Saturday, 16 December 2017

If You Build It ~ They Will Come

Hello Friends!

The wind blows; the wind slows
The rain slices sideways in sudden, sharp downpours
Hailstones pummel and sleet slushes

We had so much rain in the last forty eight hours that when I stepped out on my lawn yesterday evening it was like walking across a wet sponge that slyrruped and slurped, squelching away under my feet ~~~

Much of the rest of Britain has had snow. We won't talk about that, other than to emphasise we didn't!

Last year, you may remember, I had to have a bad apple tree removed. Sadly, it was the apple tree where I used to hang my bird feeders. It was a grand spot, for I could sit in my comfy arm chair, warm and toasty by the fireside, with my hot drink of tea and slice of cake, watching the birds flutter in to feed on seeds and peanuts and fatty, nourishing foods to help them through the lean winter months ahead. 

I have missed watching the birds feed, so my only option was to get a feeding station to place on the lawn.  Of course, I could hang them in the remaining apple tree, but I cannot see it from the window. So, I bought one ~ "easy self assembly" and "no tools required" on the box, it said. An hour and a half later "You're having a laugh!" I said, for it might just as well have come from Ikea!  No instructions, no labelling of parts, two very fiddly stuck screws that needed a pliers to dislodge them, and all the while I'm handling cold metal with bare hands on a chilly sub 40 degrees Winter day in the garden!

Eventually, I got there. Wherever 'there' is.


However, it was only after expending all my unused energy in pushing, shoving, and hammering the spikes into the ground and coming back indoors I discovered, shock and utter horror, it is about three feet to the left of where I wanted it. Piffle.  There it will remain. I will have to either move my chair or sit forward to view the birds feeding, for I am through wrestling with it!

I filled the feeders {which are not the best quality, so good quality metal feeders are next on the shopping list} and that's when I found out that my diminutive stature of not quite five feet, three and three quarters inches about one inch shorter than the height I need to be in order to hang the feeders on the hooks without the use of a stool! Piffle.

Can this get any more desperate?

Well, yes. Of course it can. I wouldn't have asked otherwise, would I?

I have two big bags of Black Niger seed and Sunflower hearts, both of which pour straight out of the bottom of the feeders which are not at all suitable for them. Piffle again.

Defeat loomed on the grey horizon ~~~

I fished out an old stool, carefully climbed up and hung the feeders, filled the water bowl, and tipped suet into the seed dish.  This I managed without incident. The way this saga is unfolding, spilling the cold water all over me would have been the icing on the cake!

My reward was not far away, though ~~~

If you build it, they will come!

It didn't take long for the birds to come!  So, I've wittered away the afternoon watching in between chores as the birds come to discover a new feeding station in their neighbourhood!

There's a long way to go before I get all that I want set up out there, but the main thing is the birds are coming in, and I managed to get a few photographs of the happy diners, and some of the rook who wasn't happy to discover he can't get at the seeds. He became incredibly vocal ~~~

Oh, and if I am to take my photos from the comfort of my living room, I will need to wash my windows in between the window cleaner's visits! Digital photography picks up, and enhances, even the slightest speck of dust!














My favourites are the Starlings. They have such lovely markings, and while the colours are not as bright as some of the other, smaller birds, there is a sheen and delicacy to their feathers the other birds don't seem to share.

At this time, I am making a heartfelt plea to all who have read this in regard of Starlings. They are often misjudged as greedy, condemned for seeing off the other birds at the table, and for being nothing more than voracious eaters that devour everything in sight to the detriment of other birds. This is not so. For those of you who do not know, the truth is that Starlings have a very high metabolic rate and are a lot more fragile than many of the smaller birds. Starlings need about four times the amount of food, in ratio to body weight, as the small birds do, so while they appear to be greedy, they are simply eating to survive the winter months.  Please consider this next time you see Starlings eating at your feeders and don't shoosh them away, or they may die a cruel death from starvation.

Until next time ~~~
Deborah xo

24 comments:

  1. I am a fan of starlings and get very excited when they arrive in the garden. The colouring is beautiful and I love seeing them flying around the piers.

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    1. It sounds as if you are seeing murmuration? I would love to see that.

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  2. So glad you wrote about your birdfeeder adventure! I remember sadly the day we had to take down a dead golden maple which sat not far from my desk window and from which I hung my feeder. I had to move the feeder (and birdbath) farther away so that it was situated under the high branches of another tree (thus providing some protection from predator birds circling overhead),but I must use my binoculars now to see all the visiting birds. Definitely not ideal, but the best I can do. As for starlings, they will always be one of my least favorite birds simply because they come to the feeder and in one day wipe out all the seed, leaving nothing for the cardinals, sparrows, wrens, finches, titmice, chickadees, juncos, etc. But I'm glad you love them -- all living things need love.

