The wee garden birds and the not so wee ones, have not been visiting my garden bird feeders in any number and I have been puzzling about this. Could it be, I wondered, the change of feed. The local shops were out of packets of seed as so many people were putting out food. So, in the depths of the Arctic blast we had, I went to a local farm shop and bought about 20 kilos of their ordinary bird seed mix. Could the seed really have been totally different…surely, bird seed is what it is. The peanut house, which holds a kilo of nuts was not going down very fast either. I had not changed my nut supplier.

Perhaps the birds were well supplied with the thoughtfulness of all the other people feeding them and they did not need my offerings. I continued to wait and watch. The other morning, I believe I was presented with the true and not so palatable answer. As I gazed through the window a sparrow hawk flew close by; close enough for me to see a small bird being carried in its claws.

0 thoughts on “THE FEEDING POST

  1. Clever little birds keeping well away poor things from the sparrow hawk I have never seen them but it must be distressing to see although its life/nature 😉

  2. I too have been very surprised to see that the birdseed I put out when it was icy and snowy was not eaten. We don’t have hawks but we do have cats roaming in our garden from neighbours.

  3. I mulled over the activities of animal food chain; they do what they do, it is mainly instinctual and for their own survival. It’s Darwinian, the survival of the fittest. My natural instinct was to be protective. I had not thought about the practicalities of that idea though and, in any case, I should not be interfering with the survival process. My dichotomy here is, was I and am I interfering with nature’s processes by providing food when there is a dearth?

  4. it’s a tricky one! I was watching a programme about red kites last night, and how people are feeding them. The response of the ornithologists was that this is OK, so long as people respect the importance to the kite of foraging for its own food. So they suggest feeding them in the afternoon, having given them the morning to hunt: and leaving food that is as like as possible to the things they are hunting. Although I haven’t seen too many dormice on the supermarket shelf recently …

  5. The ornithologists do seem to be very compromising in their advice in the urban domain. How useful will that be; we shall never know.

    I read the advice as being – in icy and Arctic conditions when foraging is a real possibility, (not sure where) you allow red kites and other feathered wild life to exhaust themselves by using up energy they need to store, especially for the even more difficult night temperatures.

    As for the present, now it is a bit milder, there may be a point, especially if the ground is soft and foraging is in many places now possible, but for what? How you provide for door mice and field mice without a special ordering source, I am not in a position to advise. Even shrews are hard to come by. It does get complicated.

  6. Just had a first-hand experience of this business about whether to interfere with nature or not! Hub found a hunting bird (a kestrel? it has yellow rings round the eyes, but the RSPB site pictures are not clear) on the ground attacking a pigeon that appeared to be dead. The kestrel could not take off with the bird because it was too heavy, but didn’t want to leave it either. It hopped away a few feet – and the pigeon started to move! Hub decided to walk towards the kestrel, giving the pigeon a chance to run and hide.

  7. I May have a pic I took of a kestrel, finding it is the issue. I saw the picture a couple of days ago when going through some old folders. I remember taking the pictures knowing I was seeing birds of prey. If I do trace the picture/s I’ll post something on the bird/s.

    What an interesting set of circumstances, a pigeon either frozen in shock or playing dead. In either case it could have been a messy situation. The scenario begs even more questions about rural life needing to adapt to town and city dwelling.

    In the wild, which we are near enough to, a hunting bird would do what we have seen with the small birds, I do see pigeons and collared doves by our feeding post but not in the numbers we did see them.

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