Author Topic: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings  (Read 124981 times)

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Offline EvieMay

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #120 on: September 26, 2011, 11:30:18 pm »
Hi Dave,
It looks like a nasty lesion on the back of the sparrow's head. I've seen them in the same place on female mallards. This is caused by aggressively amorous males during "courtship", when the male holds the female down with its beak..
However, I haven't seen this on a sparrow before.

Thanks Nobby, perhaps it will get better once the male loses interest. The bird looked fairly healthy otherwise, and was back again this afternoon.

Forgive me for butting in to your conversation  :),  but male sparrows do not grasp their mates during courtship as the rather over-amorous duck does so it won't be that.  More likely to be caused by excessive scratching due to a parasite or an old, healing wound of some description.
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #121 on: September 27, 2011, 04:31:18 pm »
My new best mate...

Here is the deal.  I faff around in the garden and, in doing so, unearth dinner.  I also provide bathing facilities (see vid above) and drinking water (see pic below).   In return, the robin comes right up to me and let's me take intimate photos. Everyone's a winner.  Click on the images for higher quality pics (and click again once it's loaded to zoom in) , they are really big images and worth enlarging if you have the time and inclination. My favourite is the first one, but the detail in the last is amazing.









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Offline EvieMay

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #122 on: September 27, 2011, 09:25:42 pm »
Lovely :)
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #123 on: September 29, 2011, 03:04:47 pm »
Question for Nobby.  Do robins play dead, and, if so, why?  The one that assists me with my gardening has taken to lying in the soil as if it's just crash landed from a great height. Then when it sees that I am taking no notice - after having taken its picture, of course - it gets up and acts like a normal bird. What is it up to?

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Offline Alfred the Great

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #124 on: September 29, 2011, 07:42:56 pm »
Mother birds sometimes do this to attract the attention of predators, so that their offspring can get away. Hence ending the pretence when you're not looking. Can you hear any high pitched squeaks (from elsewhere in the garden) when she does this?
Confucius he say "a dog is for life not just for Christmas Dinner"
 

Offline ADM

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #125 on: September 30, 2011, 09:15:30 am »
It looks to me as if he/she is basking in the sun, spreading all feathers to maximise the heat absorption, a good source of energy (like worms).
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #126 on: September 30, 2011, 09:57:44 am »
Hi
Mother birds sometimes do this to attract the attention of predators, so that their offspring can get away. Hence ending the pretence when you're not looking. Can you hear any high pitched squeaks (from elsewhere in the garden) when she does this?

Hi Alfred,  No, there was no noise. The bird just seemed to be enjoying the dusty earth, recently turned over by me and which had become dry and sandy.

It looks to me as if he/she is basking in the sun, spreading all feathers to maximise the heat absorption, a good source of energy (like worms).

I hope so, and this may be the case because, soon after, it hopped up to a small container of water I had put out and splashed around. So it didn't look in distress.

Perhaps they spread their feathers in the sun and roll in the dusty soil to dislodge parasites and then splash around to wash them off. Could that be it?

Where is Nobby when you need him.

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Offline EvieMay

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #127 on: September 30, 2011, 11:48:51 am »
Absolutely!  Most birds enjoy basking in the sun, you should see my chickens lazing around when the sun shines!
 

Offline Beppy

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #128 on: September 30, 2011, 04:41:50 pm »
You may also spot blackbirds and house sparrows doing this too.  There is a hen blackbird who regularly sunbathes in a corner of my garden.  Some theories are that it helps rid them of mites, etc in their feathers.
P.S.  Thanks for the beautiful robins photos.
 

Offline Nobby

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #129 on: September 30, 2011, 08:00:17 pm »
The article below provides a solid explanation of the reasons for sunning:-

There are several theories about bird sunning behavior, and in fact birds often sun for different reasons. In cold weather or early in the day, birds sun themselves for warmth by taking advantage of solar radiation. This allows them to maintain their body temperature without expending as much energy from food, and it can increase their chances of survival in cold climates or when food is scarce.

Many birds are observed sunning even on the hottest days, however, and it is believed that sunning can fulfill purposes other than just temperature regulation. Sunning can help birds convert compounds in their preening oil secreted from a gland at the base of the tail into vitamin D, which is essential for good health. If the birds have been in a birdbath, sunning can help their feathers dry more quickly. It is even believed that some birds sun themselves for pure enjoyment and relaxation, much the same way humans will sunbathe.

The most important reason for sunning, however, is to maintain feather health. Sunning can dislodge feather parasites because the excess heat will encourage insects to move to other places in a bird's plumage. This will give the bird easier access to get rid of those parasites when preening, and birds are frequently seen preening immediately after sunning. It is essential to get rid of these parasites the tiny insects that infect feathers can cause problems for a bird's flight, insulation and appearance, all of which can impact its survival.
 

Offline Nobby

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #130 on: October 21, 2011, 07:02:22 pm »
Autumn migration was in full swing in the early hours of this morning. The highlight was 3 Crossbills and a Lesser Redpoll over the station. Also lots of Redwing and Wood Pigeon going over the village.
 

Offline Therock

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #131 on: October 24, 2011, 03:31:32 pm »
I have had 2 parakeets in my garden, They were bright green and had red round the neck.  They were after my grape vine. Managed to get a phot of one in the tree.  This is the 2nd time this week I have seen them.

