View Full Version : Our Avian friends....and re-cycling

Krystal n chips
10th May 2013, 17:06
Quite a few of us have an interest in the avian world.

Hence, over the last two weeks, I have witnessed some fascinating sights.

Work, and the local jackdaw population doing a credible impression of an A-10...the target being a stoat, rather than a tank. Said stoat, showing an amazing agility and turn of speed, helps if you are about to become the late stoat I suppose, managed to escape, eventually, by hiding under a car. The jackdaws went into an orbit...and waited....said stoat put a Mr Bolt to shame when it made it's dash for the woods, the jackdaws lacking laser guidance...this little saga took about 10mins in total.

The back garden to the hovel is enclosed. I get a variety of birds at this time of year, and thus was intrigued to see one I never imagined I would

A hawk, happily having lunch..not quite how the lunch may have viewed matters, but that's life...lunch was being consumed about 10ft from me. I have seen birds of prey swoop and catch plenty of times, but I have never see one so close. Fascinating to watch...eat, 360 check, eat, 360 check etc. Not much left of the deceased, only a few, well quite a lot actually, feathers....hawk legs it, rest of the birdies appear and bingo !...feathers etc, all removed and re-cycled into various nests I assume.

I was surprised to see the hawk however, as I always thought they preferred open spaces.

Ducks....looked up to see one make a perfect approach and flare to land...on the roof opposite !... I have never seen a duck on a roof, ever..until now that is. For the ornithologists, how rare is this ?.

Ducks....re-cycled. Spent last week around the Mawddach estuary..lovely part of the world, even the RAF / USAF obliged and came out to play....went to a pub called the George 111, on the south side, located on the old Dolgellau railway line ( thanks to Beeching ! ) and noted the number of ducks, on the outside tables, sitting on the sea wall, all seemingly unconcerned as to humanity.....however, a scan of the menu showed, erm, several duck dishes.....pure coincidence of course..:p

And finally, the pair of thushes at work. Jackdaw decides to grab some food one of the thrushes had intended for said thrush...jackdaw legs it, at speed, pursued by thrush doing turns that would make an FJ pilot cry with envy..jackdaw did indeed shed load.

Whilst I could never spend hours sitting and watching, I do wonder how many on here actually share this slightly more than passing interest with our feathered friends.

Excluding birdstrikes that is.


DX Wombat
10th May 2013, 17:20
Time and Place:- Several years ago outside the hospital where I worked.
Participants:- Mummy Magpie and Junior Magpie. Mummy was a few feet ahead of Junior when she put her head down to collect a tasty morsel. :ok: Junior Magpie waited until she was about to hop off again then, the moment she moved forwards bounced up behind her and jumped onto her long tail feathers and off again immediately. :E Mummy nearly jumped out of her skin before informing Junior that such behaviour was, to put it mildly, rather unseemly and further transgressions would not be treated lightly. :=

10th May 2013, 17:27
Around 35 years ago. Gliding club weekend exped from CU to St Just. Typical Cornish clag descended on day one, no flying, so we all decamped to the beach to watch seagulls.

It was the first time I'd sat and watched how they slope soar along waves, flipping neatly over each wave to soar for a moment along the next one and repeat. Absolutely masterful aviators, using the minimum amount of effort to stay airborne.

green granite
10th May 2013, 17:34
We have a female sparrow hawk that regularly visits the bird feeders in the garden and grabs her lunch, usually a sparrow or a starling, but she does cull the occasional ring necked dove to feed her chicks with as well.

10th May 2013, 18:29
KnC - Most probably a sparrowhawk, beautifully designed with their broad wings for flying in woodland, and amongst suburban gardensetc. The female is very large indeed, much larger than the male and is the one to take collared doves/wood pigeons, etc. The male usually takes the smaller passerines. The sparrowhawk is the raptor most likely to be seen in a suburban environment, as they adapt very well indeed.

Last year, one of my cats found a rats nest, and had taken a small young rat. Within half a second of said cat turning away losing interest, the magpie was down on the rat, flew off with it to a corner of the garden, and proceeded to 'stab' it with its powerful bill. It then took it back to the nest to feed its chicks. On the other hand, I have seen a raptor take a magpie chick, and take it back to the nest for its chicks to eat. The cycle of life...

