Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday's spotlight - "LINCOLN'S BIRDLAND (with apologies to Ruth and John's "Birdland")"

By guest blogger Pete.

I thought that this Sunday I'd introduce you to some of our garden visitors at Birdland, Lincoln. I don't have photos of many of them but I'll include the ones I took, during our recent cold spell, with this blog.

One of our favourites - and a regular daily visitor - is LEFTY. Now Lefty is a very handsome dove. He's not the only dove we see but we can recognise him quite easily because some year or so ago he broke a leg (his left one, incidentally!). He keeps going despite this handicap and flies just as well as his companions although he is no where near as mobile as they are when on the ground.

We have lots of blackbirds come to our garden and they really entertain us. They all seem to be acrobats - even though we do see the odd stumble now and again. They absolutely love apples. We attach the apples to one of the trees in the garden and there their acrobatic expertise is soon seen. If eating two apples a day will keep the sparrow hawk away then they can do that in a morning!

Our favourite blackie was a character we called MERLOT. For some reason, Merlot had some white feathers on his head and so was easy to identify. It's months now since we last saw him so we don't know if he's gone to that great apple tree in the sky or just shed his few white feathers.

The blackbirds are real characters. There's another we call BILLY ELLIOTT. We name him after the lead in the film of the same name where Billy was a male teenager interested in becoming a ballet dancer. Our Billy lands on the roof of our conservatory and then with a series of "thump, thump, thumps" hops across the roof to the edge and from there down onto the feeding shelf. With the frost and ice we have been having lately he's found it rather difficult to land and so we have been getting a "sluuuuuuuuuuush" as he slides to a halt rather than the accustomed "thump, thump, thump.".

MRS BULLY is probably the silliest backbird visitor we get. Whenever we put food out in the morning she is soon there and stands guard over it to keep the other blackbirds away. She doesn't attempt to deter the other birds - only the blackbirds. Nor does she ever think of eating any of the food we put out for the birds. The other blackbirds have got her summed up, though. One or two of them will make a diversionary flight in to draw her away from the shelf. Once that is achieved other blackies will swoop down for a quick bite or two before Mrs Bully returns to send them on their way. Yes! You've guessed it. Whilst she is busy seeing off the ones who have started their breakfast down come the others for a quick snack. So it goes on.

We also have a bully pigeon, who is definitely number one amongst his fellow pigeons. We call him HOOVER. Now, as you probably know, a Hoover is a vacuum cleaner and that is Hoover's approach to peanuts. He starts at one end of the shelf and in record time he cleans up every peanut in sight.

There are many other varieties of birds who come to visit us. It took us some time to attract the goldfinches. We used thistle seed to do this and eventually succeeded. When Ruth was here last week she didn't believe they were gold finches and it took the authority of a "British Birds" book to persuade her otherwise. It appears that the U.S. variety of gold finch is all yellow and looks more like a canary than anything else. The U.K. variety is much more attractive - even though I may be just that little bit biased.

Watch the birds. They really are worth watching and they will keep you amused as well.


supersweetsilver said...

I really liked this post. Hearing about the different birds and the personalities and characteristics that you observe in them is really amazing. I especially liked Hoover! lol.

Ruth said...

And you should see Hoover in action! Quite impressive I can tell you!!! :-D

PeterB said...

Thanks for the comment, Supersweetsilver. Ruth doesn't exaggerate. Hoover is the largest pigeon in Lincolnshire!