Bullfinches (dompap) take a very wide range of seeds in my garden including hawthorn, rowan, nettle and Norway spruce, as well as buds of different trees, but this was the first time I’d seen them taking guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) seed and I could see them discarding the flesh of the berries. Even when they have a rich supply of sunflower seeds, they will continue also to take natural food.
Over the last couple of days there’ve been large numbers of birds in the garden making me think of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, although there have been fortunately no casualties as far as I know. I try to limit the amount of bird food I put out (as its production isn’t good for birds) and it’s good to see that most species are still eating natural food.
This winter there’ve been reports from all over the county of unusual numbers of overwintering bramblings (bjørkefink) with flocks up to 300 birds recorded. I’ve had smaller flocks of 20-30 for some time, but yesterday they were everywhere in the garden and at least 140 birds were present, a new winter record for Malvik kommune! The films below show them both at the bird feeder, feeding on rowan berries (eating the seed and discarding the flesh) and also on the ground perhaps feeding on birch seed?
Apart from that there was a sizeable flock of some 60 waxwings (sidensvans) on guelder rose / krossved (Viburnum opulus) and hawthorn (hagtorn) , 11 bullfinches (dompap), 50 house sparrows (gråspurv), 6 goldfinches (stillits) still mostly on burdock seed, 16 siskins (on birch seed), 6 greenfinches (grønnfink), 2 hawfinches (kjernebiter) seen on plum stones and rowan berries, a single robin (rødstrupe), a couple of fieldfares (gråtrost) on apples and hawthorn, a great spotted woodpecker (flaggspett) and great and blue tits both establishing territories now. In addition, a flock of 500-600 jackdaws (kaie) fly over to the roost every evening.
Bramblings with a hawfinch:
Bramblings with a hawfinch feeding on rowan seed (at the end, both birds are seen to discard the flesh). A greenfinch was also feeding on rowan.
Bramblings on the ground (feeding on birch seed?)
Large flock of bramblings at the bird feeder:
A group of seeding nettles strategically placed in view of a living room window provides a little entertainment in winter ( no, I didn’t plant them, but I deliberately didn’t cut them back). This is important food for various finches in winter including bullfinches (dompap).
Two goldfinches were on the bird feeder today. So far this winter I’d only seen on natural food – burdock (Arctium seeds).
This gives me an idea! Next year I’ll gather nettle seed outside the garden and put it on the bird feeder. Try to reduce the huge amounts of bird seed that are bought every year by providing as much natural food as possible! Bird seed is produced in large monocultures (mostly non-organically). I wonder how many birds are displaced or killed in the process?
There could hardly be more blossom on the apples this year! Looks like yet another good year.
2. Fieldfare (gråtrost) on apple in snow #2
3. European robin in snow
4. I’ve never seen European robin actually on the bird feeder, normally picking up crumbs below! (Female bullfinch / dompap takes over at the end)