Another time, one small chaffinch very sick, in the last stages of trichomonosis (most likely, as one bird had been sent for post mortem, confirming said disease). I was stood about 3 ft away from it, one cat was sat the other side of it, when all of a sudden, a whoosh past my face, and a male sparrowhawk came down and took said chaffinch. This was on the edge of the woods. The cat was a bit startled! Not for the first time, have I had the privilege of feeling the 'whoosh' within inches of my face as the sprawk flew in for its prey.

I've watched a pheasant (we have loads of them in the woods) wander around with a dead mouse in its mouth.

I've watched quite often two raptors locking talons in mid air, then falling to the ground. After a shake of the feathers, they both fly away, never the worse for wear.

I have watched a wild deer giving birth in my garden, and observed the youngster growing each day, learning about their behaviour, I have been witness to the male deer lying down (probably ruminating) and the female just 'nuzzling' him, and vice versa.

Although not always pleasant to observe, nature is to marvel at, and each predator/prey species has its place in the foodchain. I just wish more people would take the time to actually look at the rich tapestry of life that surrounds them on a daily basis.

Very very fascinating indeed.

Forgot to say, nothing in nature is wasted, 'tis all recycled.

10th May 2013, 19:33
Living in the suburbs, we don't see a lot of wildlife. That said, we have a bird feeder outside the Family Room window to entertain the indoor cats. Every once in a while there's a hawk who does a fly through for lunch and bags one of the lovebirds. You see a shadow, hear a thud and it goes quiet because all the other birds dove for cover into the trees.

10th May 2013, 20:11
In an old edition of SAILPLANE AND PILOT there is a lovely account by a glider pilot who was sitting out on the grass at Farnborough, where he worked, having his lunch.
The day was fine and warm. A thermal passed through, picking up a bit of the paper in which his lunch was wrapped. Then a passing crow swung round, joining the piece of paper in the rising air. It was the first time he had seen a crow exhibit such soaring ability.

There is a beautiful book called 'The Lore of the Lyrebird' in which the author recounts the extraordinary way this usually exceptionally shy wild bird can adapt to humans. He tells how a particular bird attached himself to a woman who lived on Mount Dandenong near Melbourne. She built a platform for him outside her loungeroom window where he would display. Once when she was sick and confined to her bedroom for a few weeks the lyrebird built a mound outside the bedroom window so he could hop up and do his display act in her sight.

The Wedge Tail Eagle is of course a magnificent soarer. Manys the time gliding in the midlands of Tasmania I have shared a thermal with one or two Wedgies. They are so used now to man the intruder, being second or third generation birds from when the glider field was opened in 1974. In the early days one big male swooped down on one of the Blaniks, struck at a wing near its root, leaving a four inch long shallow indentation in the metal skin. Today it is not unusual to have one only feet off your wingtip. Eyeball to eyeball it can be.

In drought conditions the Wedge Tail will exploit unusual opportunities to attack other birds. There is one recorded instance of an eagle taking a magpie on the wing. A witness who reported on this once said that at the moment of strike with his talons, the eagle was nearly inverted, such were the furious aerobatics that preceded the actual strike.

One of the highlights of visiting the Gold Coast in Queensland is going to a big fish restaurant near The Broadwater. There, every day, you have the spectacle of upwards of fifty pelicans swooping in gracefully to be fed by one of the cooks. With consummate ease this big bird will alight on the top of a tall lamp post or a group will descend onto the water in formation, alighting in a way resemblent of an old Supermarine Walrus, or 'Shagbat', back in the heyday of the seaplane.

'It was all so different before everything changed.' (Ashleigh Brilliant)

10th May 2013, 20:20
The Wedge Tail Eagle is of course a magnificent soarer. Manys the time gliding in the midlands of Tasmania I have shared a thermal with one or two Wedgies. They are so used now to man the intruder, being second or third generation birds from when the glider field was opened in 1974. In the early days one big male swooped down on one of the Blaniks, struck at a wing near its root, leaving a four inch long shallow indentation in the metal skin. Today it is not unusual to have one only feet off your wingtip. Eyeball to eyeball it can be.

