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Birds eating berries


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I have three bushes in my garden which were absolutely laden with what appear to me to be very appealing berries which the birds have studiously ignored until this last week; there are a couple of doves tucking in now and one bush doesn't have many left.

My thinking is that either the birds don't really like this food and are only eating them now because they are starving or they only like them after they have been softened by a few frosts.

As with most years there has been no snow here so they can still peck away at the grass.

Can anyone enlighten me, or ramble on about birds generally?

I did see a Peregrine Falcon in the garden a month ago who perched for a second and moved on but that's a one off in the years I've lived here, though I regularly see them hunting the cliff edges and headlands, so it won't be scaring them off.

 

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I think they know exactly when they are ready.

A mate of mine who makes exquisite elderberry wine from the bushes he has in his garden was practically crying into his beer one evening in the pub.

He had looked out of his bedroom window that morning thinking "mmmm, I'll go down and check them in a bit, they may be ready" when a flock of starlings descended and stripped the lot in less than a minute!

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13 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

 

Can anyone enlighten me, or ramble on about birds generally?

I did see a Peregrine Falcon in the garden a month ago who perched for a second and moved on but that's a one off in the years I've lived here, though I regularly see them hunting the cliff edges and headlands, so it won't be scaring them off.

 

Are you sure? They don’t perch much and rarely frequent gardens. Unlike sparrow hawks and occasionally kestrels. 

Regarding your berries, post a pic of them and someone will know......

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9 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Are you sure? They don’t perch much and rarely frequent gardens. Unlike sparrow hawks and occasionally kestrels. 

Regarding your berries, post a pic of them and someone will know......

Literally a second if that. Flew across, caught my eye, landed on a fence post, looked around, flew off.

It's berries in general; I've seen this at other places.

Just look at the rowan trees beloved of council street planners; they are practically bowing under the weight of those delicious looking red berries yet the birds ignore them when you think they would be flocking.

 

Edit: yes kestrel, which is what I see around the cliffs.

I don't know why I wrote Peregrine Falcon as I wouldn't recognize one.

Edited by Frank Hovis
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Just now, jamanda said:

We had loads of lovely orangy-yellow berries on a pyracantha which were there until last week.

I looked yesterday and the branches were bare.

I do have bird feeders in the garden.

Maybe it's frost softening them then. I don't have bird feeders but two near neighbours do so they have an alternative.

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6 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Literally a second if that. Flew across, caught my eye, landed on a fence post, looked around, flew off.

It's berries in general; I've seen this at other places.

Just look at the rowan trees beloved of council street planners; they are practically bowing under the weight of those delicious looking red berries yet the birds ignore them when you think they would be flocking.

 

Edit: yes kestrel, which is what I see around the cliffs.

I don't know why I wrote Peregrine Falcon as I wouldn't recognize one.

You’ll recognize one when you see it, which you will eventually if you walk cliffs. Bit bigger than kestrels. Dark blue-greyish on top, speckles underneath, sometimes pale. They have a way of flying which somehow suggests another level of mastery of the air compared to other birds. Like the difference between watching a local jogger pass by and watching Usain Bolt. 

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I got myself firmly placed in the bird weirdo territory having spotted one on my way to work one morning. I had previously spotted what I was 99% certain was a Peregrine when I was working in an office block. One of those fortuitous moments staring into space, spotted a raptor incoming and was within probably 8 feet of it as it banked round the building. 

Now given there are exactly 0 confirmed sightings where I live I was pretty excited and watched out for ages to no avail. Until last spring when I was cycling to work. My attention was drawn to it by an unusual (but obviously raptor cry) and lo and behold there was a Peregrine perched atop an old gas tower. It frequented that spot for the next four months allowing easy observation via binos.

The only issue being that it was smack bang in the middle of drugsville. I  had some very interesting conversations with various characters about why I was wandering about in a hi vis jacket with a pair of high powered binos.... Once they'd worked out I wasn't fuzz they were interested as to why I gave a fuck. Made me realise that once again my love of nature far outweighs anything that humans do. 

I also saw a Peregrine totally destroy a pigeon once ages ago when I was on a field trip. Lucky enough to capture the start of the stoop and the hit. It's the literal "didn't know what hit it". Unbelievable capability to calculate where in space the prey would be when travelling at near 200mph..................

Great birds.

 

   

Edited by Mental Floss
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1 hour ago, MrLibertyRedux said:

I think they know exactly when they are ready.

A mate of mine who makes exquisite elderberry wine from the bushes he has in his garden was practically crying into his beer one evening in the pub.

He had looked out of his bedroom window that morning thinking "mmmm, I'll go down and check them in a bit, they may be ready" when a flock of starlings descended and stripped the lot in less than a minute!

I feel for him. Cant beat (homebrew) Elderberry Wine. 

Sadly all the commercially made stuff i've tried has been appalling.

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I've been friends with a crow for the past few years.  My window overlooks the roof of the flat below and she would sit there waiting for me to throw nuts out for her.  She was there most days eating or just hanging out - in the evening she would often sit facing the sun as it went down.  She'd bring baby crow and her mate to the roof as well but unlike her they were scared of me so wouldn't come so close.  I'd still get to see things like the communication between her and baby crow, and the obvious intelligence there is mind blowing.

In early December she disappeared.  Her family were still around for a couple of weeks but not now.  I'm hoping she just found somewhere better for winter and then fetched her family to join her.  Otherwise it's likely she died and the family drifted off since they don't have the same attachment to my roof.

 

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2 minutes ago, unregistered_guest said:

It's reasonable to speculate that Aesop's Fable of the Crow and the Pitcher was based on his observation of a corvid doing precisely what the story claims.

I always think that my local jackdaws look at me as if I was a walking piece of meat....

There are some extraordinary stories of crows working things out. There are no jackdaws here. Only ordinary black crows, after which the town is named, and appear on the coat of arms

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3 hours ago, Loki said:

If it's a pyracantha they don't really eat them 

Pyracantha isn't native.

My garden is entirely native trees and shrubs. The Rowan Mountain Ash is cleared very early around September and the Holly around December.

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