Little feet in the snow

footprints in the snow

footprints in the snow

footprints around bird food

footprints around bird food

chaffinch looking in

chaffinch looking in

chaffinch checking me out

chaffinch checking me out

OK, where's the food

OK, where’s the food

The snow is melting fast outside now, there’s only a few piles of mush left on the terrace. The last snowfall here was almost a week ago, and that was a scant few flakes, just enough to cover the ground thinly.

It may have been a light snowfall, but it was enough to show me that little feet had been walking around just outside before I got up that morning.

It’s not just one or two footprints either, there seems to have been quite a gathering around the food. I hope nobody got trampled in the crush!

We have bird-food on our garden wall, but in the coldest weather the robins were getting very territorial about it, spending more time fighting than eating. That’s why we put more food near our patio doors, far away from the wall. This kept the robins far enough apart that they actually found time to eat instead of fight.

The food near our patio doors is quite popular, despite being close to the house. It’s interesting to see how different birds approach it. Sparrows just come right up and start munching. They spend a lot of time in our eaves, so they’re well accustomed to us and our comings and goings, and show no fear. Other birds are more cautious, such as this chaffinch.

This is the only chaffinch I’ve seen visiting our garden so far, though we see many on our morning walks. This one did what many other birds have done, he landed a little further out and took a good look before coming closer.

He’s clearly spotted me, and that sideways look is him measuring me up, deciding if I’m going to make trouble for him or not. Eventually, it seems he decides I’m not a threat, and he turns his attention to more important things, the food!

Blue-tits and great-tits show a similar caution. They land nearby, take a good look round, then hop up to the food, take something (typically a peanut) and fly off to deal with it somewhere else. They seem to get more comfortable with time, the first visits were rather cautious, and sometimes they would fly off without feeding. Now they are more at ease, and will even continue to feed if we go out on the terrace.

Robins will sit by the food for a long time, as if they’re staking a claim to it. Even in the coldest of the recent weather they would sit there, guarding the food. They don’t often chase off sparrows or tits, but if another robin appears within a few feet, it’s instant action. Those birds have attitude!

Now that the local birds have become accustomed to us, we see a steady stream of them. Yesterday and today we saw a willow tit, one that I’ve never seen before. It seems word is getting around that there’s a new place to eat for the birds, and we’re glad of it. Fortunately, lots of people feed the birds around here, so winter is not as difficult for them as it could otherwise be. I’m glad of that.

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2 Responses [lang_en]to[/lang_en][lang_fr]pour[/lang_fr] “Little feet in the snow”

  1. Tia Gray Says:

    most of the bird food that we have are just sunflower seeds, birds love sunflower seeds;*:

  2. Tony Says:

    Hi Tia,

    many birds can’t eat sunflower seeds, they can’t break through the husks. Sparrows will ignore them, but if you put out already-shelled sunflower seeds they will enjoy them.

    Nor are all sunflower seeds the same. The striped sunflower seeds are thicker-shelled and lower in nutrition than black sunflower seeds, so birds have to work harder for less reward if you put them out. It’s worth getting seed from a reliable source like the RSPB in the UK, or the LPO in France. Elsewhere, it’s worth looking up your national bird-protection society, to see what they have to offer.