Pigeon Politics

A few times a week, I put bread out on the back lawn for the birds. At one time, I mainly gave them bowls of bird seed instead, but with the cost of living crisis biting hard, paying up to £25 a month for a sack of (quality) seed has had to be postponed for now.

They like the bread well enough, and it is usually a mixture of sliced granary bread and white bread crusts. As you might expect with birds, they do have a pecking order. 🙂

First to arrive will be the large Wood Pigeons. They spend their time sitting on nearby rooftops or fences, in the hope that it will be ‘bread day’. Once the bread is flung onto the grass and I am back inside, down they come.

The blackbirds await their opportunity. Lurking under the shrubs on the left of the garden, then suddenly darting out onto the grass to grab a chunk of bread while the pigeons are occupied. They sensibly take it back to their hidey-holes, where they can eat it undisturbed.

Last to arrive are the smaller, or more timid birds. Sparrows, Wrens, Robins, Jays, and Ring-Necked Doves. They eat together peacefully, finishing up the crumbs left by any of the others.

But the big Wood Pigeons do not cooperate with each other. They apply the rule of survival of the fittest. Large battles ensue, denoted by loud flapping of wings, and the more aggressive birds actually jumping on their lesser rivals. Despite the fact that there is enough to go round, they do not desist until just the strongest bird is left, to eat his or her fill. The others have to wait, perching on the fence as the top dog (top pigeon in this case) gobbles up the easiest morsels to swallow. Only when the ‘Big man’ (or big female) had finished, do they return.

Then those lesser pigeons start the same fracas, and so on, until the weakest and most intimidated pigeon is left to share with the small birds once all the bigger birds have flown away.

I don’t think I would like to be a Wood Pigeon.

Confused Birds

Yesterday morning, as I was making tea in the kitchen, I could hear loud cheeping coming from the direction of the Oak tree in the back garden. I leaned across the sink to look out of the window, and saw a colourful Blue Tit fly across from the fence and land on the nest-box that is fixed to the tree. It was bobbing its head in and out of the hole, before flying off again.

Ever since we have lived here, we have had Blue Tits using the nest-box every Spring, but never before in late December.

I can only conclude that the birds are confused by the change in the weather brought about by global warming.

Now I am hoping that the chicks can survive a potentially harsh Winter.

The Beetley Pigeon: An Update

I recently wrote about a pigeon that had injured its wing, after flying into the kitchen window.

The Beetley Pigeon

Many of you were very concerned about the pigeon, so I thought an update was in order.

Since publishing that post, I have been looking after the pigeon as best as I can. I place a decent portion of bird seed in a container for it, with a similar dish of water next to it. Every day, the seed is eaten, and some of the water has gone. I keep this away from the other feeding area on the small table, where the other birds fly up to eat it.

Supplies for the injured pigeon are placed on the grass, very close to the dense shrub that he/she now calls home. On a couple of occasions, I have seen it emerge to eat and drink, and sometimes added a chunk of granary bread so it can fill itself up away from the other avian diners.

This afternoon, I got a good look at it. When I went out with Ollie, all the other birds flew away, as they usually do. But the injured pigeon is still unable to fly, and walked quickly back to the safety of the shrub. The good news is that the wing is no longer hanging down, and dragging on the the grass. The bird is able to hold it against its body now, even though it is obviously not healed enough for it to fly even a short distance.

It can never be classed as a pet, but I will continue to look after it for as long as is needed.

Some Sunday Musings

Unlike my frequent ‘Thinking Aloud On A Sunday’ posts, this is more by way of a collection of things I have been thinking about over the past week.

I have had to face the fact that I can no longer do many jobs around the house and garden. What with Vertigo, muscle weakness caused by Statins destroying my arm muscles, and the general onset of old age, I have let things go, to say the least.

I finally bit the bullet, and arranged for contractors to come and give estimates for clearing the shabby front driveway, and relaying the gravel that once covered the car parking area. With space to park up to four cars, depending how big they are, this is a considerable job. When I look back at old photos taken when I was regularly weeding and tidying the area, I hate that it now looks like nobody has bothered for a few years.

The first man who came was very local, living just a few streets away. He gave a fair price, and offered to start very soon. But when he was contacted to accept the quote, he wanted half the money up front.

