Discover more from Casual Birder Weekly
My garden birds this week |
Tip of the week: Listen to the Dawn Chorus |
Podcast recommendation: Radio Lento |
Review a podcast on Podchaser |
Latest episode: #95 Week 6 - Lockdown Birdwatching Diaries |
Suzy’s Bird Notes
My garden birds
Blue Tits and Rooks have dominated my garden observations this week.
The Blue Tit pair (Spot and its partner - I still don't know if Spot is the male) have been very active at the nest box, and today I saw one of them arrive at the nestbox with a bunch of hair - possibly from someone's pet! I haven't checked the nest cam today so don't know if any eggs have been laid yet.
Unfortunately, Rooksy (my Rook friend) has not made an appearance this week. Or maybe it has, but it is not doing the usual behaviours so I can't tell it apart from the other Rooks. I hope it, and its chicks, are doing well.
Plenty of other Rooks have been visiting, including the ones I have named:
Crossbill Rook (which has a misaligned bill that crosses slightly at the tip),
Parrot Rook (which has a broken lower mandible and overgrown upper mandible) and
Righty Rook (which can only use its right foot, the left foot having been damaged in some way).
All of these individuals seem to manage quite well, and Parrot Rook is quite assertive in getting what it wants. I guess these characteristics have helped them survive.
I have continued to put out soaked dried mealworms for the garden birds, and yesterday the live mealworms arrived. So now I have to look after them as well, before feeding them to the birds!
I put the live mealworms out in a see-through container that has a perch. Unfortunately, the birds don't yet know how to get into that feeder (they keep trying to get the mealworms from the sides) so I have now put out some old (cleaned) moisturiser pots as well. The problem with those is that the tops are open, so as soon as the Rooks find them, all the mealworms will be gone! (And, in fact, while I was writing this, a Rook found the pot in the back of the photograph and ate all of the mealworms!)
If you feed live mealworms to your garden birds, what top tips do you have for me?
Thank you to everyone that participated in my Birthday birdwatch.
I spent the whole morning in my garden, from before dawn until around 12:30. Then I spent a couple of hours reviewing and editing the photos and videos I had taken, before going out for an evening walk at Bull’s Bushes Copse (the same place I recorded this week’s episode).
During my day in the garden I saw and heard 10 species, and on the walk, I added another 10 species!
When we got home, as we were unpacking the car, we had a lovely surprise: A Peregrine Falcon flew over! I had possibly seen one a few days earlier, and we know there is a pair nesting in our town centre about 2 miles away, so it wasn’t a complete fluke. We saw enough of the bird shape and flight behaviour to be sure, although I would have liked to see its masked face too. But it was a new species for my garden list and a lovely way to end my birthday birdwatching day.
I received lots of birdwatch lists from the people who joined me virtually, and I’ll be making a special podcast episode about the day. Look out for that!
A closer look at birds
In the third week of the Bird Identification course (created by Christa of the Birding Tools podcast), I have been learning about the colours and markings of bird plumage.
This course is making me think much more deeply about what I see when I look at a bird! Did you know that there are 6 main types of feather markings: streaked, barred, spotted, edged, notched, and vermiculated?
I had never really considered how plumage patterns (like streaking) are created by the markings of individual feathers.
Here are a couple of feathers I picked up in my garden last year. I guess both would be termed ‘spotted’.
Further information on feathers can be found here:
Tip of the week: Listening to the Dawn Chorus
If the birds wake you up with their early morning singing, take a moment to really listen to the different songs and see if you can identify the individual species.
In my neighbourhood, the Blackbird is always the most vocal, but often a Wren and Robin can be heard in the chorus.
Do you notice whether different birds join in earlier or later in the Chorus?
Where have I been? Part I
I Like the Sound podcast - Episode 13 Rhythm and Randomness Thanks to Frank Burton for including me in his latest episode.
Where have I been? Part II
I was very pleased to hear my podcast given a shout out on the latest episode of Podcast Radio Hour on BBC4Extra. The Sound of Spring recommends podcasts exploring British wildlife and features interviews with Dr Mya-Rose Craig of the Get Birding podcast, and Penny Green from the Knepp Estate. The Casual Birder Podcast was one of the additional recommended shows!
Podcast recommendation - Radio Lento
Radio Lento is a beautiful, immersive podcast that presents 45 minutes of natural sounds, from a Dawn Chorus to leaves whispering in the wind. Best listened to with headphones, this podcast is great for listening while working, while meditating or just for pure pleasure.
Review a podcast!
You don’t have to review mine, but please review some of the podcasts you listen to this month.
For every review left in April on Podchaser, they will donate 25 cents to Meals on Wheels. If the podcaster replies, Podchaser will double the amount donated.
So leave a review (for an episode or an entire show), share it on social media tagging the show, and feel good that you have helped cheer up a podcaster (we love to hear that people have enjoyed our shows).
The Casual Birder Podcast
#95 Week 6 - Lockdown Birdwatching Diaries
Suzy shares the sixth of her audio diaries documenting the birds seen in her neighbourhood. Covering the period 9th to 15th February, 2021. We also find out what birds listeners were seeing.
Past episode suggestion:
#76 Birthday Breakfast Birdwatch
In 2020, Suzy treated herself to a day of birdwatching in her garden (due to Lockdown). Listen to her #BreakfastBirdwatch and hear about the recent bird sightings from listeners around the world.
Visit my website for photos, blogs, and episode transcripts
Keep in touch
I love to hear about your bird sightings and experiences. You can send me a voice or written message here:
Support the show
Thank you all for listening to the show. You can support it further by buying me a virtual coffee.
You can also use my Amazon Affiliate link to buy feeders, bird food, and other items.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, so if you choose to buy those products through my link, I will get a small payment, at no cost to you. I will be adding products in the coming weeks, and hope to also select products that can be bought in other countries.
If you enjoyed this newsletter, share it with a friend!