Friday, 12 June 2009

The Early Bird

I have all the windows open to the fresh air this morning and the sounds of birdlife are all around. Somewhere amongst the buttercup-filled pastures to the west, curlews are calling; their haunting, falling call one of the great pleasures of an upland spring. And occasionally too, I hear the faint piping of an oystercatcher in the opposite direction towards the River Rede. Earlier, a linnet sat on the sunny ridge of a neighbour’s roof; its breast so puffed up in song that it looked exactly as if it were wearing a Pickwickian-red waistcoat, two or three sizes too small. In the garden, coal and blue tits, siskins and a solitary female redpoll, a nuthatch and a great spotted woodpecker, chaffinches and goldfinches are visiting the feeders and bird table, flitting hurriedly in and out again with food for young which I think I can sometimes hear nearby but can never see through the mass of leaves which now cover the poplars. And then, into the midst of this harmony, a jackdaw elbows in, frightening away all the small birds to tension-filled waiting areas in the surrounding trees before casually stepping onto the peanut feeder and breakfasting on the nuts.

I don’t suppose this behaviour is based on anything other than opportunism; the jackdaw sees the chance of an easy meal and takes it. And for all their strutting style, I still prefer jackdaws to starlings; I just wish they would go and feed somewhere else!

The Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) on the peanut feeder

8 comments:

Midmarsh John said...

Love the header photo of the deer, Emma. I'm with you on the subject of Jackdaws and Starlings. I know which I would rather have. I have up to six Jackdaws as regulars and I put seed on the lawn which they usually go for. When they visit a hanging feeder all that flapping certainly does scatter the smaller birds but at least they don't squabble and shriek all the time!

holdingmoments said...

Sounds so idyllic with your description Emma.
I love the way Jackdaws swagger along.

Roy said...

Lovely new header Emma.

Les said...

Like the header pic, and the jackdaw is great too.

Gary said...

But that vivid black is pretty attractive don't you think? Boom & gary of The Vermilon River.

Springman said...

The promise of spring sure sounds good right now. Your Jackdaw sounds like a pushy little bugger and as you say much like the Starling who seems able to bully themselves into any situation. I was fortunate to get a couple of pictures of a Starling during the morning golden hour today and this "nasty" little bird lit up beautifully. So some days, I think, we just take what we can get!

Larry said...

Beautiful shot of the Jackdaw Emma. That looks like a rather large bird and it is obviously taking ownership of that feeder!

Jean said...

I'm not familiar with the Jackdaw. Thanks for sharing the photo and your Spring morning. I guess we all have at least one bird that will bully other birds and take over the feeders.