Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Garden Bird Watching

There is no easier place to observe birds than in your own garden. Even if you do not have a garden, you can still attract birds to the area around your home. I have written about the birds we get in our garden a number of times; but I admit to be envious of friends that have more mature gardens and are rewarded with a greater range of birds.

 A couple of friends have designed their back garden specifically to attract the birds; and as I’ve said before, backing on to a lovely wooded quarry helps too! Over 50 species of bird have been recorded in this area; I think the majority of them have visited their garden: Bramblings top the list, but the beautiful colours of the Goldfinch take some beating! Here they are on their Niger Seed feeder.

I talked them into letting me hide in the corner of the garden to try to capture some photos of their visitors. The snow was beginning to thaw, but the temperatures were still very low, and I sat freezing, binoculars and camera to hand, awaiting some action. As is always the way with bird watching, they never appear when you are ready for them!

Eventually, the local Sparrowhawk (which has been a regular in this area for at least two years) graced the garden. He seems to have taken up residence in the garden, knowing that there is a good chance of a snack on one of the smaller visitors. You will always know when a Sparrowhawk is about: all the other birds run for cover, creating a crescendo of alarm calls. But on this occasion he just sneaked up and landed on the fence with no other birds around.

Once the hawk left, many birds came to feed: among them were Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits, Linnets and what can only have been Red Polls.  This Songthrush made a feast out of the berries on the Alder and, in the distance a Carrion Crow fed on some bread from another garden.

I spent much longer than expected in their company and I was in danger of over staying my welcome! But I was welcomed into the warmth of the sun lounge to join Kate and enjoy the tiffin and a cup of tea. So, thanks for a lovely few hours enjoying your birds; and I encourage everyone to put a few feeders up and think about the wildlife when you are planting your garden for the spring: you will not regret it!


  1. excellent shots thanks for sharing them with us, birds still busy at our feeders but i think i need to get other seeds, see if i can get more kinds of birds in to the garden.
    all the best

  2. Thanks Billy; it's great what a Digital SLR can do! And you can shoot hundreds of pics and hope for the best without any cost!

    As for feed to attract specific birds: I find that black sunflower seeds normally attract Greenfinches and the other finches(as does Sunflower Hearts). Niger (some time sold as Nyger) seeds attract Goldfinch. Tits love peanut cakes. Our Robin loves the dried worms and the Blackbirds love fruit; like currents / raisins. The thrushes (including Redwing and Fieldfare), as well as Waxwings, will come in from the fields to garden plants with berries (e.g. Rowan, Pyracantha).

    Good luck.

  3. hi what camera did you use for these shots. as i have been looking at ones but not sure which is the best.

  4. The new Canon DSLR (EOS D60) with the 70-300 IS lens. Far too expensive really! Are you the Billy from the Gardening Club?

  5. thanks for that info, yes i am from the gardening club.
    thanks again