Winter Garden Birds in my Patch

Wildlife Kate

As we move into November and the natural food that is available, lessens then the numbers of birds visiting my feeders starts to pick up. I love it when numbers rise and, whenever I look at the feeders, they are full of visitors.

If you have logged into my cameras in the last few months, you should be lucky enough to see a good selection of ‘regulars’ attracted to the garden by the food I provide. My staples are black sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts, which I mix together in a variety of seed feeders. I also use the CJ high energy-no mess mix in the seed feeders and on the bird table. I then feed a variety of fat products. The most popular is the large CJ peanut cake tubes, but they also love the peanut cake squares. The suet pellets are a favourite as well, especially in the mammal box!

Birds are what really initiated my love of natural history as a child and I have had a bird table for as long as I can remember. My early diaries are filled with sketches and descriptions of visitors to my SE London bird table. I have fed the birds ever since, even in rather dingy student accommodation in the very centre of Derby!

Birds have also provided me with opportunities for photography. I have spent many hours with my camera in the garden and I love nothing more than setting up some perches and photographing and documenting some of the many visitors I get.

Keep a close eye on the live cameras and you should certainly see these visitors on a daily basis. Here are some of the many images I have captured here in my patch over the last few years.

Robin - One of the commonest visitor, I have at least 3 pairs in the garden and they regularly nest here too. You’ll see them on all the feeder cams. The pink suet pellets are one of their favourite.

Blackbird - The blackbirds love the fat bars and suet pellets and will also visit the bird table. They are big fans of old apples and I have placed some out on the fox cam at the moment, with lots of blackbirds taking advantage. The males are distinctive with their bright yellow eye ring and beak. The females are a duller brown colouration.

Nuthatch - I am lucky enough to get nuthatches visiting the garden regularly as I am in quite a rural location. Watch for them loading their beaks with sunflower seeds and flying off with them, to stash them in crevices in trees.

Tits - I get blue tits, great tits, coal tits and long-tailed tits visiting on a daily basis. They love the sunflower seeds, but also the fat products. The long-tailed tits will swarm around the fat bars and they are one of my all time favourite visitors.

Finches - Throughout the year, you will see greenfinch, goldfinch and chaffinch. At certain times of the year, you may also get the see the stunning bullfinch. These particularly handsome finches love the sunflower hearts, whilst the others will eat all of the seed based mixes.

Great spotted woodpecker - If you watch the cameras for any length of time, I would almost guarantee a visit from a woodpecker. Both males (with the red nape) and females visit and they always head to the fat products first. I have seen them eating the sunflower seeds, but it is definitely the fat bars that draw them into feed here.

Black-cap - In the winter, I am often treated to blackcap visiting. The male is distinctive with his black crown and the female is just as beautiful, with her russet red crown. They love apples and also the fat bars. They are quite an aggressive visitor, unwilling to share the food and often chasing off other species.

I am always looking out for more unusual visitors in the winter months. In the past I have had redpoll, siskin and brambling visiting. If you do see something interesting on the feeder, please let us know via my website or via the CJ website or our Facebook pages. If you can, make a note of the time. I can then look back through the recorded footage and upload the clip so everyone can see. Let’s hope we get some of these rarer visitors in the coming months.