Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Hungry Gap

The gales, rain and cold seem to have finally made way for what can I guess be described as less windy, less rainy and slightly warmer weather, at least here in the Midlands. I look forward to Spring each year as everything takes on a fresh look and with the leaves appearing on trees, I can enjoy more privacy in my garden as the hedges fill out and obscure the views of the houses behind.

Along with the greenery has come an abundance of flying insects, and any that enjoy a drop of blood seem to be feasting on me every time I venture out. I really am a Midge Magnet, though they also attract goldcrests, which are always a treat to see.

So with all the better weather, leaves, flowers, insects around, you'd perhaps be forgiven for thinking nature can now provide all the food needed for your garden birds, so no need to put anything out until winter returns... and that would be a mistake, judging by what I have seen of late.

If anything, the birds are consuming more food now than they did over the winter months, especially the house sparrows. I am fortunate to have a healthy population of these "little brown jobs" and they are constantly flying back and forth to the feeders.

The issue is, while everything looks fresh, green and full of life, in terms of actual naturally-available food for the birds, we are in something of a void or as some call it, the hungry gap.

And if you consider that as well as looking after themselves at the moment, a lot of our garden birds have hungry beaks to fill at their nests, the need for food is greater than ever.

From my observations, I can see that the general mixes of seed are most popular currently, perhaps because the number of sparrows around my feeders is such that other birds can't get a look in, though I have seen blue, great and coal tits darting in for a black sunflower seed or a heart. And the suet balls seem to have at least one sparrow attached to them at all times. They were also attracting blackcaps a couple of weeks back too, though never when I had a camera at hand. And of course robins battle their way to the feeders, preferring the seed trays to the hanging feeders generally.

There are of course numerous online articles covering this subject in far greater scientific detail than my musings, but one of the best I have seen is here at Vine House Farm on their blog. Might have to try some sultanas actually... for the birds, not for me. As a child I remember always being disappointed to discover that the dark blobs in a cup cake were actually sultanas and not chocolate chips!

I am also about to get some live meal worms, (definitely not for cakes) as despite spending my lunchbreaks poking around in the shrubs and bushes of my garden, I am yet to find any caterpillars out there, which are definitely a favourite of tits to feed to their nestlings.



I'm sure most readers of my blog are aware of the message about feeding birds all year round, but for any that aren't, please consider this time of year; winter is over, and while summer is round the corner, natural food is actually scarce for wildlife, and we really need to continue to feed the birds.

1 comment:

Antonio Puig Garcias said...

Hola Pete´s,umas imagenes magnificas.Un saludo