Update on the Garden Birds

In the last couple of weeks’ I’ve seen a slightly greater variety of Bird species in the garden. I’ve spotted my first Green woodpecker of the year and also Crested Tits, Long-Tailed Tits and Wrens. All of them occasional visitors that typically I see more of during the winter.

With this in mind I produced a little graph to show the weekly variation of different bird species recorded throughout the year. As would be expected the results show generally fewer different species during the summer months but I’ll keep recording to confirm the trends.

Following the last Bird Log update, where I had undertaken the regular Garden Bird survey, I was contacted by the LPO, the French version of the RSPB, as I share the results on their website. They had a few questions. They were surprised at the number of birds, specifically, Great Tits, that I was recording.

I had an exchange with a very nice chap called Christian.

I explained my method of performing the survey, recording the number of times a bird enters the garden during the hour, taking no consideration if these were different individual birds. The very nice man, still Christian, pointed out that I was doing it wrong.

The correct way to make the survey is to record the maximum number of birds seen in the garden simultaneous during the hour of observation. So, for example the maximum number of Great Tits seen at the same time, not the number of times a Great Tit enters and leaves the garden.

Therefore I modified my method, I made the first survey on the 11th November 2020 and I will keep adding the results, hopefully on a weekly basis as we go through the Winter.  

Sorry Christian.

I’ve also been closely watching the Great Tit behaviour and to help my understanding I’ve been doing some supplementary reading. The book is shown below. It’s quite heavy going, not for the casual reader, but it does contain a lot of good info.

In my garden I’ve definitely noticed territorial behaviour. Whenever a Great Tit or a Blue Tit lands on the ‘Red Robin’ bush just in front of the next box, shown in the photo below, they are within minutes chased away by another Great Tit. I can’ tell if it is always a male doing this chasing or not.

This indicates that a Male or perhaps a pair are permanently based in the garden, it is their home territory and they are defending it from other birds. They will tolerate other ‘roaming’ birds on the feeders in the garden but not so close to the nest Box.

My ‘heavy’ reading tells me that this is quite normal behaviour. A Great Tit will defend a territory during winter and stay there, especially if there is sufficient food, as there is in my garden. If food becomes scarcer or the weather turns very bad, they may start moving, typically by joining a roaming flock. Only coming back to reclaim and defend their territory when the weather gets better in late winter or early spring.

So it looks like my home Great Tit(s) are still here and are defending the nest box for use next spring.

3 thoughts on “Update on the Garden Birds

  1. Interesting stuff, James!
    What we need is a really hard winter to bring in a nice big range of birds to your garden and the feeders.
    Although that might have its downside to our already weakened spirits, following the lockdown.


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