Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Winter watching.

Last evening saw the first of a week's programmes called "Winterwatch".   These programmes come from the Inverness area of Scotland and are really set to show us how animals and birds cope with the wintry conditions.   The answer is, of course, that they cope very well by and large, although extreme weather does tend to wipe out the weaklings.   We don't like that but really Nature is all about the survival of the fittest - as it was with man too before the days of modern medicine.

We do give a helping hand, here on the farm, as far as we can.   And this does not just apply to the birds.   Hedgehogs hibernate in the hay in our hay barn and the mice have a jolly time with our various sacks of feed (sheep feed, hen pellets, corn etc.)   Wherever we put the sacks seems to make no difference - they find it.

But it is the birds that we help the most.   You ask how we put out the food I make.   I purchased a cone-shaped basket full of fat some weeks ago and when it became empty I saw it was lined with plastic, so I brought it in and every time it is empty I re-use it to pour in a mixture of melted fat mixed with seeds, grated cheese, suet, chopped apple and anything else I can think of.   We all need to do our bit to help wild things I think, although I know the birds will not repay me on Bird Garden Bird Watch day (the end of January) when we count the birds in our gardens for an hour for the R S P B.   I lay a pound to a penny that they desert me on that day, as they usually do, so that I get a feeble list to send in.   Here in the U K it is called Sod's Law.

Here is an up date!   At 4 this afternoon the farmer was in our fields walking the dogs on their last walk of the day, when he saw a dozen or so waxwings in the ash tree in the pasture.   How I wish I had been with him.   I have scattered chopped up fruit round the bird table so that if they are still around in the morning they might drop in and give me a sighting too. 


Gerry Snape said...

good...they have started singing as soon as it's light ....that I love!.

Crafty Green Poet said...

My parents have exactly the same with their garden birds! They see a great variety all year round then nothing turns up for the Big Garden Birdwatch.

Hope you see a good variety there this year!

MorningAJ said...

I've been spotting a few things in our garden lately, in spite of our cats! We seem to have gained a wren and a rather handsome blackbird. I hope they'll be safe.
I'm reluctant to put out food and encourage them to be close to our little hunter Maisie. But I do try to put out what I can. They had the skin off the boiling bacon yesterday. On top of the shed roof so they can see Maisie coming before she reaches them.

angryparsnip said...

I must look up that program to see if we can get here in the US.
I always wondered how the birds survive these very cold winters. But as with the owl from your last year blog.... they can and do starve because of the very strange, wet and freezing weather you are having.
Did the program say anything about besides having to fend off freezing weather they have to contend with cats trying to kill them for sport ?
I believe that if you don't live on a farm/ranch where cats help out with the rodent population one needs to keep cats indoors.
Daughter works for the Humane Society and I have read articles on the fact that cats are decimating the bird population more than nature.
WooHoo I just saw a very large bright red Northern Cardinal in the garden. We have them year around but I seem to notice them more in the winter.

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

I haven't seen a waxwing since one visited our garden in Cheshire over 40 years ago. We keep our birds well fed and they queue up in the morning for breakfast. One robin hops in through the open garage door to chivvy my husband up! We have two hedgehog boxes in quiet corners of the garden which I think are used, and plenty of nest boxes to provide shelter for small birds.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

We don't have the snow problem here, but we still feed the birds - suet cakes, seeds, fruit - whatever we think will attract them. It is such a delight to watch and photograph them. I too would have liked to see the waxwings - here we have Cedar Waxwings, I wonder if they are the same there.

And here in the U.S. we call it Murphy's Law, but I shall try to adopt Sod's Law - it sounds so intriguing, although I know it is the same disappointing happenings. Happy Day to you and the farmer and your birds.

Gwil W said...

Despite putting out sunflower seeds haven't seen many birds; but two new cats have arrived in the neighbourhood.

Hildred said...

Our neighbour left a dozen or so great large golden delicious on a tree, and now that they have begun to soften the flickers and the blue jays and the small birds are having a wonderful feast. They haven't reached the stage yet where consumption amounts to an afternoon in the pub.

Unknown said...

Looking at the picture it seems that it is pretty cold in your place. Just keep yourself warm beside the fireplace just like what my children doing inside our family log-cabin. Cool right?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for visiting - especially Katharine Hoda, who hasn't called before. I tried to return the call Katharine but couldn't get on to your site.
I have put out fruit for the waxwings in the hopes they return.