Thank God I had not been on the wine, Saw a  news programme on saturday thet there are approx 35,000 wild parakeets in britain.  Global warming Love it. 
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #132 on: October 24, 2011, 03:35:43 pm »
Hi Therock,

We get them on the nuts every day now. This link takes you to some pictures.

http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/topic,2914.msg25690.html#msg25690

(I have merged your thread with the existing discussion)

David
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Offline Therock

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #133 on: October 24, 2011, 05:11:27 pm »
David, It must be that Moffats Lane is the Warmest place in our Village, Just waiting for the Macaws to arrive.
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #134 on: October 24, 2011, 05:15:40 pm »
David, It must be that Moffats Lane is the Warmest place in our Village, Just waiting for the Macaws to arrive.

Whatever it is it's fun to watch. We had four parakeets in our garden recently. I notice that some have clear red rings around the necks, others have blue flashes in their tails, some have more yellow. They are extremely attractive birds.
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Offline chicken legs

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #135 on: October 24, 2011, 09:32:28 pm »
Do they keep the smaller birds away from the feeders, David?  Does that include house sparrows?  We have had a small colony of them which we have cherished for twenty years or more and I dread the arrival of the parakeets.
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #136 on: October 24, 2011, 09:47:03 pm »
Do they keep the smaller birds away from the feeders, David?  Does that include house sparrows?  We have had a small colony of them which we have cherished for twenty years or more and I dread the arrival of the parakeets.

No, they all seem to coexist quite happily. The parakeets only turn up twice a day and for about 10 minutes. The other birds seem to hang around and clear up the seeds they drop.  Sparrows seem happy. All getting on fine, it seems.
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Offline larrylamb

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #137 on: October 24, 2011, 11:03:17 pm »
David, It must be that Moffats Lane is the Warmest place in our Village, Just waiting for the Macaws to arrive.
does the mrs know you are expecting some birds round?
 

Offline Therock

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #138 on: October 25, 2011, 01:40:33 pm »
Mr Lamb, Can you please return the DVDs of the Birds. Hope you Had a Good Tweet.  Quite sure the Wife if you have One would be suprised that you are a Real Twitterer.
 

Offline chicken legs

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #139 on: October 25, 2011, 08:33:24 pm »
Thanks, David.  Very reassuring.
 

Offline Local Walker

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Offline Editor

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #141 on: October 26, 2011, 08:11:09 am »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13524396

Hi Local Walker,

Thanks for sharing that link. I read the piece but I think the journalistic interpretation of the scientific research is misleading.

In our garden the other birds seem fine when the parakeets visit. The parakeets only visit about twice a day and stay for about 10 mins.

The rest of the regulars, tits, sparrows, dunnocks, robins, chaffinches etc etc, just hang about. Some are faffing around below the feeders picking up the bits. There is not a great senses of disturbance or stress. Then the parakeets go and the other garden birds return.  All seems fine.

If we had done what the researchers did and put a caged parakeet next to our feeders all day long, then I guess it would deter garden birds. But we haven't, and I don't think many people in Brookmans Park or the rest of the UK would do that either.

So the research is probably true; parakeets probably would scare garden birds away if caged next to the nuts. But they are not, and they don't.

And I have never seen a parakeet attack or show any aggression to the others. 

By the way, in future, would you mind adding one line of context to a post where you add a link. It helps explain to others what you found to be important in the article and will help people decide whether to click on it or not.

Thanks

David
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Offline Webman

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #142 on: October 29, 2011, 10:25:19 am »
Parakeets in Peplins this morning. Later chased off by crows.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 05:52:40 pm by Webman »
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #143 on: October 29, 2011, 10:56:04 am »
Hi Webman, great pics. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum.

By the way, I saw our robin chase the parakeets yesterday, so I am not sure they are the bullies in our garden.

 :)
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Offline Greybeard

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #144 on: November 24, 2011, 08:48:38 am »
This November the herons seem more persistent than in previous years about paying attention to our garden fishpond, and we have seen more of them.

Anyone else seeing this? Are there more herons about this year, or are they just hungrier?
 

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #145 on: November 24, 2011, 03:13:43 pm »
We have unfortunately also suffered with the heron.  Our pond is very close to the house so in the past they have resisted - i wondered if they were hungrier.
 

Offline Nobby

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #146 on: November 24, 2011, 06:43:21 pm »
There are more herons around at this time of year because, firstly, there will be this year's new crop of youngsters. Food is also scarcer now because one of their major food sources, frogs, go into hibernation, and fish are also more difficult to find as, in colder temperatures, they tend to live at greater depths. So, the herons have to visit a wider range of habitat to find food.
It's tough being a young heron - 74% die, mainly of starvation, before they reach their second birthday.
But, if your sympathies lie more with the fish, some cheap netting, from any decent garden centres, spread across the pond will deter herons, in most cases.
Personally, I'd love to have a heron visit my pond.
 

Offline BrookyP

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #147 on: November 24, 2011, 07:01:57 pm »
they can clean out a standard (unprotected) garden pond in about 10 minutes. One even tried to take a 7lb crucian carp we had. It was so badly mauled we had to dispatch it. they are not good to have round ponds...unless of course its a stock clearance for next spring your after
 

Offline epiphany

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #148 on: November 24, 2011, 10:24:31 pm »
A question for Nobby...

I regularly see a heron in a field of long grass looking like it is stalking (not storking!) what would

it be hunting for?
 

Offline Nobby

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Re: Garden birds - regular and unusual sightings
« Reply #149 on: November 25, 2011, 07:28:17 pm »
Epiphany, Herons are, by no means, exclusively fish eaters, and will take quite a wide variety of prey. Rats, mice, frogs, toads and large insects will all be eaten enthusiastically.
 

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