Only time I've been eyeball-to-eyeball with a bird was when thermalling at the top of a stack of three gliders. I was concentrating on coring the thermal, whilst looking down at a higher performance sailplane climbing up towards me from below (a Dart I think, I was in a Pirat, IIRC). A shadow crossed the canopy, I looked up and found myself eyeball to eyeball with a buzzard, looking down and back under his wing at me. He actually looked startled, almost as if he viewed me with disdain, then rolled left and down in an instant.

10th May 2013, 20:46
Here's the neighborhood hawk I mentioned above under the watchful eye of Quincy.


Arm out the window
10th May 2013, 20:48
Thirty + years later I still clearly remember watching a pelican gliding gracefully in ground effect along the shoreline of a long beach, so efficiently that there was no wing flapping at all over what seemed an incredibly long distance. It was a nice calm evening.

Approaching the only obstacle, a high jetty, one judicious wing flap hoisted the bird up and over, only to settle back down and continue along as if nothing had happened.

For a hefty lump of a bird, what a glider.

10th May 2013, 20:50
I'm very lucky and get to see gannets passing my window at home. I took this piccie last Monday from a boat.

Bryn the Sheepdog
10th May 2013, 21:14
In the Spring I have lots and lots of spare soft, fluffy undercoat which I make the Chief Spoilsport put onto the climbing rose in the back garden so that the birds can make lovely soft, warm nests for their babies. :ok:

10th May 2013, 22:36
A while back I witnessed a carrion crow attacking a rat which it had on its back and was alternately pecking at it, then jumping clear as the rat retaliated. Unfortunately I scared the crow off, and so had to go and finish off the rat with a spade. Strangely in spite of its name the carrion crow seemed uninterested in the dead rat and never returned for its meal.

We have always fed the birds near our kitchen window, and inevitably this does attract rats, which we keep down with traps and a .410. I have had people say that at the first sight of a rat they have immediately stopped feeding the birds, but personally I can co-exist with the odd rat, within reason and at a distance, and the nuisance is more than compensated for by the pleasure obtained from watching the birds feed. Even plain old house sparrows can be rewarding, particularly when you put fresh seed out and upwards of forty arrive for a feeding frenzy!

10th May 2013, 22:46
Great photo :ok:

I used to especially love feeding the birds in Winter in the UK
when food was scarce to come by.

We used to make puddings up of all the left overs including
dripping etc plus anything else that we could throw in.

They used to love it and I'm sure we kept many of the birds
alive over some of those long winters.

Used to like watching the tits hang from the nut baskets.

10th May 2013, 23:14
Bought a nut feeder recently and am greatly entertained watching the various birds feeding off it. My sons love it too, my six year old built a hide from kitchen chairs and a blanket so he could watch. Blue tits, sparrows and finches are the main diners. But I was amazed to see a Jackdaw get in on the act.

My garden has lots of bushes and frankly is a bird haven with a resident Blackbird couple and a Robin.

During the bad winter a couple of years ago a strange Scandinavian bird took up residence and dominated the garden.

I do like to appreciate my fellow aviators. Where I grew up I once saw a Sparrowhawk pluck it's prey out of midair just outside my bedroom window. Another time I caught a Magpie pecking a Sparrow. I chased it away but was forced to finish off the poor Sparrow with my foot.

But my best memory was of Seagulls slope soaring along the line of terraced houses on a windy day. You had to think, they're enjoying that because there is no good reason for it other than the joy of flying.

10th May 2013, 23:19

Re seagulls, I used to stay with my Grand parents down in Bournemouth
at what was called "the Albany", a very large block of flats on the cliff top.

Was awesome watching the seagulls from the balcony.

My whole family has been involved in Ornithology for years,
mainly catching birds, Swans and waders mainly.

G&T ice n slice
11th May 2013, 07:47
Up here in West Cumberland we've got jet-fighters performing quite impossible aerobatics with a flash of gunmetal, a flash of cream & yellow as they hurtle around the sky missing each other by inches, or whipping over the top surface of the beck, or performing high-speed ultra-low-level runs over the grass before pulling up into a reverse immelman.

They're called Swallows. I watch them for as long as the dog will tolerate me not throwing his ball for him.

We've got Buzzards, who on a calm sunny evening will perform in pairs, doing lazy barrell rolls & locking talons, swinging one another around.

