Birds in the garden Part 3

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Starting Part 3 . .

Part 2 was here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/717347/

Here's a Redwing from my garden.

Thumbnail by Resin
(Zone 5a)

Thanks for the new thread Resin.

There's been snow cover on the ground for the past two weeks so the snow buntings have been here in great numbers. It's really cold here today around -10C (14F) so the birds are getting a lot of tallow&bread today ;-)

Thumbnail by rannveig
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Lovely picture rannveig! He looks so cute, so nice you provide them with food in this harsh period..

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Soooooo.. quiet over here, while the birds are singing their heads off!

I can only offer a poor pic of what I think is a Troglodytes troglodytes (a 'wren' in English, is that correct Resin? The pic is heavily cropped and lightened up, in the original one can only see the black silhouet. It called my attention because of its very strong voice and that for such a tiny bird! It was very high up in the tree and I had to use a (not powerful enough) telelens, but without a tripod and in dark conditions the result is poor.
It has become resident in my garden, last year it made its nest in the huge ivy I have growing on a tall wall.

Thumbnail by bonitin
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

It's still amazing though what one can do with photo editing programs;
this is the original;

Thumbnail by bonitin
Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Hi Bonitin,

Quoting:
Troglodytes troglodytes (a 'wren' in English, is that correct Resin?

Correct, but not your bird ;-)

You've got a Dunnock Prunella modularis there.

Exercise: describe the principal identification characters used to distinguish Prunella modularis and Prunella vulgaris.

Resin

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

You almost got me there, Resin! LOL! But I must confess I was puzzled at first and even looked it up in my bird guide from Europe!
and of course I didn't find Prunella vulgaris!! It's a wild flower!

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

another pict of today is of one of my collared doves ( Streptopelia decaocto). It has a little tuft on top of its head! A 'cultivar'?

Thumbnail by bonitin
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Sweet Dove bonitin, lol, I think it's a loose feather.

I have had a Great Spotted Woodpecker the last 2 days on the peanuts, but the only pic I got yesterday was when it sat briefly in the flowering cherry while I was hiding amongst the shrubs.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Shelburne Falls, MA(Zone 5a)

Wow! What a red belly!

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Yes it is booj, lol, I will get a proper pic of him yet!

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Oh, and I thought it was a little 'crown' :-{

I have seen the carpenting woodpecker often in my brother's garden, Wallaby, but me living in a town means very little variety in birds, although I suspect that a heron has been here about a month ago, as all of my 5 fishes from my pond have vanished. Don't think the culprits were any of the neighbour cats, I always had cats from the neighbours and my own cat from the past. Only one cat ever managed to catch one fish. But now they all vanished all at once!


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Sorry to spoil your crowning glory bonitin, lol!

Oh what a terrible shame about your fish! If they had just died you would have seen them floating so it must have been a Heron. I guess they have to eat, and food must be scarce for them, but pond fish are expensive food for a Heron! Poor little fish.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Oh, no the fish were not expensive, they were not 'koi's' (I'm not found of these) but just a type of simple goldfish( the long narrow, very fast ones with orange colour) that doesn't mess up too much in the mud, don't know the English or Latin name of it.
I'm not going to put any other fish in there and hope not any good-willing friend will give them as a present, like has happened before.

Right now the pond is full of life with courtshipping toads and newts (and the result a is a rather muddy pond)
But then Herons also might like these ones, I'll have to keep a close eye to it!

not really fitting in a bird thread, but anyhow;


Thumbnail by bonitin
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Hmm, I wondered if the toads may be the culprits! At breeding time they are perhaps wanting more food, or the available food could be getting low as you have so many toads. I found an article that says they can eat fish, look under 'Amphibians'.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=driJ1awa180C&pg=PA253&lpg=PA253&dq=toads+eat+fish&source=web&ots=bC1QDJ7uQK&sig=2W4lnj4rsN8U_9oU5RCMxNuUbhY&hl=en

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Toads only eat very small fish fry - lot large fish.

Resin

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Goldfish are small, they can eat mice too so I imagine they could eat a fair size goldfish. Whether this type of toad eats fish I don't know, but it is possible.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

I don't think so wallaby. Of course I have some the size of a fist, but most are smaller, ranging from 2 cm to 5-6 cm in sitting position. The fish were about 12 cm long and really very quick. The toads are too slow to catch them. I don't think they have lack on food even being with so many, there is really plenty of it!
Besides slugs and snails, there are masses of earthworms and other critters, as I trow a lot of organic material in the garden; kitchen waste spread under the greedy bamboos, wood logs, dead leaves I often collect from other places, because they look so beautiful in autumn and half-decayed look like a delicate lacework etc....

