For years, my wife and I have put food out in the garden for the birds, and since it is the coldest December for 30 years they really seem to appreciate it. I made point of saving some windfall apples from the autumn and the blackbirds love them.
Last weekend we went upmarket and bought some niger seed. Niger seed (also known as nyjer seed or thistle seed) is a small black seed that is supposed to be very attractive to linnets, siskins and goldfinches. I’m very fond of our usual tits, sparrows, chaffinches and starlings, but this seemed like a good opportunity to have some ‘classier’ birds in the garden.
So out went the niger seed on Saturday. By Monday, my wife reported new birds in the garden. And there they were, a very handsome pair of goldfinches! They really are very striking birds to see – very colourful. Almost like having a tropical bird in the garden.
All in all, a good result for the niger seed. Incidentally, as I was thumbing through my book of birds last night, I came across the page on long-tailed tits. I’d never seen one of these, and I decided to keep an eye out for them.
Strangely enough, I was in my car down the lane this afternoon, when a small flock of birds starting working their way up the hedgerow towards me. Yes, you’ve guessed it – they were long-tailed tits! It’s odd how this sort of thing keeps happening…