A birds eye view

robinAlthough you wouldn’t guess it, our little corner of St Albans is actually a haven for wildlife. We’ve noticed this more so since we got Johnny, our cat, because he’s on a one moggy mission to deposit as much of it on our back step as he can. We’ve had shrews, mice, a rat, half eaten frogs and quite a few birds. The birds have particularly interested my wife as she is a zooarchaeologist and has a keen interest in animal bones. Take our little decomposing friend on the left, a robin that Johnny caught just before Christmas. He’s decomposed nicely enough that we’ll soon be able to add him to the wifes bone reference collection.

Of course that’s rather macabre and by no means the way we normally enjoy our avian buddies. We have numerous bird feeders in our garden and have even planted to encourage wildlife. We are lucky enough that there is a nesting family of Red Kites on the neighbouring farmland and we often see them soaring over our estate. I understand that they’re mostly carrion eaters, but even so, all birdsong stops when they appear as everything dives for cover. I daydream on occasion what would happen if Johnny attempted to bring one of those down- images of him disappearing off into the sunset, carried away by a bird twice his size…

finchesAlthough some of our bird feeders are distinctly home made (suet balls with bird feed in them, tied to something with a bit of string), we always makes sure there is plenty of wild bird food, like the stuff  Kennedy Wild Bird Food sell, available over the winter, even if it is a mild one like this. Just because the ground isn’t frozen solid or there isn’t an inch of snow about doesn’t mean that the insects and grubs that the birds scoff in warmer months are available now. We’re particularly keen on the passerines in our house. Can you tell we’re RSPB members? passerines are basically perching birds like the Tit family (no sniggering at the back), finches and robins. It’s a lot easier to sort out squirrel proof feeders for passerines as they can grab the side of a suspended feeder with their claws. Not that we have a squirrel problem, I think they’re too terrified of the cat.