The newts have also multiplied a lot in the years..
I wonder if there will ever come a stop in the growth of the populations. I think their only enemy is the blackbird who likes to feed on the tadpoles, I once witnessed him grabbing a newt. That was a rather gruesome..

Anyone wants toads or newts ? There is a new load coming..Lol!

Pregnant!

Thumbnail by bonitin
Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

The newts will do better in the absence of fish.

Of course, herons will eat newts too . . .

Resin

North East England, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I found two of my newts dead by the side of the pond (one male and one female) and I think the neighbourhood cat was responsible. The newts in my pond are very active just now so I am hoping they have already bred.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Could also have been a blackbird, Galanthophile!
I have witnessed a gruesome killing of a newt by a blackbird...

North East England, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Oh I hope not but it's possible! I'm just glad I wasn't there to see it if I couldn't save it.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Yes, alas, I was too late to be of any help to the poor newt!

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

My sparrows are very ambitious in procreating!
Apart from the many nesting opportunities provided by the 20m long and 9 meters tall garden wall entirely covered with thick ivy and other climbers, also the fact that they get food year round must play a part in that..
I guess each couple has some 4 nests a year.
The strange thing is that the total amount of sparrows in my garden stays more or less the same of approximately 25 individuals, so I guess part of them must imigrate to other places.

Since some years ago there is considerable concern from the bird protection organisation about the decline mounting up to a 50% of house sparrows in Belgium, also in the rest of Europe, in 2007 statistics showed a decline of 96% (!!!) of Passer montanus in GB.

So it gives me a good feeling that I can do my bit in helping the specie to recover..

There is always a dangerous fase when the babies have left the nest but cannot really fly very well yet and I do my best to keep neigbour cats away (a garden hose is a good weapon!)

Thumbnail by bonitin
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

...

Thumbnail by bonitin
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Mom is gone looking for more food, baby makes its toilet...

Thumbnail by bonitin
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

something strange is happening , I'm trying to send more pictures but they don't arrive...?

(Zone 5a)

Cute photos bonitin :-)

We had a starling nest in the eaves of our house this spring and had to have it sprayed for fleas after they left the nest ...... we've really been plagued by fleas this summer. Don't know if it's just because of the nest or if they're in the grass too ..... there have been a few flea bites around the pond too which is popular with the birds ....... It has made me think that birds in the garden aren't such a good thing ... ? Anyone have this same problem? Can we do anything about it? I'm also wondering if there could be fleas left in the grass in spring because I put out food for the birds during winter. We've been blissfully bug bite free until about 3 years ago ..... not a good change at all :-(

Shelburne Falls, MA(Zone 5a)

Wonderful pics bonitin!!

I can't help with the flea problem but I am always plagued with no see ums, black flies, deer flies, ticks, mosquitos, and japanese beetles (only bad for the plants) here in Massachusetts! We've only had really bad fleas once and had to spray the cracks of the old wood floors to get rid of them (about 12 years ago).

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Thanks Rannveig and Boojum :-)

That is so strange Rann, I know that birds can have fleas but never thought these could also bother humans.
But I do know that fleas of cats (and maybe dogs?)can do so, at least that was my experience at the time I had a cat.
Besides the sparrows, I have plenty of other birds too in the garden and among them also the occasional visits of starlings when the berries of my Virginian Creeper are ripe and I never experienced any trouble with flees. And I am one of these unfortunate persons 'blood thirsty' insects from all sorts choose the first, even spiders... sigh!

My garden is really tiny so wherever the birds have been I'll get in contact with. It would be really a pity if that would put you off having birds in your garden..

I know that my sparrows love to take a sand bath and I've learned that they do that to get rid of fleas, perhaps that also counts for other birds..



Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

....

Thumbnail by bonitin
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

That baby looks too young to be out of the nest, I hope it will be OK! My House Sparrows have had at least 3 lots of young, the last was some time ago so they must be ready for another lot! They nest under the roof, I have an old roof with clay tiles and they can get under the bottom. Starlings nest there too.