We've got heavy air-interceptors in the form of crows, who will buzz the sailplaning buzzards continuously until they (the crows) feel happy they have moved the buzzards out of "crow airspace".

We've got lots of Lapwings, whose display flying is really "controlled crash" ... it really is "he's going to hit the ground.. oh .. well how did he miss it?"

We've got lots of Curlews who don;t do a lot, but do it very busily whilst trilling up the musical scale.

We've got Kingfishers, but by the time you've registered what you're seeing... you can't because they're gone.

We've got a lot of owls, there's nowt so un-nerving than being up the hills a way in the evening & have something huge, pale & silent float past 6 feet in front of you.

I am told we have got quite a lot of Ravens, but they stay well clear of humans & keep to the more inaccessible areas, but you can hear the occasiaonal "groak, groak" call.

We've got lots of the usual little birds as well... but we also seem now to have rather a lot of Magpies...

DX Wombat
11th May 2013, 10:53
G&T, it was at Rheged that I saw the four Oystercatchers doing their chatting up dance and at Ullswater where, several years ago, I saw the Golden Eagle soaring.
Earlier this year bad weather kept me in Somerset for three weeks during which time the local birds did their level best to eat me out of home and caravan. For the first few days most of them were happy with whatever I gave them - usually a few bits of bread and any scraps of cheese/bacon rind/apple cores etc but then I made a big mistake. I purchased some fat balls and mealworms as well as extra bread. From then on the daily menu had to vary. Some days the bread was gobbled up, others it was left until the next day. As soon as I opened the caravan door in the morning the feathered gourmets would assemble in the hedge awaiting their breakfast. The customers consisted of blackbirds, tree sparrows, various titmice, a wren, goldfinches, chaffinches and pied wagtails amongst others. And then there was the robin, a stroppy little character who thought nothing of turning up for an extra feed or two and making it very clear just what was required for the meal. Breadcrumbs? Not today thank you. Fatball? Likewise. Mealworms? Cheese? Eventually something on the menu would take his fancy and he would tuck in enthusiastically. I spent many happy hours watching them feed and also others visiting the site and surrounding fields. The dogs would sit on their bunk for ages watching the birds feed. All the extra cost was money well spent. When I return later in the year I shall make sure I bring plenty of food with me.
At the moment I am waiting for the swifts to return here which they usually do between 2nd and 10th May. Last year they were very late, arriving on 18th May just as I was beginning to think they had all perished en route.

Krystal n chips
11th May 2013, 12:43

Thanks for the sparrowhawk information. I have checked the various websites and most certainly a female that decided to dine alfresco as it were.

G n T....ah, yes, swallows. Swap the aerobatics at altitude, for, at least for me, the rare sight two years ago of them performing at low level, any by low, I mean within a couple of feet of the ground.

And then we have the low level delivery system known as.... the cormorant, again seen last week....made the various F-15's Typhoons and Hawks look like the.well, the Wright brothers first attempt.

For DX, the robin with attitude, well the one in my garden is put to shame by the blackbird couple....they trot across the grass, with that intimidating "we are here, were's the food !" look, not a trace of concern as they hang around under the window, just watching...and waiting.

And, if your caravan ever ends up in Dolgellau, this is the coffee shop to visit...the cakes, various and many flavours, are more like the size if house bricks...which has nothing to do with birds of course...:)

T.H.Roberts Restaurant Reviews, Dolgellau, United Kingdom - TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g552001-d1889124-Reviews-T_H_Roberts-Dolgellau_Snowdonia_National_Park_North_Wales_Wales.html)

Windy Militant
11th May 2013, 12:54
We've got a lot of owls, there's nowt so un-nerving than being up the hills a way in the evening & have something huge, pale & silent float past 6 feet in front of you.

Not as bad as the one we had at work when I was on shift cover. I don't know if it was protecting its territory or just enjoyed scaring the daylights out of people.
He used to lurk on the end of one of the buildings which was about fifty feet high, and as you walked past he'd drop down and swoop over your shoulder at zip feet and disappear into the dark.

