've learned a lot since I use it!
I listen to BBC radio 3 in the mornings and over the past few weeks on a Sunday, about 7.45, they have had 'Lucy Lapwing' explaining how to recognise various bird songs.
I now know that it is a blackbird which wakes me around 5.40, and a robin which takes over later on
Robins and Blackbirds are easy enough. A problem I have is in differentiating between a Blackbird and a Song Thrush. They have similar calls, but if I remember correctly, the Blackbird constantly improvises whereas a Song Thrush will find a few notes it likes and will repeat them a few times before moving on.
Perhaps late night birds would be looking for a bag of chips or a curry?
Sorry. Closed due to Pandemic Restrictions.
BBC Radio 4 at 05:58 each day broadcasts 'Tweet of the Day' – trouble is, at 5:58am they all sound the same.
At 5:58 am the only birds I'm interested in are the females I dream about.