Thursday, 4 June 2009

Juvenile Jeopardy and Sunny Days!

What a busy time for the birds it is at the moment, there seem to be youngsters everywhere! A few days ago there was something of a drama in my garden. As I mentioned on my last post the Starlings are being particularly boisterous and noisy. The fat treats are being devoured as fast as I put them out and the poor little Tits are hardly getting a look in! I'm sure there are many people who have a fat ball holder like the one above.

Well, a few days ago I had been working in the garden quite close to this feeder, when something caught my attention and it really was double take time! Squashed into the feeder was a juvenile Starling with only its head protruding, upside-down, from one of the spaces. The poor thing was making no noise at all (very unusual for a Starling!), although it was moving its head around a lot, and had obviously been there all the time I had been in the garden and goodness knows how much longer! It may not have been panicking but I certainly was, I was frightened to go too close as I cannot bear to see suffering and was at a complete loss to know what to do to help it, if I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it was possible for such a large bird to get into such a narrow space and it was clear there was no easy way to get it out.

I ran indoors to phone HLH who was out on an errand and I was in such a state I could hardly use the phone and kept hitting wrong keys. Thankfully, just as I was doing so I heard the car coming up the drive. HLH too was flummoxed to begin with but decided the only thing to do was to attempt to cut the poor thing out of the holder. Luckily he has inherited a large collection of tools from his Dad who was a very practical man; HLH isn't :( among these he found a very small pair of wire cutters.

With great gentleness he gradually cut away the wire struts around the middle of the holder until it was in two pieces and as he removed the top part the Starling burst out and immediately hopped behind a large shrub! I was so relieved but would have liked to get a better look at it as one wing looked a bit crumpled.

Every time I looked behind the shrub it hopped to the opposite end and as I didn't want to distress it further I scattered some seed and put a small dish of water nearby.

When I looked an hour or so later there was no sign of it so I am hoping it has recovered. However two days ago I heard a scrabbling noise and a juvenile Starling somehow lurched itself over the fence and onto the birdbath and one of its wings was spread out strangely, it then disappeared back over the fence in the same way. Whether it is the same one, I really don't know, but it does worry me.

On a happier note the (not very good) photos below show some of the juveniles that have been visiting the garden in the past week or so.

The Winter Flowering Cherry tree above looks sparse because I think the snow and frost affected it, I actually thought I was going to lose it but it is just showing signs of recovery.


This little juvenile Blue Tit was so happy to be alive.

'Sweet bird! thy bow'r is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
Thou has't no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year.'
(John Logan)

'Who's that down there?

'Looking up here at me!'

'I think I look like a fluffy Easter Chick!'

This photo of a juvenile Greenfinch had to be cropped as it was taken between washing hanging on the line and I didn't think you would be interested in my bath towels (they're not even juvenile, in fact they're quite elderly) ;)

This juvenile Robin was enjoying the sunshine.

As was this juvenile Dunnock also known as the Hedge Sparrow.

'The coy hedge sparrow flaps her wing
& hops about the hedges
& soon to brood the early Spring
Will have some downy pledges'
(John Clare)

The hot weather in the last few days has meant lots of watering in the garden especially as I have been planting some annuals which my sister-in-law grew from seed in her greenhouse. If the slugs and snails spare them they should look lovely when they flower.

I have Antirrhinums flowering in the garden which survived the icy Winter

and Foxgloves.

'To keep her slender fingers from the sunne
Pan through the pastures oftentimes hath runne,
To pluck the speckled foxglove from their stemme
And on those fingers neatly placed them.'
(William Browne of Tavistock)

This shrub is just starting to flower but I have completely forgotten what it is called.

On one of our local walks with our dog a few days ago we very appropriately saw... this Dog Rose!

'When the spring came forth in her May-day mood,

Methought 'twas a beautiful sight to see,

'Mid the bursting buds by the zephyr wooed,
The green leafy sprays of the wild-briar tree.

