Spring 2014 is on the way and I want to see goldfinches eating nyjer seed again. So after a wet winter I have cleaned my bird feeders. I’ve only had a Nyjer Seed feeder for two years and have kept it out during both winters. I might not do that next winter since the rain soaks into them through the feeding holes and ruins the Nyjer seeds below the top perches of the feeder. Some start to grow, the rest rot and go mouldy. Any goldfinches that come along can’t eat the seed and in the end it’s just wasted. Above the perches it stays dry so it can be salvaged. In my case I separated the good seed and made sure it was dry by spreading it out on a dustpan in the sunshine.
I completely dismantled my feeders for mixed seed and nyjer seed and washed all the parts in soapy water and then reassembled them when dry.
Fieldfare – Turdus pilaris – a member of the thrush family.
When Fieldfares visited Alvaston Derby I was ready with my camera.
On 22nd January 2013 Fieldfares visited Alvaston Derby where I saw them. First I saw them in my garden and later in a tree overhanging my friend’s garden across the road in the same street. Of course I don’t know that they were the same pair of birds in both gardens.
Fieldfares migrate to England in winter from northern Europe but this was my first sighting of them. It was a bad winter with a fair amount of snow in early 2013 so I’m sure they came looking for food.
In my previous post “Freeview Aerial Direction” you may have noticed something unusual about my Yagi TV antenna/aerial. Yes, amongst the array of directors in front of the dipole and on the reflector at the back there are some Zip Ties (Cable Ties – often used for anchoring a cable to something else). In this case their purpose is to prevent birds from landing on my aerial. The problem I have is that when they take off they tend to deposit their droppings on my solar panels and so reduce their efficiency. So this post describes a simple method of keeping birds off TV aerials.
My Method For Keeping Birds Off TV Aerials
I asked my aerial erector if he could do something about it. He told me I could pay for some specific spikes to be fitted to my aerial or he would happily attach some zip ties for no extra cost if I had them to hand. I gave him a bunch and the result is shown in the featured image repeated below:
In between the directors they are fixed to square tubing so they don’t rotate under gravity to point downwards. On the reflector where some round bar is used they are left long and threaded through to stop them moving out of place. Being plastic (an electrical insulator) they have no effect on the signal.
Zip ties are commonly available in DIY and electrical stores. I used black ones because they are usually more resistant to UV (ultra-violet) light.
I have to advise that a wood pigeon has been seen perched in the centre of my aerial. It neatly fitted itself between two zip ties. If I could do it again I would increase the number if zip ties and have them closer together.
There are no signs of any zip ties on my aerial. They have not stood the test of time.
What a wonderful experience. I wish I had taken a photo. I looked out of my lounge window and a young goldfinch was resting on my patio within 0.5m of the window. It didn’t attempt to fly off so I went outside. I knelt down on the ground and got within 0.5m of it. It was trying to sleep with its head resting over its back. Its wings were neatly folded so I thought it looked OK and not damaged.
For some while I have been using a white rectangular butcher’s meat tray as a bird bath during freezing winter months and dry summer months when birds need access to fresh water. It has rested either on the ground, or on a garden seat, or on top of a large Victorian plant pot when the summer flowers have died back. The stark whiteness of the tray and the depth of water (10cm) have, I think, put birds off. The only ones I have seen using it have been occasional blackbirds. Also I feel they need it near the ground but not actually on it.
There was plenty of Northumberland wildlife – Red Squirrel included – near Doxford Cottages this May (2012). I have seen the following within 6m of my living room: Brown Rat, Red Squirrel, male & female Great Spotted Woodpecker, male & female Chaffinch, male Robin, Blue tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Green-finch, Nuthatch, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Sparrow, male & female Pheasant, male Blackbird.
All these creatures have been attracted by a peanut feeder, wild bird seed feeder and a squirrel feeding box. The birds, and brown rat, that can’t feed from the bird feeders (and those that can) have been attracted by the fallout from the feeders on the ground beneath.
Surprisingly the following birds have been able to feed from the seed feeders: Rook, Crow, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon. The Jackdaw can cling onto the feeders with wire mesh which holds peanuts. They can all reach the transparent seed feeder by perching on the wooden squirrel food box (see my rook picture below). All the feeders are attached to a telephone pole so they are close to each other.
I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have goldfinches feeding in my garden regularly now I have erected a nyjer seed feeder. See this one in my feature image.
A friend across the road has goldfinches feeding regularly but I never have. Why? They never had anything to feed on in my garden. So I bought this expensive feeder, which holds fine nyjer seeds, from the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) together with some seed.
Most of the pictures here were taken on our first visit to Market Bosworth in 2012.
We have retuned several times since and will continue to do so because it is such a charming English town in the county of Leicestershire. You can see its relative location on the maps below, surrounded by Loughborough, Leicester, Hinckley, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Coalville: