The RSPB big garden bird watch weekend co-incided with the ivy berries ripening, so there has been an acrobatic feeding frenzy on the old wall at the bottom of the garden. Most of the birds have feasted on the berries, two wood pigeons have spent several dedicated hours a day to hoovering up the berries and even the squirrels have been spotted dangling by one foot trying to reach some unstripped bunches.
I lost a couple of days to fever during the worst of the lurgy. Having the flu when you’re already ill is a little harsh, so I hope that’s it for the season. Fortunately even from bed there was a bit of blue sky visible, some sunbeams, and a garden full of birds feeding and singing, with squirrels taking turns to peer in through the closed window. It’s gone quiet now that its icy dusk.
My tally for the RSPB birds (and others) survey is:
0 crows (could only hear them)
0 sparrow hawks (fed in a neighbour’s garden this weekend)
2 wood pigeons
2 collared doves
5 feral pigeons
1 pair of blackbirds
1 song thrush
1 pair of magpies
12 house sparrows
1 coal tit
3 great tits
8 blue tits
7 female grey squirrels (including Raspberry)
1 black cat
And that cat did her persistent best to reduce the number of live garden bird sightings throughout the weekend. No collar, no bell, invisible in shadows, and her favourite pastime is maiming birds then leaving them to slowly die. She doesn’t seem to eat them or play with them or take them home to her owner as gifts.
She’s a beautiful cat and very friendly with humans. I love the company of cats, and of course on a farm keen hunters like this one are the best for protecting the chooks and catching mice, but in an urban wildlife area where birds are being encouraged to feed and breed this particular cat can be a bit of a liability. If her most casual average is only 3 kills a day, that’s 21 kills a week, 84 kills a month, 1008 kills a year. But someone loves her, and she might be their favourite person in the world.