Sunday, 27 January 2013

Big Garden Birdwatch

The last weekend of January I take part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. Would I see the special visitors that we have been enjoying since the cold weather started? We had a fieldfare on Thursday and a bullfinch on Friday.  I shouldn't ask silly questions. The birds seen to know when the nation is scrutinising their every visit to the garden and stay away, or land tantalisingly in a neighbour's patch, or fly overhead. In short they do anything rather than land in the garden and be counted.

A rook that perched precariously on the telephone wire just outside our garden and a female blackbird that sat sunning itself in our oak for most of the hour.
I did my birdwatch from 9.07 to 10.07 Saturday morning. At the end of my hour the scores on the doors were:
  • Blackbird: 3
  • Blue tit: 2
  • Collared dove: 1
  • Goldfinch: 1
  • Magpie : 2
  • Pied Wagtail: 1
  • Robin: 1
  • Song thrush: 1
  • Starling: 2
  • Woodpigeon: 1
We often see birds in the garden but devoting a whole hour to watching them is different. I found I was noting behaviour that I never usually see: the amusing antics of a rook trying to balance on a thin telephone wire; a female blackbird sunning itself in a tree and a cheeky wagtail stealing food from under the beaks of squabbling starlings. The two magpies were plucking twigs from our oak tree. It seems strange that they take the trouble to do this when there are so many lying on the ground.

Our bird count was lower this year: no sparrows, only two starlings, no great or coal tits. On the up side, we got a song thrush and a goldfinch.

If you are reading this on the day I wrote it, you can still fit your hour in. Just spend an hour noting the birds that land in your garden or other patch of ground and submit your results using the link at the top of this post.

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