Just a few days after Christmas we put food out for the birds and were rewarded far more than is usual. A flock of about 20 house sparrows arrived. At one point five were trying to bathe in a bowl of water at the same time, whilst another dozen kept up a constant chatter from dead stems of a nearby sedum, and another bunch pecked at seeds and crumbs at the foot of the bird table as well as the scraps of fat balls tumbling from another three working at the fat ball feeder so that it swung wildly from side to side. I went to get the camera – and when I got back they had gone, along with the pair of collared doves on the bird-table and the five blackbirds.
But a couple of days ago we had six blackbirds in the garden – a dominant female actively driving away any that ventured close to the scattered crumbs beneath the bird table. She was bigger than all three males, but one tried again and again to hop casually up to the crumbs (often seeming to look the other way as he did so), but she bounded out of the shrubbery to see him off nearly every time. His only edge was that he could summon up courage to land on the bird table (blackbirds are rarely seen on the table in our garden – it might be the roof, or just the very exposed situation that puts them off). He could feed from there, but it was always in and out grabbing a big crumb. She never chased him from the table, barely seeming aware of its existence 6 feet over her head, instead he ran out of discomfort from the situation. Managed to photograph two blackbirds at the foot of the birdtable whilst the big female was chasing away the third:
That was the 4th January, but its a nearly daily pattern. The sparrows returned as well, but all I managed to get was a shot through the upstairs (dirty) window glass of 6 sparrows and two starlings (a new species this year for our garden).
Just in case you think that is a poor range of species I should add that the usual magpies, wood pigeons, blue tits and resident robin and wren were also present some of the time – but why should you believe what I cannot show photographic evidence of?