DX Wombat
11th May 2013, 12:59
That place will definitely be on my list to visit. :) :ok: The robin made me smile because it would shout loudly to attract my attention then watch with a look which said "Surely you aren't expecting me to eat THAT are you?" as I put out different items for it to eat. This went on until I managed to arrive at the correct decision. Priceless. :D

11th May 2013, 14:41
For a lot of years my daily routine has started with making a coffee whilst being stared at by several pairs of eyes through the gap in the curtains.

I open the window and deposit a handfull of raisins on the sill as the Robin brushes past my hand making sure he gets at least one before the blackbirds clear the lot. This will all be repeated six or more times during the day.

Blackbirds never touch the peanuts or fatballs, which are dominated by the sparrows (around two dozen) which roost in the front garden. Peanuts are least popular, even with the various tits which feed in between sparrow visits.

I had a good laugh reading the fatball ingredients on the packet - "Warning! May contain nuts" - just what birds are allergic or can read? I ran out of fatballs from the petshop in the icy weather, so bought some from Morrisons. Still got them, the birds won't eat them.

I've seen just one rat a couple of times, but he hasn't returned since I dusted off my rifle and kept it handy. Not really bothered as long as he stays outside.

DX Wombat
11th May 2013, 15:04
Vulcanised, I found that the birds found the Morrisons' fatballs too hard to break into but once I split them, the fatballs NOT the birds :rolleyes: they could eat them. Might be worth a try.
One of the funniest things I ever saw happened at the farm where I used to keep my caravan. The owners had a large lawn which sported several birdfeeders on poles. I returned one evening to park the tin tent and spotted a moorhen - two feet off the ground, clinging on for dear life whilst it raided one of the feeders. :D

11th May 2013, 21:51
Rats don't bother me either, providing they stay away from the house. Inevitable having them if one is feeding birds, I suppose.

Inside the house I've had a pheasant, mice/voles/moles/shews etc. I once had a vole in bed. I turned back the duvet, and there sitting in bed was a vole! I managed to catch it and put it outside.

Did watch a rat and squirrel having a fight several times, the rat won each time. However, said rat has now been dispatched to rat heaven, we keep an eye on the numbers, and anything more than, say 3, and we control them.

We did (still do perhaps) have a weasel, which I guess also keeps the number of rats down to a reasonable level, so between the weasel, the wussy cat who can't catch anything larger than a very young rat, and the air rifle (hubby hits them either right between the eyes, or on the temple, no suffering for them), the population of rats doesn't become a problem.

11th May 2013, 23:20
One of my great pleasures in life is sharing the sunrise, the crossword and my morning coffee with the birds that inhabit my humble backyard. Oh, and some birdseed and mincemeat.
My first task is to put out some birdseed. The crested pigeons regard this as their personal property, having nested in the tree immediately above it, but the crimson rosellas have also laid claim. The crested pigeons at first defended vigorously, but the rosellas worked out that if they could make the CPs flap their wings, enough seed would be scattered for their needs. Both families have now reached an uneasy truce and will share (reluctantly).
Snowball the kookaburra sits and waits patiently on the clothesline until I notice him. Occasionally he will spot some delicacy and swoop on it, returning to his post until I bring him a some mincemeat. He then waits on the grass for me to toss him small pieces, which he catches, unless the interceptor butcher bird has arrived. BB prefers smaller pieces, which he snatches mid-air. The peewees (magpie larks) also arrive about now, darting about either my or Snowball's feet for small pieces that we may have dropped. As soon as the meat is gone, Snowball is away, while the peewees adjourn to the seed dish to gather the spillage at leisure.
These are the regular visitors. Occasionally a sulphur-crested cockatoo will take a break from devastating the neighbours' fruit trees to scout the seed dish, and has to be chased away with a wave of the newspaper, to the approval of the regulars. If all is quiet, a pair of king parrots may visit, or a native brown pigeon. Rarely, a lone eastern rosella will come down.
Meanwhile, the soldier birds remain staunchly self-sufficient, chasing interlopers from their end of the backyard. They regard the bird bath as their spa pool, but other birds are allowed to use it. Noblesse oblige, I believe it's called.
Life is good.

