In 1952 Daphne du Maurier wrote a novelette called The Birds’about when birds decide that they’ve had quite enough of people and attack them en mass in a Cornish coastal town. The story was later adapted into a fantastic film by Alfred Hitchcock and is probably hovering near the top of some studio executives pile of films to make disappointing remakes of.
The first act of the film partially concerns an unusually large build up of birds in one small town, before the attacks begin. An observant person in Woolsery might have noticed a similar thing happening around the CFZ HQ in recent weeks, and I offer my sincere apologies in advance to the citizens of the village in advance should they start getting dive-bombed by swarms of blue tits.
The reason for this unnervingly large conglomeration of avians is that during the recent snows we felt sorry for our feathered friends and started to feed them a few little morsels to help them through the worst of the weather while they would be finding it difficult to forage for food. Naturally hand-outs of seeds, fat and bacon rind proved a hit with the local birds and despite the lack of Art Deco architecture ‘Le Cottage Myrtle’ became the in-place to be seen for sophisticated ‘Flappers’.
Because this small amount of food had attracted a nice selection of different species of birds it was then decided that we should put up bird feeders on a permanent basis, so we placed four large feeders hanging from the trees around the gardens. This was when all hell broke loose, as it were. Each week we are getting through two kilos of birdseed to feed our ever-growing list of garden visitors. I’m quite proud of the number of different species we’re attracting to the garden and the amounts: we have over 30 individuals of some of the smaller species that visit the garden.
At present (this week) our garden visitors appear to be:
-Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
-Willow tits (Poecile montanus)
-House sparrows (Passer domesticus)
-European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris)
-Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita)
-Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla)
-Robins (Erithacus rubecula)
-Blackbirds (Turdus merula)
-Turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur)
-Jackdaws (Corvus monedula)
-Tree creepers (Certhia familiaris)
None of the birds I’ve spotted in the garden since we started feeding have been especially rare, but some species that are visiting the CFZ grounds are getting rarer. Between 1980 and 2005 numbers of turtle doves declined by 62% and numbers of willow tits declined by 58% so by getting our garden birds through the winter we’ve done our small bit to help these species.