Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bird News

A family of Buzzards owned Ormsaigbeg.  They nested in the trees around Coimh Lionadh, usually rearing one extremely demanding chick each year.  Last year they produced two and then, at some point during this summer, the whole family seemed to disappear.  We now have at least one Buzzard, pictured, back in this territory, though we're not sure whether it's a member of the old family.

Meanwhile, our family of Blackbirds has disappeared, and we currently have no Blackbirds coming to the bird seed.  There are similar reports of disappearing Blackbirds from elsewhere in the village.  There may be two reasons for this.  Blackbirds moult after the summer breeding season and, to do this safely, they lie low at a time when berries are prolific on the trees - at present, we have a bumper crop on the rowans.  Blackbirds also migrate.  Some British blackbirds move south for the winter, while Scandinavian blackbirds cross to Britain to avoid the harsh northern winter.

Another bird which seems to be lying low at present is the Song Thrush, but we have the usual resident collection of Robins, Dunnocks, Wrens, Collared Doves, Blue Tits, Great Tits, and Goldfinches.

This Coal Tit is now thoroughly established in the garden.  Not only is he battling the other Tits, Chaffinches and House Sparrows for room on the peanut dispensers, he's also discovered that there are sunflower seeds to be had when the bird seed is put out.  For a time he was joined by two other Coal Tits, but they've disappeared.

Some of our other winter visitors, such as the Siskins, still haven't arrived.  Worryingly, because we found one during the summer suffering from trichomonosis, we've seen no Greenfinches for several weeks.  Meanwhile, the seed feeding areas and the peanut dispensers continue to be dominated by Chaffinches and House Sparrows, the latter including Blondie.
The Sparrow Hawk is still very active.  He attacks the small birds by flying low through the neighbouring field and then bouncing over the stone wall into the midst of them.  They panic, and some, in their terror, fly into what looks like blue sky - but is, in fact, the reflection of sky in our window glass.  This Chaffinch killed himself the other day, but gave us the opportunity to take a close-up picture of him, and to marvel at the brilliant colours in his feathers.


  1. Jon. Could the hawk be responsible for the demise of the blackbirds, they take loads of them down here from the gardens?

    Jerry S

  2. Hi Jerry - As far as I know, the local buzzards don't take birds, even though, according to the RSPB site, small birds are on the buzzard menu. Ours seem stick to things like mice. Jon

  3. There is a cheeky little Coat Tit in our Pier Road garden too.

  4. I have found where the blackbirds are - they're living in Pier Road.