12th May 2013, 08:55
Re rats - I shot one last night (since my last post). As always I felt vaguely guilty about, but an instant death with a stomach full of birdseed is infinitely better than a lingering one caused by rat poison, which I've stopped using. There was, however, collateral damage, in that one of Mrs TTN's garden gnomes (yes, I know :O) got blown to pieces in the process. She really won't believe that it was an accident!

tony draper
12th May 2013, 09:11
Too much gun for a Rat Mr Tanker.:= :rolleyes:

12th May 2013, 09:38
The pleasure of living where we do :). If I'm not up by about 7 a one-eyed Sulphur Crested Cockatoo will fly down from where he has been patiently waiting to just outside our bedroom glass door, and gently remind us that it's breakfast time. After putting seed in the two bird feeders it's time to feed the Butcher Birds (our Spoodle used to summon me, but sadly she succumbed to pancreatitis last December). The Rainbow Lorikeets compete with the Cockatoos, and various Pidgeons/Doves clean up whatever falls on the ground.

Occasionally one of the local Kookaburras comes for a feed, and later in the day a pair of Magpies joins the pair of Butcher Birds in an uneasy truce while they all get fed. And all through the day various birds enjoy the birdbath. In spring the Butcher Birds will bring their new brood down to show them off, and we might get a baby Magpie too. One of the funniest sights is watching a Butcher Bird trying to feed a juvenile Magpie. The will is there, but the size dynamics work against them.

Oh yes, sometimes we get a short-term infestation of mice or rats, but then the local Coastal Carpet Python moves in and clears it all up. Nature works well.

DX Wombat
12th May 2013, 09:52
David, my brother has a flock of OzMagpies which turn up several times a day to be fed - great characters. :) He also has an almond tree from which, in all the years he has lived there, he has had precisely ONE almond. There is nothing wrong with the tree, it produces a heavy crop but each year as they ripen a flock of Western Black Parrots makes a daily evening airborne patrol to check on the progress of the almonds until one evening they descend en masse and strip the tree. My brother doesn't mind, as he says, he can go to the shops and buy almonds when he wants some and the sight of all those rare birds in his garden more than makes up for any inconvenience. :ok:

12th May 2013, 10:10
The magpies are the ones with style. They strut around as they own the place, and will either ignore, befriend or attack you as the mood takes them.
We had a family who would stroll through my workshop from front to back, or sit on the jointer if they wanted a snack.
They raised many generations of chicks to whom we were introduced. On was attacked by mites that raised bleeding nodules on its legs, so I baited the cat trap with some meat and set it where baby maggie strolled. In about 5 minutes he was inside, so we held him and coated his legs with paraffin oil. I expected that he would be away as soon as I released him, but he merely fluffed his feathers, and in less than half an hour was back in the workshop looking for more food.

Magpies are labradors with wings.

BTW, the oil worked.

12th May 2013, 10:19
Too much gun for a Rat Mr Tanker.:= :rolleyes:

T'was only a .410 Mr D. Havent got a licence for a .22 and I doubt if I'd hit a rat with one anyway!

Damned unsporting of the rat to try and hide behind the gnome ;)

12th May 2013, 10:23
Used to like watching the tits hang from the nut baskets.
Now that conjures up a titillating image, or two. Milligan would have taken that notion right off track into vistas of, as he phrased it, 'pneumatic bliss'.

Once we had a tame butcher bird that was raised from a nestling that had fallen from her nest. For a year as she matured she lived in the kitchen, roosting at night on the top of a large bulky picture frame. Her name was firstly Albert, but when sex was determined, changed to Albertina. She would fly off for the day, coming back frequently to swoop into the kitchen to check things out. Then one sad day she did not.

One of the distinctive things about this bird is its undeviating direct flight. Albertina would often disconcert visitors by flying in fast at a shallow descent angle from behind, touching lightly the head of the human to continue on at speed.

Bird brain? My foot!