When the sunbeams shone with a warmer glow,
And the honied bells were sipped by the bee,

Could the woodlands a lovelier garland show,
Than the wreath that hung on the wild-briar tree.'
(S. Waring)

We also saw


Red Campion

'None can have a healthy love for flowers
Unless he loves the wild ones'
(Forbes Watson)

White Campion

It was lovely to walk through here in the shade, as although it was early evening, it was still very warm. As we did so...

we saw this.

'In riding a horse we borrow freedom'
(Helen Thomson)

We heard lots of unidentifiable :( bird song as well as one or two which I did recognise such as Chiffchaff and as we wended our way back towards home, singing its little heart out high in a tree, we glimpsed the inevitable...


Finally, as I started this post with someone who had shown far too much interest in the suet treats hanging in the apple tree, I will finish with someone else who constantly tries to find a way of reaching them!



  1. so many lovely things...the story of the i hope it does do glad you were able to free the poor thing. all your babies look so adorable. i am not at home to see my new fledglings but soon. you have blooms i have never even heard of (campion and sainfoin)...i love the wildflowers.
    so glad you have been walking about enjoying the outdoors and weather.

  2. ...Wow! What a beautiful post with so much to read and enjoy. The narrow escape of the starling was exciting...great drama. I hope he is okay--it sounds like he is. Such cute little babies too, I especially love your series with the bird saying "look up at me"--such a cute little bird! Beautiful flowers...

  3. I know how you felt with the trapped juvenile Starling as I had a dazed one a couple of days ago which had flown full speed into the conservatory window.

    Charming pictures of the young birds (especially the Dunnock and Robin) and flowers.

    I'm not sure but could the white flowered shrub be a spirea. I used to have one which gave an absolute mass of white flowers every year. Small picture at:

    As for Louis - tell him it will make him fat and he won't be able to chase the cats. Great photo that!

  4. Hi there ShySongbird :-)

    Great to catch up with all the action in your garden at the moment. What a wonder series of photos – fav outright has to be the juvenile Dunnock. I love that little bird. Not sure I’m seeing any juvs here at the moment. Will keep and eye out. A new family of fledged House sparrows have been in this morning – they have all stayed together (five I think). It really is a great time of the year to be watching the garden isn’t it?

    Oh my… what a drama with the young Starling. Glad it appeared to end well but I can imagine how frantic you’d have been trying to get it out of the feeder. Mine follow the smaller birds around hoping even they will feed them. Perhaps a Blue tit went inside your feeder and the Starling copied :-o

    Loved the flower shots too, I am enjoying the red campion in my garden at the moment too. Enjoy the rest of your week. You’ll need a rest now ;-)

  5. Your posts are just beautiful, so much going on and such lovely poems too. Glad you managed to rescue the Starling, goodness knows how it got so stuck!

  6. I'm glad you found that little Starling in time to free it. I had a very sad couple days watching a baby Starling starve to death. It was smaller than the others but was strong at first and flew around a bit but it got weaker and the mom never fed it. It was such a sad thing to watch. There was nothing I could do for it. It died after hours of suffering. I hope your little one made it. I love all your photos of the baby birds. They are so cute. What a lovely spot for a walk and coming across a horse rider too! Neat!!

  7. More drama, beauty,lovely birds and glorious words.Your blog is a treat to see.Adore all your babies and am patiently waiting to see a little goldie.Now I know what to look for

  8. Poor Starling! I do love to see them coming to the bird table even if they are a bit loutish they are hugely entertaining with their squabbles.

  9. Hope the Starling makes it ok. At least you did your best for it.
    So good to see all the youngsters around this time of year, love that little Dunnock. And a perfect description for the Blue Tits, fluffy Easter chicks. lol
    You've got plenty of flowers out in the garden; mine has some catching up to do :(

  10. Hi Shysongbird,

    A great post and some really nice photos. The juvenile Starlings have now arrived in our garden so I imagine the garden will be a very noisy place for a few weeks.

