Saturday 8 July 2017

Young wildlife in the garden

June and July are busy days in the garden for the local wildlife. First they're feeding their young in nests and dreys and burrows and need to eat plenty, then they're bringing their young to our feeders and trying to get them to feed themselves. The latter seems easy with the squirrels and rabbits - they don't appear until they can feed themselves - but not with some of the birds. Often fledglings will chase any adult of any species roughly the right size mouths wide open  - sometimes with success, we've seen coal tits feeding blue tits and greenfinches feeding siskins - or else sit and look at the food, peck at it tentatively and then stare again.

Young great spotted woodpecker wondering how to get at those peanuts

For the first time this year we've been delighted to have regular visits from young goldfinches and jays along with the usual siskins, chaffinches, greenfinches, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, robins and blackbirds. Missing this year are pheasants, which often nest in the garden. In fact there hasn't been an adult pheasant in the garden for many weeks and there are few in the fields and woods. There have been masses of rabbits but a few weeks ago there was a sudden bout of myxamatosis and after a few days of seeing ill ones there were none for a day or so before number started to build up again.

Young goldfinches
Young blue tits

Back in May several nursing squirrels were regular visitors so it wasn't a surprise when young squirrels started to appear. What is unusual is their choice of food and where they feed. We put out peanuts and mixed seed in different feeders and until this year the squirrels always went for the peanuts and generally fed hanging upside down. This years youngsters prefer the seeds and to either sit in the trays or feed on the ground - the birds scatter much seed. The older squirrels still choose the peanuts.

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