Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Small bird parents are just like the human version, going through agonies of worry as their 'babies' start the process of leaving the home and making their way in the big, evil world. Here, a robin keeps a watchful eye on its young, though the robins in general seem the least worried of the parents and their young the most independent of the teenagers.

Both the robins and the chaffinches have had a good year, with plenty of young being brought to our feeders where they do their utmost to bankrupt us. This little chaffinch became an almost permanent fixture, being out on the terrace every time food was served - and then he/she disappeared, perhaps down the gullet of the local sparrowhawk.

Just like in a well-established pub, there's an uneasy relationship between the gauche young and the regulars, who expect to be given precedence at their favourite feeder. The bird on the right is a young goldfinch, sharing a feeder with an irritable adult male siskin.

The blue tits seems to have been particularly successful in raising large numbers of young this year, but one fears that the wet weather may have contributed to the bitter toll that's taken on young birds. Some of the young blue tits, like this one, have looked very bedraggled and miserable in the prolonged wet weather.

Perhaps the weather has also been responsible for bringing in some of the birds we haven't seen for some time, like the coal tits, which are even smaller - and therefore, I suppose, even more vulnerable to the wet - than the blue tits.

With mum and dad finally letting go, and some pairs setting about raising another brood, the young, like this siskin, are left to make their way in the world - and it's a lonely life out there.

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