by Richard Allen
Some of my earliest birdwatching memories are of birds in our small narrow garden in Berkshire. I can still vividly recall the Blackbird singing from our roof gable on a summer’s evening, the rows of House Sparrows along the chain-link fence, and the excitement of a Siskin appearing on the orange-netted peanut feeder.
Many people’s first experience of watching birds is in their garden. Put up a bird table or a nest box and you enter the world of Robins, Blue Tits and Starlings. It is fascinating to see the daily comings and goings, each species having its own distinctive character and behaviour. Cheeky and acrobatic Great and Blue Tits on the feeders, chattering Sparrows in the bushes, Starlings arriving in a noisy gang, while a Dunnock quietly feeds, unconcerned on the ground.
The cast of characters will change with seasons and the weather. Summer finds Robins, tits and Blackbirds nesting and Swifts screaming around the roof tops, by autumn the Swallows are heading south while finches and tits are forming mixed roving flocks. Winter is often the best time for garden birdwatching, short days mean the birds are very actively feeding and a bit of ice and snow may bring in a rarity such as a Redwing or Fieldfare, possibly even a Hawfinch. Spring and the woodpeckers are drumming and bird song reaches its peak and so the cycle begins again.
There is always something to keep a garden watcher interested.
Jardine Press 2018.
120 x 120mm, 46pp