One of the many delightful books about the character of birds is by that great nature writer Henry Williamson. - 'The Scandaroon'. Henry's son John was a celebrated glider pilot who competed in national and international competitions. John had a beautiful story he told about the funeral of his dad at a little graveyard deep in the Devon countryside. The weather that day was foul all over the south of England. But at the moment the minister officiating finished speaking at the graveside there was a brief clearing and a thinning of the cloud overhead. The more amazing thing was that a large swarm of bees appeared of a sudden causing the mourners to flee into the church. As John Willy said "Make of that what you will".

http://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/images/stories/nature%20stories_tiny.jpg (http://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/images/stories/nature_stories.jpg)

Collected Nature Stories
Macdonald, 1970; p/b edn Little Brown, 1995.
(The Peregrineís Saga, The Old Stag, Tales of Moorland and Estuary).

http://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/images/stories/scandaroon_tiny.jpg (http://www.henrywilliamson.co.uk/images/stories/scandaroon.jpg)
The Scandaroon
Macdonald, 1972.
Henry Williamsonís last book tells the story of a boy and a pigeon, the pigeon-racing world, and the poisoning of peregrine falcons who kill the pigeons to eat. The human details and descriptive narrative combine to make a classic story.

tony draper
12th May 2013, 10:30
Probably the most intelligent of the flying critters id the Magpie,once witnessed two of them what can only be described as taking the piss out of a cat.
Cat in the middle of the path.
Cat in the middle of the road,Magpie lands about ten feet in front of Moggie and cackles at mog,
Mog goes into crouch down stalking mode and moves forward,Magpie stares at mog then takes off cackling just as cat about to sping,second Maggie lands about ten feet behind cat cackling,mog spins round and does the stalking thing again with the same result,this went on for some time the cat getting hopping mad,eventually Magpies get bored and fly off laughing their heads off.

12th May 2013, 11:46
Our Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are not as noisy as the Corellas, which are both noisy, and try and take over. The big Cockatoo fights them off, but many others just give in. One really appreciates the term 'pecking order' when watching these birds.

I forgot to mention the pair of King Parrots that come at quiet times, and Eastern Rosellas and Crimson Rosellas that also come at quiet times.

@DXWombat - yes, the Magpies are great characters, and sometimes come inside to see why I'm taking so long. I agree about the Cockatoos and the the almonds. I have been known to let the SC Cockatoos do the same with a previous passionfruit vine.

@Hydromet - somewhere nearby will be the mate of the lonely Eastern Rosella - they tend to be around in pairs. Magpies = Labradors with wings :ok:

13th May 2013, 07:44
SWMBO has a 'clairvoyant' friend who found a tiny white feather in our garden. Pronounced to everyone that an Angel had visited us recently. Shortly afterwards our local sparrowhawk
mother demolished one of our resident wood pigeons in a huge burst of white feathers and in full view of us. My cynicism knew no bounds and the 'clairvoyant' kept quiet [thank you mother Accipiter nisus!] for the rest of the day......... :)

13th May 2013, 08:34
Talking about pigeons:

Tom Lehrer - Poisoning Pigeons In The Park - YouTube

13th May 2013, 08:49
Often used to see an owl in the area. MrsP was sceptical until she found an owl pellet on the patio. "See! I told you so". <smug smiley>

Windy Militant
13th May 2013, 09:03
Had some fun with some ducks this morning on the way to work.
Coming through a narrow part of a Hamlet I espyed said ducks in the road and as they have right of way I stopped to let them cross.
At this point a woman in one of those baby BMWS made in Cowley came the other way.
She slowed and blew her horn to try and get our feathered friends out of the way.
Well Mrs duck had now reached the pavement, but Mr Duck must have thought there was a big Duck after his missus with all this honking so he stopped reared up to full height and waggled his tail. Mrs Duck gave him the look all wives give their husbands when they misbehave.
More honking from both sides but Mr duck would not yield.
At this point a couple of cars rolled up behind me so I had to take a hand.
Rolling down my window I asked politely if he would move off the road, then I resorted to the usual method of banging on the door with my hand.
After a sharp look and an indignant waggle of the tail he waddled off the road and into the garden they were obviously intending to vist in the first place, and we all went on our way after a very old fashioned look from the baby BMW driver, probably because instead of shooing Mr Duck out of the way immediately, I just sat there laughing my socks off at the dueling honkers!

Milo Minderbinder
13th May 2013, 20:37
Ducks on the roof.....

Its not common, but its certainly not unknown. I've seen it several times.

13th May 2013, 20:45
My parents have some resident Magpies that come and knock
on the front door for a feed. And since they now have young
they are teaching them the same thing.

They also have ducks that come to visit and swim and then hang around
for a nice feed of corn etc. They have bred in the garden which makes it
interesting, although they tend to catch them all and take them to the local