This is a warning flag for home owners. NEVER pay any money up front for any work on your property, especially to someone you have never met before. He was told “Thanks but no thanks”, and the second man was contacted.

Fortunately, he was completely professional, and our attitude to him was helped by the fact that he had done some garden landscaping work for a neighbour earlier this year. Not only did he provide a fair (albeit more expensive) quote, he made us feel very confident with his grasp of what was required. In addition, his company can tackle other jobs we need doing next year, like sorting out the wonky patio at the back, fixing a fence and gate, and paving over some parts of the lawn.

Hopefully, we should have a fresh and smart driveway before Christmas, and arrangements in place to have the back garden sorted next Spring.


A few houses in the village already have Christmas lights illuminated on their houses. Is it just me, or are people celebrating things earlier and earlier every year? We haven’t even got past Halloween, and some are beginning to celebrate Christmas in late October. My own opinion is that this actually diminishes the traditional enjoyment of any celebratory festivities, and I fully expect to be seeing Christmas lights in August soon.


It has been nice to see Ollie chasing deer again this week. As he has been getting old so visibly, and not enjoying very long walks anymore, his sudden bursts of enthusiasm to chase random deer in the woodland are a delight. Of course, he has no hope of catching them, and he pays for it later with much longer sleeps, and stiff front legs by late evening. But I want him to enjoy life, even though he really is too old for such hunting exploits.

Sometimes, I think about life without Ollie, if he goes before me. I try to cut those thoughts short, as life without my constant companion and best friend is not something I enjoy contemplating.


Covid-19 is still very much in the news. Despite all the government self-congratulation, infections are back on the rise, and deaths attributed to the virus account for around 100 reported every day. That means that 3,100 people in England will have died of Covid-19 by the end of October. Imagine the catastrophic impact on all those families.

Yet more and more people refuse to be vaccinated, and continue to assert that it is all just a conspiracy.


Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.

Best wishes, Pete.

More Birds Than Ever

We have always been lucky to have a variety of birds in the back garden. I put bread out for them, and in the past I have also added various seeds and fat balls on the feeders. However, this year I bought a huge sack of specialist bird seed, and we decided to put some out in a small bowl on a glass-topped side table that sits on the grass next to the patio area.

Whether it was the ease of access to the seed, the lockdown making the birds feel safer, or the recent change in the weather conditions, I don’t know. But the bird life in the garden has exploded, with birds arriving in numbers and varieties never seen before.

As well as the usual Wood Pigeons, Robins, nesting Blue Tits, and Blackbirds, there are some days when the grass is literally covered in birds of all sizes. Sparrows, Wrens, Starlings, Greenfinches, Collared Doves, Thrushes, Long-Tailed Tits, Jays, Magpies, and even on one occasion, two large Seagulls. Some noisy Crows like to visit early in the morning, and I could do without them waking me up.

It is a real delight to see them all though, even if I need to refill the bowl at least three times a day. Many have become so used to me being out there, they no longer fly away when I appear. And they all tolerate Ollie as he patrols around, knowing he will not chase them or harm them.

With the weather set to stay warm for a while, I really hope this influx of bird visitors continues.

Squirrels In The Garden

Despite having large Oak trees front and back, we never had any squirrels visiting our garden. For nine years there were only birds seen on the grass, or on the shrubs. I used to think it was because of Ollie, and that he might have chased them away. Then next door got Alfie Cat, and he was often seen prowling under our large hedges.

There were many squirrels to be seen nearby on Beetley Meadows, so I wondered if they were reluctant to cross the road to our house, though it is hardly a ‘busy’ road.

Then one day recently, Julie spotted one sitting in the garden, eating a chunk of bread I had thrown out for the birds. He/she started to visit on a daily basis, so Julie bought some peanuts in shells for him/her.

When the squirrel started to sit on the fence separating our garden from our neighbour’s, the lady who lives next door went out and bought squirrel food. She placed it in small pots on top of the fence posts, and watched as the squirrel enjoyed a feast.

Recently, I began to leave a dish of bird seed out on a small garden table. That proved to be a big hit with the birds, and increased the numbers visiting our garden. Then I saw another squirrel picking up seeds that had fallen onto the grass and eating them, at the same time as the original (larger) squirrel was eating more bread six feet away.

