May 2016 - Wild About Birds 

Male siskin 31st March 2016 - photo with thanks to Dominic Gwilliam-Bell


It is April, and today was sunny and relatively warm, with little wind, and I watched a number of queen bees, recently emerged from hibernation, flying and taking the opportunity to collect pollen and nectar from early flowering plants. A few days ago our television watching was disturbed when, our dog Max, found a queen hornet walking on the lounge carpet. I managed to remove it quickly before he stomped on it with his paws, thinking it was a play thing.

The first Sunday in April, I found our dog, Ben, in the garden standing guard over two feathery scraps on the ground. He looked at me, wagged his tail, looked at the scraps on the ground again and just waited. I went to see what they were, and was astonished to find two gold crests, a male and a female, gasping for breath. They must have both flown into the window, and knocked themselves out. I hurriedly took them away from Ben, and put them in a cage covered with a towel, hoping against all odds that they would recover.  An hour later I gingerly removed the towel, and to my delight found both recovered and flying round the cage. Once released they flew happily away. I had never knowingly seen a gold crest before and was delighted to have such a happy ending of what could have been a disaster.

For a number of weeks now Dominic Gwilliam-Bell's garden has had several siskins in his garden, feeding on the niger seed and sunflower hearts he puts out for the wild birds. Siskins are delicate little finches; the male is a pale yellow/green with streaked back, black cap and bib, bright greenish dace and breast, with some black streaky markings towards the belly; the female is greyer, less yellow, and paler yellow bar on the wing. Normally after spring they fly off back to the woodlands where they feed in the tree tops. Photos of male and female siskins have been included in the Wild about Bawburgh Photo Gallery. Thanks Dom.

Jenny Press has had her own  'bird experience' in her garden this April. She watched a full blown beak and claw fight between two male blackbirds. Blackbirds get very territorial at this time of year, and one of the blackbirds seemed to be a seasoned fighter. The other had no chance. Photos of this fight, difficult to take due to high action, are also included in the Wild about Bawburgh Photo Gallery. Thanks Jenny.

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