Never had a problem but I can imagine the distress it would cause to have fleas. I wonder if there is a general infestation in the grass, maybe you could ask others if they have had them too rannveig. I wouldn't have thought one nest of Starlings would have caused a serious infestation, they eat all sort of bugs, maybe fleas too! Sparrows eat all sorts too, they eat most of my greenfly aphids.

Sheffield, United Kingdom(Zone 7b)

I've never heard of bird fleas transferring to humans, it sounds a horrible problem. Have you thought of putting flea powder in an area where they can have a dust bath? Or perhaps sprinkling some in the grass round the pond. I wouldn't have thought the fleas would stay on grass for long as they would be ready to jump on their next meal. They don't usually transfer from birds and animals to humans as we have a lower body temperature and they don't like it.

Changing the subject, the past few weeks have been great for bird watching as all the parent birds have been bringing their new fledglings to the feeders showing them where they can get an easy snack.

The best so far was the nuthatch. I'd not seen one for several months and then a couple of weeks ago one came back. It went up and down the bark on the pear tree, then settled on each feeder in turn and then to my surprise brought a baby with it, so it was obviously a training session. Lovely to know they are breeding successfully, and an honour to know my feeding station is on their list.

(Zone 5a)

Pat - I hadn't thought of flea powder - I might try that next spring. It seems the fleas are mostly a problem in May/June. Like you I didn't think they'd be around in the grass for too long. I didn't think they could live that long without a host .... but apparantly they can. When we had the nest sprayed it was almost a month since the birds had left it and the guy who sprayed it said it was "jumping" with fleas ..... said he didn't often see that.
Sounds like your garden is very lively at this time of year :-)

The starlings have been eating the elder berries, often in pretty large flocks. They're pretty silent this time of year, so only the sound of flapping wings gives them away.

I've seen a few black birds taking a bath in the pond now and then, but I haven't seen a redwing around for weeks - maybe they go out of town for the summer? lol I kind of miss them.......

Rann

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

It's so quiet over here so I thought I could post a couple of pics to bring it back alive..

I have two coconut-feeders hanging outside in the Blue Rain on the streetside of my house on the first floor, each of them visible from the two windows I have up there in what I call my 'computer-room'
They are very successful, specially with the Blue tits, I hope I got this right Resin, forgot the English names again of the smaller one with the blue bonnet and the bigger one with the black tie

The one with blue bonnet;


Thumbnail by bonitin
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

the same one..

Thumbnail by bonitin
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

What a great idea! I will have to seek out a large coconut and make one. Lovely shots, that is the Blue Tit and the black tie one is Great Tit. I always have plenty of them visiting my peanut silo, but that is across the garden and in this dull weather impossible to get any pics. I got a new silo this last week at the supermarket, only a cheap one the same as last but the squirrels had chewed it so much and the birds knew how to get the peanuts from a part where the wire had been chewed through. I counted 12 Great Tits coming for nuts and the fat ball I had hung, they can't grab and run with them now and I have nuts left the next day, that is until the squirrels get to it again, lol. For that reason I never fill it.

I had thought of making some sort of feeding station to place in view of my lounge room window as I can see out the large window from where I sit at my computer, near the fireplace, lol, best place to be. I haven't been lighting a fire though until quite late (price of coal!)when of course it's dark but the room is kept warm from the previous night.

These were the last pics I took of any bird, on the 21st I had given the male pheasant some bread, the young ones had been in the garden previously, but this is probably the same male I had in spring and he wasn't scared of me but a little nervous. I left him to feed, then I saw him from my kitchen window with the strong winds on his back blowing his neck feathers. He looked like he had a crop full and was trying to send it further down, the 'lump' disappeared.

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I think he spotted me!

Thumbnail by wallaby1
Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Thanks wallaby! The coconut feeders are easy to make, but it takes some patience to saw them through as they are so hard.
I used an iron saw as it gives a clean cut. The three cords that separate the top from the bottom have a knot on the inside.

I had great difficulty too to take reasonable shots, but eventually managed with putting that feature in the camera (forgot how its called) to the maximum (+2) that helps you taking pictures against the light, and then afterwards still brighten it up with the photo editing programme.

Wow, your male pheasant is handsome, he must be impressing the girls, lol!


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I think you mean the 'EV' , Exposure Value or Exposure Compensation, it can work wonders!

http://ezinearticles.com/?Exposure-Value-(EV)-and-Exposure-Compensation&id=290357

Yes the male usually has his harem of females!

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