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    1. I used to feel that way about Starlings too, until I learned that they need much more food than the other birds in order to survive. They die off in huge numbers from starvation during Winter.
      Maybe one day you can find a way to bring the birds closer to your window again?

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  3. Trials and tribulations of feeding the birds! bet you wished you hadn't started but thank goodness you did - some lovely photos there.

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  4. I love starlings! I could watch them for hours strutting around the garden with their shiny feathers. Our garden birds are really eating up everything I put out now. 12 fat balls a day and lots of seeds, etc. They are very entertaining - even having baths in the icy bird bath water!

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    1. Brrrr! bathing in icy water! It is important to remember, though, to put water out for our feathered friends, as well as feed.

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  5. How lovely, Deb, to see you have your feeding station up! I understand the adventures of doing simple tasks (or so the instructions say) and then running into issues. Your sweet birds will thank you over and over as you delight in their coming and goings. You already have quite a variety there in your beautiful photos. I was not aware that starlings were any different in their metabolic needs from any other bird--very interesting. All birds are welcome at our feeders, except the ones with the bushy tails! xoxo ♥

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    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen. Arthritis in my hands and wrestling with cold metal is not a great combination! Ha! Yes, the bushy tails do make off with an awful lot of contraband, don't they? Deb xoxo

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  6. Hi Deb. Yes, I was smiling! That sounds like me. I always at least double the time they say it takes to put things together! I'll say you have quite a variety of birds already! I know you'll figure out a way to enjoy it. That is a very nice feeding station by the way. I need something like that with a flat place for the cardinals. I have some suet cakes out, and the chickadees and wrens remind me that I haven't put out their seeds yet!! Guilty as charged!! My one consolation is that my next door neighbor is feeding them well, and they know it!! Jane xo

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    1. Thank you, Jane. My neighbours have an established feeding station, so I hope that soon some of their regulars will visit mine. I need to get some flat suet cakes next. Deb xoxo

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  7. How lovely, your hard work paid off, nice to see the birds enjoying it.

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    1. thank you, yes, and it's lovely to watch the birds, as I know you know!

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  8. I am happy that you got it all together and up...but sorry you will need to either move it again, or your chair. I would move the chair for now and when the weather is nice, move the feeder to the best place.

    I think the photos are great and you will only get more visitors as the time goes on. I am with you, I think starlings are beautiful. They are not 'showy' like a cardinal, but I love their feathers. And I can listen to them chatter for hours. They have such lovely voices with such a range of squeaks and noises and songs.

    I wish you pleasant viewing!

    Love and hugs,
    Darlene

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    1. You got it in one, Dear Friend ~ 'tis the chair that will be easier to move right now. It's not pretty out there this morning ~ the gulls and jackdaws are fighting and scaring everything else away! Oh, dear!
      Sending you mugs of hot chocolate hugs ~ Deb xoxo

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  9. Well done on all that perseverance! I am shorter than you and have same problems reaching hooks to hang up the feeders! It is a lovely feeding station and so pleased the birds are flocking in already.

    I like Starlings too - years ago we used to have dozens on the feeders but these days rarely get a sighting although a pair have recently returned and have taken a liking to fat balls :)

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    1. Thankfully, it's done now! More varieties of birds coming in today, so hopefully we'll build on them in the coming weeks. Sadly, we had hundreds of Starlings 'expire' one Winter in the barn we had. It was empty and unused. They got in for shelter but couldn't find a way out. Very distressing come February.

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  10. I wouldn't dream of shushing them away. I too have height related problems with bird feeders. Well done on getting there and I love the pictures, nearly time for the bird count.

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    1. Thank you. I see you didn't have snow either, but as you say, just as well for you! Yes! This year I will, once more, be in on the count.

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  11. So glad you have a bird station going! I just love watching the birds out my craft window flying in and out all day! We get mostly cardinals and blue jays right now, so lots of color! And of course, we get the squirrels. I didn't know that about starlings. I'm not sure if we get those in my area (North Georgia, US). I think my mom gets them in Texas.

    I hope you will be up to moving that station once things warm up. I'd hate to have you get a neck cramp from all the craning! ;-)

    Take care, my dear, and have a Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hello Dear Friend! I am not sure how I will move that station, and with huge hindsight, the next question concerns mowing ~ LOL and panic with more LOL
      Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

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  12. No snow here. We have a similar bird feeder and we have a stand that it is fixed into. The stands are similar to those that you buy for parasols. Your photos are lovely. I know exactly what you mean about focusing through the window. On top of that we have diamond leading to negotiate.

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    1. Thank you Sue. Yes, I have a four pronged spike thing at the base of mine for stabilising. It took forever to get it in as I kept hitting stones on one spike. Once it stops raining, I will clean a patch! So, that'll be sometime in May, maybe?

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