By Joyce Wright, Moixent
I can’t remember when I first became interested in the birds in the garden. It seems as if I have been putting food out for them forever. Over the years we have seen some interesting ‘garden feeders’ depending on where we lived of course. Our last home before coming to Spain was in Cornwall. We had a pleasant garden that backed on to a wooded slope. This provided a lot of cover for the many birds that visited my bird feeders. The usual garden birds came on a regular basis, then one year we had a male Pheasant who used to strut his stuff under the feeders. But best (?) of all was the grey squirrel who discovered us fairly early on. When he was around the birds were not!
I had seen in a magazine an advert for a squirrel feeder. Very smart. A box with a clear front, a ledge for sitting on and a hinged lid for instant access to the peanuts. It was also quite expensive so I asked Peter, who is a dab hand at woodwork, if he would make me one. Sure enough a couple of days later there was my new feeder. We filled it with peanuts and situated it on the tree where one of the feeders had been. Now I guess you have all seen that wonderful film of the grey squirrel who performs a cross garden assault course to get to a supply of peanuts? Good eh? Trust me, our squirrel did not share the same gene pool. He duly arrived, looked the box over, sat on the ledge and proceeded to gnaw a large hole in the side of the box until the peanuts fell on the floor!
The other character was one of the starlings who thought he was a cross between a kestrel and a humming bird. While his fellow flock were busy squabbling on the floor and bird table, he would do his impression of said birds by attempting to hover and get a peanut from the feeder. I often thought he used more energy in his attempts to get the peanut, than the actual peanut would provide.
However to Spain …
When we left Cornwall I made sure all my bird feeders were packed for later use, which was just as well as bird feeders here are pretty thin on the ground! Anyway, we settled into our pine tree wooded mountain top casa nearly five years ago. Plenty of birds flying around, but would they know what a peanut feeder was? I doubted it, however, after putting the pole up and hanging just one feeder I was delighted four days later to see a Great Tit happily pecking away. Would he tell his friends? Well yes, in no time at all we had several Great Tits and a pair of Crested Tits (last seen in Scotland). We quickly installed the other pole with seed feeder, coconut halves etc.
The birds that now visit our garden on a regular basis are as follows:-
Great Tits, Coal tits, Crested Tits, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Robin, Dunnock, Siskin, Black Redstart. I have also regularly seenBlackbird, Pied Wagtail, Crossbill, Thrush, Long tailed Tit passing through, Starling, House Martin and last year we had a resident Spotted Flycatcher.The last of these not near the nuts of course. Beautiful to watch but no characters yet, although the Sparrows have learnt to feed upside down on the peanut feeders! No doubt there are other birds around and last summer we fleetingly had a Jay in the garden. Eagles can regularly be seen on a good day, I think they are Booted Eagles but I need ’expert’ eyes.