The Big Garden Bird Disappearing Act

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by Clarky, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    Every morning we have breakfast looking out at the garden and the bird feeders. It's always manic with the birds queuing up and bickering to get to the feeders.
    This morning we took part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, as we have done for years, and yet again there wasn't a bird to be seen.
    It happens every year, more birds than you can count for weeks before but when you come to count the little bu***rs they disappear.
    Do they know what's going on?
    Is there a neighbour pinching 'my' birds?

    There be strange goings-on in the countryside there be!

    Richard.
     
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  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Just been feeding some hedgesparrows in Spain, lots of them. When I was a kid our gardens were full of these little birds, we're lucky to see one or two in the wilds of Wales.
     
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  3. Tootles

    Tootles Funster

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    And yet our garden bird numbers seem to be increasing. More sparrows, more Dunnock's, more blue and great tits. Yesterday they were going full tilt in the hedgerow behind the house.
     
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  4. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Yes we have lots of birds, and LOTS of hedges, but just one or two visits by hedgesparrows.
     
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  5. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    This morning after Jackie had filled the feeders one of the boxes of feed was so near empty that she tipped it on the ground. The influx of Greenfinch was immediate, more than 20 on the ground with at least eight on the feeders.

    The Blue-tits and Coal-tits we started out with don't get a look in. Only the occasional Gold Finch, I have now spotted my first ever Hawfinch and another first for me two Firecrests.


    I haven't seen a sparrow yet this year...

    I can spend hours watching them.
     
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  6. Tootles

    Tootles Funster

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    And yet we have noticed a marked increase in our sparrow numbers over the last three years mate. Maybe it's a regional thing?? o_O
     
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  7. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    We used to have lots of Green Finches but there is a nasty disease which has decimated their numbers. We had one or two sparrows but now have a 'sparrow gang' who live in the hedge and spend most of their time squabbling and chattering, much to our delight.

    Richard.
     
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  8. Bertie Bassett

    Bertie Bassett Read Only Funster

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    Sorry if this post comes across as pedantic. Hedge sparrows are Dunnocks which are 'fairly' common. House Sparrows are now in decline, but Tree Sparrows which is what I believe Jim is talking about are almost extinct here in Wales. We have Siskins and Lesser Redpolls and a host of other garden species but we have never seen a Tree Sparrow in our garden. In Spain they remain common......
     
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  9. Bertie Bassett

    Bertie Bassett Read Only Funster

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    House Sparrows I think Toots, though there is a good colony of the rare sparrow.....Tree Sparrow at Leighton Moss which isn't a million miles from you(y)
     
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  10. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    The BGB "instructions" say to start by feeding the birds... I reckon a lot of people who don't NORMALLY put food out, just do on BGB days so yup, maybe the neighbours have been and pinched your birds :mad:

    We don't feed the birds, but we do 'garden' in a way that keeps them happy (willful neglect!) and we always have water available for them to drink & bathe.

    I had a cat wander through the garden halfway through my watch yesterday morning so I started again later: robin, magpie, dunnock, wren, blackbird, thrush, pigeon, blue-tit, great-tit, longtailed-tit, chaffinch & goldfinch... Did quite well! We used to get a few starlings here but none these days. We'd get a big flock of greenfinches in the trees but they are now rare. We do get coal-tits but none around at the moment.
     
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  11. Tootles

    Tootles Funster

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    Didn't know that, so it must be the increase in 'house' sparrows I'm seeing, (the ones I remember as a kid).
     
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  12. Bertie Bassett

    Bertie Bassett Read Only Funster

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    Yes I agree, Greenfinches have declined for all sorts of reasons but the finch disease has decimated them here in Wales and where I work in Hampshire. Doesn't seem to affect Goldfinches though? Strange.
     
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  13. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    House sparrows are the ones that spend their lives scrapping ans squabbling... :D
     
  14. Tootles

    Tootles Funster

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    A lot of controversy about this in our area. Since the local authority cutbacks, no sewer baiting is taking place, hence a visible increase in the numbers of rats. Feeding birds increases rat sightings, and so people are cutting back on bird food, and feeding.
     
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  15. Bertie Bassett

    Bertie Bassett Read Only Funster

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    Hawfinch in the garden...magic. They are so rare now. When we lived in Germany they were a common garden bird but we've only ever seen them twice here in UK. Brilliant and good news about your greenfinches(y)
     
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  16. DBK

    DBK Funster

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    I'm not sure if there is a collective noun for them so I will invent one - we are visited by a "hooligan" of goldfinches. They turn up mob handed, at least a dozen of them and often fifteen or so, and they make a determined effort to empty the feeder. They like sunflower hearts and now have their own feeder, the other one containing whole sunflower seeds which many of the other birds seem to prefer - as I learned on Spring Watch I think it was.
     
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  17. Clarky

    Clarky Funster

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    We have seen an increase in Gold Finches as the green variety has decreased as well.
    We usually have a little family of Long Tailed Tits that come bobbing by for a feed then go off to the next stop. They never stay long but you can hear them chattering away to each other as they go from bush to bush.
     
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  18. Tootles

    Tootles Funster

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    We are also seeing, (locally), an increase in Treecreepers, and Wrens. Maybe because of the decrease in forest management??????????o_O

    Oh, and family's of Bullfinches.
     
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  19. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Some great sightings, Firecrests brilliant still on my not yet seen list, we have had the massive decline in Greenfinches as well, mainly beacuase we took out all the leylandii conifers when we moved in and put in laurel hedges

    Our birds were equally absent today, but our claim were a pair of yellowhammer, not even on the list of birds, but neither was the goldcrest who didn't reappear :)
     
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  20. Bertie Bassett

    Bertie Bassett Read Only Funster

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    Scoff of preference for Goldies is Niger DBK, they go wild (swidt) for it and as a bonus niger also attracts Lesser Redpoll and Siskin.(y)
     
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