Spring is Springing

We haven’t had a garden bird update for a while.  The garden is probably most colourful at this time of year because I went a bit daft planting bulbs.  In particular, there are some beautiful pale pink and green tulips out at the front.

Birds-eye view of the tulips.

The wild flower bit of the garden (i.e. the bit where R accuses me of buying weeds for) has shot up recently – most of the plants are in for their second year so are spreading and competing nicely for space.  This is also the bit around the bottom of the bird feeder.  If you look closely you can spot our female blackbird hopping around in the photo below.  Her nest is about 3 metres from the bird feeder and she usually greets us as we leave the house each morning to beg for food.  She is becoming very good at the ‘poor hungry birdie’ act to get more food (dried meal worms) at other times of day.  We came home from work one day last week to find her sat in the middle of a path, having unearthed all of the soil at the edges of the path and generally having made a right old mess.

As she’s sitting on the nest, we don’t really mind putting out the extra food, and she does seem to devour it.  This photo was taken about 30 minutes after she ate the best part of a handful of dried meal worms.

You may just be able to see in this photo the other problem caused by the Blackbird family.  Papa blackbird has discovered that our car is a really nice place to sit and survey his kingdom.  Unfortunately he often leaves a trail of muddy footprints over the roof of the car, usually right after R has cleaned it!  The prints start just below the Suzuki bar.  He didn’t do this with the old car – perhaps because it wasn’t quite as high as the new one.  The old car was a vantage point for the Robin who doesn’t seem to like this one as much. During the winter, the sparrows (three families: the Browns, the Cleggs and the Camerons) spent quite a bit of time pecking the tires of the car – perhaps to get salt?

Anyway, the baby blackbirds will probably hatch sometime in the next few weeks, the nest is not in the most sensible place to be honest, but it is close to Mama blackbirds favourite source of food!

One final public service announcement about dandelions.  Most people consider them a weed but they’re a really important source of early pollen for  bees, particularly emerging queen bumblebees.  If you’ve got some dandelions, consider leaving them to flower then cutting the head off before the seed clock forms – you’ll be giving the bees a better chance.  We found an exhausted and hungry bumblebee (probably a queen) wandering around the garden this afternoon so I put her on some dandelions and she started feeding straight away.  I think the dandelions are quite pretty as well, but they are widely considered an irritating weed, particularly due to the long tap root.