Saturday, October 27, 2007

Feed the Birds

I have a passion for wildlife. Its not based on the wet sentimentality that underpins modern man's attitudes. What I care about is what delivers overall benefit to the wild creatures we share our world with. That's why I enthusiastically support hunting foxes, fishing, pheasant shooting, deer stalking, culling grey squirrels etc. - even though I haven't been involved in any of these pastimes for more than 40 years. It's also why I have become involved with the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. And its why I'm so horrified when I read about the projections of population increase for the UK over the next few years - which is devastatingly bleak news for our wildlife. Man is as blind as he is selfish.

Anyway I was pleased to see the RSPB launch its Homes for Wildlife scheme this week, advising us all to leave untidy patches in our gardens, particularly areas of long unkempt grass. The immaculate garden is bad news for birds, grubs, frogs snakes etc.. So next time you are under pressure from the spouse to stop watching the football and do something useful like tidy up the garden, just say that you have developed a passion for wildlife!

This week Mrs D put up all the bird feeders - a bit later than usual. I noted that the bill for peanuts, mixed seeds, fatballs, etc. was over £250. But its worth it. I never tire of watching the power eating of the nuthatches and greater spotteds - and we await the first visit from the little flock of long tailed tits that always pop in from time to time. Mrs D is hoping that siskins will return this year - there has already been a much greater influx of all the finches (including siskin) than usual into Southern England. There have also been Bewick swans, fieldfares and pink footed geese arriving much earlier than usual. All sure signs of a hard winter - so stop tidying and start feeding.


Ordovicius said...

Pity UK houses aren't user-friendly for swallows anymore. When I lived in the Spanish country side -which remains swallow-friendly in terms of architecture- there were fiew avian sights as impressive as a swarm of swallows twisting and writhing at incredible speeds. I'm surprised nobody here seems to have thought about building swallow-friendly facilities and positioning them at strategic locations. All you'd need is some simple form of framework of a certain height. I'm sure it could be done tastefully and at a low cost.

Glyn Davies said...

All we need to do is get rid of all these garage doors. Again its the obsession with tidyness that does the harm. Our swallows have open sheds to nest in. The only time you wll see 'swarms' here is when they are gathering on telephone wires in preparation for the flight to winter quarters. Swifts have the same trouble with nesting sites and depend on our churches. No problems for martins at all, because they just build under the eaves.