Yesterday, a third squirrel appeared, and we had three feeding at the same time.

I have no way of knowing if the first two are a pair, and the new arrival a youngster they have reared. They could be unrelated, just taking advantage of the easy pickings.

But it is nice to finally have squirrels in the garden.

‘Stuff to do’

Is your life full of ‘stuff to do’? Mine is.

I have so many jobs waiting to get done, I have given up on even proritising them. Let’s face it, they are known as ‘chores’ for good reason.

a routine task, especially a household one.
“the early risers were up and about, doing their chores”
synonyms: task, job, duty, errand, thing to be done, burden; More
a tedious but necessary task.

Note the two important words in the above definition. ‘Tedious’, and ‘Burden’.

I also decided to read a lot this year, and downloaded a lot of books to my Kindle Fire. As I was in the mood, I bought some used paperbacks and hardbacks too. Since January, I have managed to read sixteen books. But now the others are crying out to me. “Read me!” “Read me next!”

I charged up the batteries for the cordlesss hedge-trimmers last night. The front hedges are beckoning. I can hear them calling through the open window. “Trim us, trim us”. Don’t even get me started on the back hedges. They will have to be satisfied with admiring the job I do with the front ones. Presuming they get done, of course.
Then after wearing myself out weeding a few patio slabs recently, the rest of the slabs are whining. “Weed us, weed us”.
I might have to mow the lawn though, as that is pretty ‘visible’, and best not left to its own devices.

Did I mention all the wood staining? Probably not, as I am trying to forget that. Panels of fences, bars of gates, and the sides of a huge shed. Oh, and the bits around the garage door.
Did someone say “side gate”, or “bin storage fence”? I hope not, as they have zero chance of being done.

Cleaning windows? Where they are concerned, I am actually hoping it rains again. Who cleans windows when it might rain? Not me, I can promise you.

Washing cars? I haven’t washed a car in ten years. The rain does that too. Doesn’t it?

I can tell you, ‘stuff’ mounts up. There is never less ‘stuff’ to do, only ever more.

Birds don’t like cornflakes

An old post again, from 2013. I think only Eddy has seen this one before. Nature, in a Beetley garden. 🙂


When I moved here, and had a garden again, for the first time in twelve years, I resolved to be kind to wildlife, and to feed the birds. This took the form of flinging unwanted bread onto the lawn at first. It was well-received by the local Avian population, and quite soon, there were regular diners, waiting on the fences, and nearby rooftops, for my usual time of distribution. Some blackbirds even made their home in the hedges at the back, so as not too be too far from this bounty. Plump wood pigeons, looking like they were wearing well-filled, fancy waistcoats, would arrive in reasonable numbers, bullying each other out of the choicest crusts. Sometimes, great gangs of starlings would suddenly appear, clearing the whole lawn in a feeding frenzy, then speeding off, disappearing as quickly as they had arrived.

I soon wanted more. I wanted country birds. You…

View original post 531 more words

Blue Tits in the garden

When we bought this house, we soon got around to putting up some nesting boxes. There was one with a small hole, to encourage Blue Tits, and another with a larger hole, in the hope of attracting larger birds. Unfortunately, the larger one never did attract anything, and eventually fell down. But the smaller one was reasonably high up on the oak tree, and has attracted nesting blue tits every year.

Despite being quite close to the house, and only ten feet away from where we sit outside, the birds ignore us, and go about their feeding routine. They are especially busy later in the day, so I took the camera out just now, and managed to get a shot of one of the adults entering and leaving the nest.
Please use the click function, and enlarge the photo to see the details.

Just arriving. A rear-end shot!

Emerging at speed!

As I didn’t use any support, they are not the greatest of shots, but I was very pleased to be able to capture some of the birds in action. They are very fast, and even close to 1/500th of a second, the flight shot is blurred. Still, they look better with some ‘wing action’ going on. 🙂 The box is not straight. Six years on the tree has made it a bit wonky. But I didn’t want to touch it once they were nesting.

I used the Sony RX 10 at full zoom, 200 mm. The birds were shot at f 2.8, and the first photo of the box at f.4