The garden spectacle this week has been the two fledgling sparrows that have left the nest in next-door-but-one’s roof to flit and flutter to our back gate where they can perch, and cheep and flutter their stubby wings in the hope that their parents – or any passing sparrow for that matter – will feed them. There must be hope they will live, now they have spent two days out of the nest!
Here is one of them watching intently as his mother (or is it his aunt?) pecks at the fat balls over the gate. The fact that he was fed did not prevent him starting to call again as soon as he’d finished swallowing.
Although the adults are very tolerant of humans moving about the garden we share with them, Chico took off as soon as the back door opened. Three metres’ flight to the washing line, where he could not get a grip, turned base over apex before achieving enough co-ordination to crash into the holly bush.
The two chicks were soon back on the gate, ‘Please Sir (or Madam) I want some more!
Imagine working out for the first time that these are individual birds!
Mrs Blackbird with nesting material
Seeing the world through new eyes: what a blessing!
Our grandson is a year old. Twelve months ago he could not focus at a distance, so a great deal of what goes on around us he is seeing for the first time. That index finger is forever pointing at something interesting; today the birds. Sparrows in next-door’s roof, arguing the toss in great excitement; starlings in family parties, descending on our tree, never silent; the cock blackbird, hidden by the leaves, but even louder in his song – or his warning notes – than the others. Louder still, the herring gulls circle, often calling though sometimes silent; magpies and pigeons stalking the playing field, but best of all a jackdaw, who leaves his group and walks beside the buggy for a good few yards, no more than five metres away, bright eye locked onto bright eye. Bird! Bird!
My brother’s home is an old timber-framed hall house, rescued by him and his wife from impending ruin but now comfortable for humans, cats and bats. This year a new species moved in.
The space between the timbers is filled with painted fibrous panels, a number of which have had neat round holes drilled into the top right-hand corner – always the top right-hand corner – by woodpeckers. Just one hole is occupied.
Adaptable woodpeckers! I foresee starlings and sparrows occupying the spare holes if their requirements are less stringent than Mrs Woodpecker’s. Will my brother and sister-in-law get any morning lie-in if that happens?
I saw several sparrows splashing in a puddle on Valentine’s Day. It may have been too damp for a dust bath, but not too cold for a puddle bath.
Before long we’ll be watching for frog spawn in the garden pond, putting a good amount out of the reach of frost and rearing some tadpoles away from the predatory blackbirds who know an easy meal when they see one.