Garden Birdlife in the Pandemic

By | February 9, 2021

There aren’t many positives to come out of the Coronavirus pandemic, and I have no data to back this up, but with less people out and about messing up and polluting the environment, it would make sense that Mother Nature has been able to take advantage.

A simple way of observing whether there’s any truth in this, whilst locked down, locked in, or locked up, has to look out of the window and see what’s been going on in the garden.  I’ve had bird feeders in the garden for years, generally maintained and topped up regularly, and which have proved reasonably popular with most common garden visitors. I’ve never considered myself as a student of bird life: my interest has been more to do with capturing photographs.  But over time, it’s become obvious that birds from the tit and finch families would take advantage of the feeders, ably assisted by a few ground feeders, who would wander around under the feeders, clearing up spillage.  But through the duration of the pandemic, changes have been afoot.

What has proved interesting, and maybe inexplicable, is the way the most common visiting species varies.  A few years ago, the feeders were smothered in greenfinches – I hardly ever see one now.  Instead, there’s an endless stream of goldfinches, waiting to grab a place on the feeders, although they do have to wait their turn when the parakeets are in town.

Some weeks back, a green woodpecker was making an extensive study of the lawn and hung out long enough for me to get my camera and a long lens set up to grab a few shots.  It proved to be a watershed moment, or was it just a case of being lazy, as I left the camera set up on the tripod and whenever I happened to pass, and saw some bird action in the garden, then it was quite easy to grab a few shots.  It slowly became apparent that there were species popping in that had never registered with me before.

For the first time in years, I saw a sparrow in the garden, and then some chaffinches.  Both species are very common, but not in my back garden!  Likewise, a thrush and a wren were spotted, and then that moment when something shows up that has you diving for bird recognition websites – in fact, there were two such moments.  Firstly, the appearance of a blackcap, which threw me a bit as it was a female and therefore had a brown, or chestnut cap, although the male has been frequently spotted as well!!  Secondly, a pair of redwings were spotted, and which seem to have taken up residency.

Follow this link to see a selection of the photos, and for anyone who wants to know the geeky stuff, they were all shot on a Nikon D750, with a Tamron 150-600mm zoom, edited in Lightroom with some assistance from the excellent Topaz DeNoise.

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