It’s getting to that time of year where, although the insect action might be dying down, the birds are still going strong and eating us out of house and home. We do our best by our feathered friends, putting out suet blocks and peanuts and ordering in bird seed by the sack load. We have a nice healthy flock of House Sparrows who gorge themselves on most of it, but lately the Blue Tits and Coal Tits seem to be elbowing (or winging) their way in a bit more.
Although the birds no doubt appreciate the buffet we lay on, at this time of year though they probably benefit just as much from our lack of weeding and pruning. This strategy of laziness on our part means there’s plenty of seeds to be had on the abundant teasel heads and buddleia bushes. Even we will be forced to hack these back eventually, but until the spring the birds can enjoy them.
Our strategy of no weeding and pruning extends to no sweeping up too (if you’re going to have a strategy it’s best to be consistent!) So leaves and other general autumnal detritus are gradually accumulating, providing shelter for any insects still kicking about. The seeming security of dead leaves doesn’t protect them though from our resident Dunnock, who likes to rootle about on the patio for whatever he can find.
There’s always been water available via the pond, which we try to ensure doesn’t get totally iced up in winter. Many of the birds though prefer our wonky guttering, which collects water to form the perfect bird bath. Having attempted to fix the gutters, we put up a new bird bath last month, naively thinking the birds would appreciate our efforts. After a month of nothing landing in it besides a shieldbug, I was delighted when a coal tit finally took to washing in it last week, although I haven’t seen him since (probably wallowing in the guttering somewhere).