Thursday, 22 May 2008

Leaving Home.

This morning started with a lot of noise right outside my study window.
When I looked up I could see at least two young Great Tits calling as loud as they could while one of the parents was gathering food. I told Pam that they had fledged and left the nest box.

When we went out side there was still a lot of noise coming from the box and we were lucky enough to watch the last three of the brood leaving home. Each one got to the hole and looked around for about a minute, weighing up whether it had the nerve to launch into the open air. Suddenly the made the jump and each time their little wings carried them to the shelter of the tree.
Moving to the opposite end of the day, as dusk approached I was sorting out today's entry and watching the Blackbirds feeding their young.

As I was loading a picture a loud cacophony of Blackbird alarming brought me to the window. I actually saw a Sparrowhawk, carrying something pursued by two adult Blackbirds. It settled just to the left of the window under a bush. I took two pictures through the window, but as I gently eased it open the bird flew off, with its prey, followed by the bereaved parents.

It was a sad end to the day. But of course nature in reality can be cruel. Blackbirds have two or three broods a year, if they all survived then we would be 10 foot deep in Blackbirds within a couple of years. On the other hand if the predation was more than the population could support the population of Blackbirds would be falling. these things do balance out. Unfortunately other changes in the countryside sometimes alter this balance, it isn't the recovery of Sparrowhawk numbers now they are better protected and organo-phosphorus chemicals are banned, that has reduced some of our song birds. Loss of hedgerows and changes in land use are major factors. However even knowing that young Sparrowhawks need feeding didn't stop me being just a little sad at the loss of one of "my" Blackbirds. Sorry about the picture quality but I was on a 10th of a second through glass.


Kingsdowner said...

Looks like you're making the most of your enforced inactivity Tony! Presumably you're reaping the benefit of years of making your garden bird-friendly.
Hope you're rapidly on the mend.

Tony Morris said...

Thanks Steve, I would love a good walk to Hope Point, but yes the garden is interesting, although at the moment mothing is slow.