We like birds.
We have a lot flying over and visiting the garden. We hear owls in the park - and the (not very good) photo above is of a kestrel in the main park in January 2016. We get a fair number of sparrowhawks, judging by the mess they leave behind after their lunches.
There are some nests in the native hedge - the park contractors are not allowed to cut the hedge between early March to the end of August to prevent birds being disturbed.
4 November 2016: a grey wagtail visited the new pond decking and a woodcock flew over the park (Guy was very excited).
The Bird Cafe
In January 2016 and 2017, we set up a Bird Cafe, along one of the tarmac paths next to the hedge and overhanging trees.
Thanks to Folma, Jake, Richard, Tim, Jenny and Mick for patience, time and resources!
Bird surveying and watching
On 30 January 2016, we did an RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - from 8.15 to 9.15 am, when the birds are awake and some of the birdwatchers were. The birds counted were:
- Blackbird x 2; Blue tit x 3; Chaffinch x 2; Coal tit x 0; Collared dove x 1; Dunnock x 2; Goldfinch x 2; Great tit x 1; Greenfinch x 4; House sparrow x 0; Long-tailed tit x 5; Magpie x 1; Robin x 3; Starling x 0; Woodpigeon x 5.
We also saw a green woodpecker fly over the garden, fly back, settle in the main green area for a quick breakfast and then fly back over a hedge. And an upside-down squirrel dangling for some peanuts in the feeder.
On 29 January 2017 we repeated this (in much colder weather): 8.20 to 9.20 am:
- The final count, which is the maximum number of birds at any one time [plus ones not on the RSPB list]: Blackbird: 1; [Black-headed gull: 5]; Blue tit: 3; Chaffinch: 2; Coal tit: 1; Collared dove: 2; [Crow: 1]; Dunnock: 2; Goldfinch: 0; Great tit: 1; Greenfinch: 4; House sparrow: 0; [Jackdaws: 3]; Long tailed tit: 2; Magpie: 4; Robin: 2; Starling: 0; Woodpigeon: 2. Plus a squirrel and a black and white cat.
Encouraging birds in the garden
In addition to our Bird Cafe, there are lots of things we have done/can do to make the garden bird-friendly:
- In Spring 2015, we planted a new native hedge.
- In Autumn 2016, we created a nature pond, which is good for birds to drink and wash - and it supports the insects, slugs and snails some of them like to dine on.
- We can thicken up the existing native hedge and make it 'A' shaped so it supports more nesting. Someone counted five nests in the hedge.
- We can plant for bird food and to support the insects they like to eat.
- We can provide more of the ant-friendly grassland for green woodpeckers.
- We could think about providing some bird boxes, which need to be made from untreated wood, placed in the shade or between North-East to South-East. Open-fronted boxes for birds like robins need to be placed in vegetation below 2m.
See the new Cambridge Wild webpage for useful links.
Last updated: 1 February 2017