Tag Archives: Back Garden Birds

Chicklet is

Winter is coming. Some of the Swallows have left already….

Some of them. Rosa and her family are still here.

I am not exactly sure when the others went or even if they have all gone. If I stand around outside my front door I get dive bombed by seven Swallows  (Rosa’s family) but yesterday when I was filming Chicklet I became aware that there was no activity in places where I knew other Swallows were nesting and when Rosa took her family off there were no other Swallows in the air. Some of them have left.

(I have just been out for a walk to look at other nests and there are still quite a few birds about they just seem to have thinned out a lot)

This could be the difficult time. I knew that Rosa wouldn’t leave without Chicklet. Now the question is how soon before he is  ready to go? He only fledged yesterday.

Of course Fledging isn’t just about a single flight. The parents are still feeding him and they keep bringing him back to the nest.

Two Swallows came here from Africa, when Rosa and Fred leave they will be taking five new ones away with them. Swallow numbers don’t double or treble every year, if they did we wouldn’t be able to see the sky by now, their numbers stay pretty static. Some of the seven Swallows that leave here won’t be coming back. I don’t know which ones but it is a very long and hard flight to Africa and many perish on the way from exhaustion and starvation and some are taken by storms.

That is how it has to be or the sky would be blacked out. Nature has a balance.

Chicklet made Rosa very happy and today he is making her happy, that is all that anyone can ask for.

He is beautiful.


He needs a few weeks yet to build up a bit of strength and get used to his wings. That shouldn’t be a problem, it is very early for the Swallows to be leaving and the weather here is getting better.

I am pleased that Rosa and her family will be staying around for a while yet because I will sorely miss them when they are gone. 🙂

Until next year.

Rosa’s Chicklet

This is just a brief update on Rosa.

I haven’t been watching her closely. I can hear her singing away outside of my window so I have known that everything was okay with her new brood I thought that I would give them a few days to grow.

This morning I put the camera out to watch them and I got a bit of a surprise. There is only one.

That is very good news. Less work for Rosa and the chick will get more food and stand a better chance.

I still don’t think that the chick has much hope. It won’t be fledged until a week into September and the birds usually leave in September. We could do with a heat wave to keep them here for a couple of extra weeks but it is freezing cold today.

I woke up this morning and put a T shirt on because it is August and pretty soon I had to put a shirt over that and now I have got  a body warmer over that Brrrr. Maybe I am coming down with something.

Good news though and it is a cute one. 🙂

Born too late

Rosa has been acting strangely and I was concerned so this morning I set out my camera to watch her.

For new readers, Rosa and Fred are Barn Swallows. There are lots of swallows around the farm but these two occupied a nest just outside of my front door and I have been watching them all summer.

They raised their first brood very successfully and that was well documented on this blog. You can see them fledging in the “Destiny” post on the sidebar.

Barn Swallow Nestlings

Their second brood died. I don’t know why but Rosa started crying. There is a call that she makes that is unlike the normal happy chirrup. I first heard it when the first brood were fledging and she tried to encourage them out of the nest. It  is how a Barn Swallow calls for her young. At first it was a joyful sound as she encouraged her brood to flight but when she lost her second brood she called for them constantly.

A couple of days after she started crying I found two dead babies under the nest they had been thrown out. She kept crying and they built a new nest just opposite the old one after about a week it became obvious from the smell that there were still dead chicks in the old nest.

She cried for about two weeks and then she stopped. She lost the second brood a month ago. For the last two weeks she has been sitting on the nest. I could pretty much guess what she was up to but told myself no it wasn’t possible.

This morning I had to set the camera up and check. I wanted to see if the other birds were feeding her. It is worse than that.


So why is such a joyful and happy event as a new brood such bad news? Because it is too late for them. There is no time for them to build the strength that they will need for the flight to Africa.

If they had been fledged a month ago they would have struggled, the second brood always do but hatching now they don’t really stand much chance. They have to cross the Sahara Desert.

I think that Rosa and Fred will be all right. Swallows don’t put on much weight prior to migration, they feed on the way so the distraction of a new brood to feed won’t do them much harm and they are happy again. Anyway she was pretty determined about what she wanted and maybe the young ones will get lucky.

It is good to see them happy today and today is all that anyone can really ask for.

Starvelings in the Storm

You have probably heard about the aftermath of Hurricane Bertha bearing down on the UK, it must have made the world news, no?

Well it rained a bit in the night.

