You should just see the shenanigans going on out on the bird feeder today. Battles galore and a bit of Grand Larceny thrown in for good measure.
The Fat Pigeon is sure that, if he really, really tries, he, too, can hang upside down on the coconut shell like the blue tits do. You can’t fault him for his hopefulness. He perches uncomfortably on the water tray and struggles, time and
time again, to launch himself forward. He looks like me on the side of a swimming pool, trying and failing to summon up the nerve to jump in. Two of the Teddy Boy Starlings, watching from the top of the feeder, snigger at his discomfiture. He flops to the
ground and pretends he wasn’t interested in the food on offer anyway – not when there are such rich pickings on the ground. The Collared Dove ignores them all and settles herself in the bird bath where she tackles her ablutions with admirable thoroughness.
The sparrows (tree and house) fly in and out, regardless of the Heavy Boys – Merry Magpie and a large crow – who constantly seek to impede their progress. Crafty
little fellas, those sparrows. You can almost hear them carolling “Non, je regrette rien,” like Edith Piaf (who was, of course, known as the Little Sparrow) as they flutter backwards and forwards from the safety of the bushes.
The Woodpecker Family is thriving. The babies are now venturing out on their own. One of them clearly hasn’t read the RSPB Book of British Birds because there he is on the ground, pretending to be a blackbird. According
to the Book of Birds, woodpeckers are rarely seen on the ground but then he’s still small, he probably can’t read yet. His brother or sister is up in the cherry tree where he has discovered the fruit. He / she is hanging upside down, perilously
close to falling, but clinging on for dear life. Top marks for perseverance in the face of danger.
All the woodpeckers possess an acute awareness of potential
danger in the shape of me and my camera. The moment I get to my feet and tiptoe over to the door, camera at the ready, they are off and I am left with a blurred image of feathers and greenery. Though, as you know, Mr B would say that even my best photographs
are blurred on account of the fact that I never manage to hold the camera steady.
Most of the fights take place between the starlings. Greedy boys they are and
snappy with it. Their battles are fierce and noisy, with much fluttering of wings and shrieking. Nobody ever seems to win, but then again nobody ever seems to lose. It’s like the battles of the Mods and Rockers all over again. (If you are too young
to know what Mods and Rockers are, maybe Google? It will help you in your understanding of the Battle of the Starlings 2013.)
Which brings me to the subject of
the Grand Larceny. Here is a little background to the theft. The most popular treat on the feeder is, without a doubt the coconut shells filled with suet, mealworms, seeds and cereals. Yummy, nothing like a few tasty mealworms to bring a meal to life.
Unfortunately, in our garden a Thief is About. Despite the fact that every evening Mr B secures the coconut shell as best he can, by the next morning it has vanished. So far we have lost four of them. Occasionally our birdy burglar has left the string
still hanging from the feeder – but of the coconut shells there is no sign, though I have scoured the garden for them in my search for clues.
have fallen on an enormous sea gull, whom I have christened Stalin. Yesterday he walked straight up to our patio doors, a stray suet ball clenched firmly in his beak, and treated us to a long, steely look of total arrogance before flapping off in ungainly
flight. The cheek of it! He was here again this afternoon, pacing up and down and eyeing up the bird feeder. Or, should I say, casing the joint? Only he will be disappointed today because we have run out of coconut shells, with or without tasty mealworms.
The birds are eating us out of house and home.
Like Edith Piaf and the Sparrows (great name for a band, by the way), I have no regrets...