Well I have to confess at the start that I haven't a big garden , but that I'm surrounded by a veritable wilderness. Plumped in the middle of bleak grass moor at around 60m above sea level, with the eastern Atlantic seabord just over a kilometre away, the area comes into its own in Spring , but from late summer onwards is a little devoid of life.
Now I also have to say that the above photograph wasn't taken this morning ( we didn't have snow/frost ) , but it adequately shows how bleak the situation is as dawn breaks. This morning pre-dawn showers hurled themselves against the bedroom window and the wind was howling , all of which hardly suggested the garden would be hooching with birds!!
And so it was! But, in the spirit of Olympics, the objective is to take part, as opposed to get the highest total, ( thanks for that "get out" I have to say ). This morning I had three Blackbirds and a Dunnock ( THE Robin appears to have disappeared ). Not a great showing I have to admit, but it underscores quite well how valuable gardens can be in supporting our birdlife in winter. Life in the wider countryside can be pretty unproductive in many ways in winter,and unrelenting too, all of which can be exacerbated if really bad weather arrives. Nearby gardens, and treat this as relative as birds are known to travel extensively to "productive" feeding spots, can be a veritable life saver in such times. Obviously a lot of birds move southwards in winter and many garden visitors will be from distant far flung areas alongside more local , resident species. Gardens are , therefore, important in a wide context. To offset the low number of birds in my own garden I reminded myself that my three Blackbirds might well be of Continental origin and I could ,therefore, take pride in providing an "International facility" too!!
Once the numbers are put together by RSPB I think the role gardens play in terms of supporting bird life will be self evident. Long may it continue as, set against general habitat losses, gardens continue to play an important role in sustaining our winter bird populations.
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