I just wanted to let you know that we survived.

This is how bad it got…. The Birds nearly starved.

They are demanding little animals.

Now the sun is breaking through and I am going out to photograph some flowers in the rain.

How to eat peanuts with one chopstick.

It  has been so hot here that the bottom fell out of our peanut feeder. I am guessing that the wire expanded and our trustworthy feeder suddenly failed.

I had to modify it.

ChopsticksThat seems to have done the trick.

Now the birds have to learn how to use chopsticks. It is not as easy as it looks. The young ones seem to be getting the hang of it though. It is just a question of balance.

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great TitThese young Great Tits are one of my garden favourites at the moment, they look so cute.

Worms

European RobinWhat do you mean ,”There’s no worms” ? I put lots of worms out this morning.

European RobinI don’t know where they are now.

European RobinYes, I know it is an airing cupboard, there are caterpillars in my food cupboard.

European RobinDon’t even think about looking for my caterpillars. What’s it got to do with you where I keep my food?

European RobinOut! Vamoose! Shoo!

6You can clear off too.

European RobinI don’t care if it is raining outside. Shoo!

European RobinWill you stop ransacking my flat? All of you outside now!

European RobinI will get more worms. 🙂 🙂 🙂

European Robin

Rosa and Fred (A love story)

This is Rosa. You can recognise her because she has lost a tail feather,  She lost it ages ago and you can see that in the videos of the first brood.

Barn SwallowRosa has been very unhappy, she lost her babies.

This is Fred, he has much longer tail feathers than Rosa. Fred is a bird with a plan.

Barn Swallow“We can try again”

Oh! Fred, Fred, Fred. There isn’t time.

So now Rosa is happy again.

Barn SwallowShe has spent the morning nest building. Not a new nest she is just freshening up the old one and making it a bit bigger for a new brood.

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowPoor Fred.

Barn SwallowHe just couldn’t bear to see her so unhappy, couldn’t bear to hear her crying. She was driving me nuts, imagine what it must have been like for poor Fred.

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowI don’t think that there is time for them to have another brood now and for the new birds to build their strength up for the flight to Africa which they must make. What can you say?

How do you say no to such a beautiful and unhappy lady?

Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowYou say it like this Fred, “No! N.O. spells NO! No!”

9bBuild your nest. My love is always with you and at least you have shut her up.

Barn Swallow

Happy chatter again. 🙂

Fit birds in the shower

Sorry about that, this is a nature blog. I was just trying to boost my stats. I won’t do it again 🙂 🙂 🙂

We have had a thunderstorm rumbling on since half past four this morning, it’s about one o’clock now. What can you do?

I have just had a Robin in  going through my cupboards and telling me that I forgot to put any worms out this morning.

I did put worms out, I don’t know where they have gone.

So it goes

There isn’t going to be a second brood of Swallows, she lost them.

You would think that Dr Dolittle syndrome would be a wonderful thing, if you could see the animals and understand them and know what they were saying just from their voices, wouldn’t you?

So her voice changed. Her song fills my flat from morning till night it is inescapable and has been one of the great joys of this summer.

I went out to look and the whole of the first brood and both parents were swirling around in the air right outside of my front door which is also outside of their nest.

I set up a camera to watch the nest and for over an hour no bird visited the nest. So I reset the camera to cover a wider area. All of the birds were flying in constantly and getting very close to the nest but never making contact and they just kept doing that.

The female started crying. There is a call that she makes it isn’t musical it is repetitive and harsh and sounds like pleading. I have recorded it and I will let you listen in a minute.

The only time that I have heard this call before was when the first brood were fledging. She used this to call for them, to encourage them out of the nest and to come to her, this is how a mother swallow talks to her young.

(the first part of the tape is the other birds chatting, you will know when the mother bird calls)


That is the sound of sadness. She cried constantly yesterday but it has been a bit less today.

I picked up two dead birds from underneath the nest today.

I have no idea what killed them but I think that they died in the nest and were cleaned out today. I don’t think that it was a predator. That’s life. I cleaned up the dead birds in the hope that it would help her to forget them. I like my flat full of happiness not sorrow.

I have been to a lot of trouble to choose the very best flowers that i could find for this good bird. I took these pictures years ago on an old camera and I have photographed these roses many times since but I like the retro look and I think that my pictures express the love that I feel.

Get over it. You are going to Africa.

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa canina

Rosa caninaSing to me as I sing to you and fill my little flat with joy.