Guest Post by Kevin Jacklin
Having been born and raised in rural Oxfordshire I have always had an interest in Nature. Most of my working life I have been offices within major towns and Cities such as London, Bristol, Cardiff, Milton Keynes etc. where although there is wildlife there is not much to be seen out of an Inner-City office window. Due to COVID-19 lockdown and working from home I now have opportunity to observe the nature in my garden.
There were several locations in our house where I could have set-up my workstation but decided to locate my office in the Boot Room of our house. The Boot Room (coined from the Estate Agents details when we were looking to move) has a large window overlooking the garden as well as heat lighting and power for working. I found an old hanging basket bracket to hang not too far away from the window to put birdfeeders on and fixed it where it was easily visible from my workspace and easy to refill. I also had to locate the bracket high enough from the ground and low enough from the eaves of the roof to prevent the local squirrel population from devouring the feed.
Currently we have three birdfeeders. One for Peanuts. One for Sunflower hearts and one for mealworms. All the birdfeeders are the standard feeders you can buy from your local pet shop or Garden Centre. By far the most popular food are Mealworms followed by Sunflower hearts. Possibly because we generally seem to have small birds in our garden the peanuts don’t seem to be popular apart from a Great Spotted Woodpecker who visits occasionally. A friend of ours says her birds are extremely fond of Niger Seeds.
We did an experiment with Niger Seeds but none of our visitors seemed to like them. I put on the ground to try and get the squirrels and Wood Pidgeon’s to eat them but even they wouldn’t go near them!
On the subject of birdfeeders many are made from plastic. We try and reduce the amount of plastic we use so we will be researching recycled plastic and environmentally friendly birdfeeders in the coming months, we’ve already found a small ceramic feeder that they seem to like. We will also be researching the different types of bird feed to see which is the most popular with our bird visitors as well as other items such as suet fat balls and suet pellets etc.
If you are looking for a good all year round bird feed one that we use is 4 Seasons Bird Feed
Great British Garden Birdwatch
Last weekend (29th – 31st January 2021) I took part in the RSPB Big Weekend Birdwatch (rspb.org.uk/birdwatch). The aim was to spend one hour between Friday 29th January and Sunday 31st January counting the birds that land in your garden, balcony or in your local park (you don’t need to have a garden!). To submit your results, use the online go to the RSPB Website above. To get started there is a log in if you are a member or Continue without an account. Not being a member of the RSPB I clicked on this option. Then just fill in your details where required. Quite simple really. This was the first year I have participated and was looking forward to noting what comes into our garden on my chosen day. It was lucky we chose Friday as the Saturday and Sunday were cold and wet with not very many birds around.
Birds we've seen
During lockdown I have seen the following: Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long Tail Tits, Robins, Dunnocks Wrens, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Chaffinches, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Redwings Woodpecker Collard Doves………………………and squirrels!
On the day we conducted the survey (Friday 26th January) we recorded:
- 4 no. Chaffinches
- 2 No. Robins
- 2 No. Blackbirds
- 3 No. Blue Tits
- 4 No. Great Tits
- 2 No. Long Tail Tits
- 2 No. Wood Pigeons
I was helped by No.3 Grandson who also enjoys wildlife. His other Grandfather lives on the Isle of Arran and helps with Conservation by ringing birds and observing the local bird population.
Do you get many different types of birds in your garden?