There are times when it seems a small fortune is spent in keeping our feathered friends fed. But we have come to enjoy the sights and sounds around the garden. House martins are busy feeding at the moment but the tits and finches have been absent in the last week or two. Primarily this is due to the absence of supplies of seed and nuts, our feeders having been victims of recent gales which saw them both fall from the tree to be broken on the ground. I’ve finally got round to replacing them and last night enjoyed watching a couple of greenfinches enjoy fresh supplies.
This morning, fairly early, as I was on my way to get The Grasshopper out for a short run, I was dismayed to find empty branches where the feeders should have been hanging. Down below, lid opened, lay one empty seed feeder. The nut feeder, also opened and empty, lay some 20 feet away.
I refilled and reattached to the tree. The greenfinch returned. Three hours later the nut feeder again lay empty on the ground. Both feeders are attached to the tree using strong metal clips, not simply hung over branches. It was a mystery that had troubled the mind as I exercised the lycra-clad legs in the crisp morning air. I had tried to secure the re-filled feeders more firmly, but something out there was opeing the clips with more strength than I was closing them.
The laburnum tree on which the feeders hang is pretty much in full bloom, just on the wane. Birds in the branches are not easily seen. There is an adjacent larger tree, a bit more sparse, species unidentified, and surrounding that part of the garden is a maple hedge and a conifer hedge, each now approaching a dozen feet in height, and each containing nesting birds.
As I walked round to collect the egg, there is only one chicken at the moment, from the chicken hut, I was aware of a shadow passing overhead, cawing, or was it laughing. We often have crows in and around the chimney and judging by the incessant noises echoing around the pot I guess they are feeding youngsters. I think the crows have discovered a taste for peanuts, though if they are extracting them whole from an opened feeder they may be doing more harm than good.
If my theory is right it might be interesting to try and set up a motion-sensitive camera, to try and catch them at it. I alwys knew the corbie to be an intelligent creature but hadn’t heard of this type of behaviour. They are adept at opening shells by dropping them from great heights, but removing feeders from trees? Perhaps it will have to be cable ties next time.