    A starling did exactly the same thing in our fat ball feeder last year. My dad was able to free it though and it was ok :)

  11. I'm so glad you stopped by my blog. It led me back to yours and I'm enjoying it so much. Some of your birds look very similar to the ones in N. America. The goldfinch is similar and jay looks a lot like our blue jays.

    I had a starling somehow get into the house a few days ago. I have three cats in the house so I was afraid I wouldn't get the bird out alive. I managed to throw a towel over him and scoop him up. He flew away outside unhurt. Hope that old superstition about birds in the house isn't true;)

  12. Hi Jan...aaaah dear Nella does the same thing.....

    Poor starling, it sounds as if it may be the same bird. I worry when these things happen.....I cannot bear suffering...perhaps he will recover with your tlc...

    I have lots of young birds in the garden at the moment.....the blues tits are delightful, are they not?

    My cherry is not looking too great....I think, like you, that the harsh winter took its toll.....

    Lovely post and I just love your prose and poetry......

  13. Blimey sonbird, quite a day!! Well done on freeing the Starling, they are tough little blighters, I'm sure it will survive. Your garden seems like mine - full of fledgelings. I got a pic. of one today too.

  14. A great read and lovely photos. I do hope the starling makes it okay.

  15. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.
    Some years ago we would buy suet balls that were wrapped in mesh and hung from the trees. Like you, we were working outside when we realised a small downy woodpecker had caught himself in the mesh. My husband held it while I carefully cut away the mesh to free his leg. I immediately cut the ball down and no longer use them. I don't know whose heart was beating faster mine or the birds!
    The white flowering shrub may be spirea, I have something similar that we call Bridal Veil, it has long arching branches?
    I enjoyed your photos of the birds and your walk. I shall bookmark your site and come back to visit again.

  16. Lovely photos :)

    Spring/Summer is such a wonderful time of year as we get to see all the new life around us.

    It's a shame to hear about your Cherry, mine is doing well despite our deep snow (6inches or more). My problem at the moment is some sort of silver aphid thing on its young shoots that I have to regularly squidge off - won't be possible soon once it's a mature tree!

  17. Wonderful photos of your world Songbird-...I hope your Starling is gonna make it, we had a black snake get hung up in some deer netting I had placed around the garden, unfortunately I didnt find him in time...HOPE your Cherry makes it!

  18. Poor little Starling--I hope his wing heals and he recovers from his ordeal. Lucky you were able to rescue him. I hope your Cherry Tree recovers as well.

    Your shots of all the birds in your garden are just lovely, as well the Red Campion and Antirrhinums. I don't believe I have ever seen it before--beautiful

  19. Marmee, Kelly, Midmarsh John and Shirl: Thank you.

    Marmee, thank you very much, I do hope the Starling recovered fully, it is fun seeing the youngsters but not when they get themselves into trouble!
    It looks like our lovely spell of weather may be coming to an end as it is dull today with rain forecast for the weekend, hope you are still having a wonderful holiday.

    Kelly, thank you so much, it was quite a drama and I hope not to have that problem again! That little Blue Tit was not very long fledged I think and was enjoying exploring the garden.

    Midmarsh John, thank you for your comments, window strikes do seem to be a hazard, we had a perfect imprint of a Sparrowhawk on ours last year, there was no sign of it in the garden so I think it must have been okay.
    Thank you for the trouble you went to with the plant ID and I think you may well be right, at first I thought not as I have a Spirea in another part of the garden which is totally different, leaves, flowers and shape, but after investigation it seems there are many different types, Sheila also kindly gave me the same ID so I think there is not much doubt.
    I gave Louis your message but he says he is willing to take the risk ;)

    Shirl, thank you very much. The juvenile Dunnock was very close to where I was sitting on a garden bench, so it was nice to be able to take photos so close. I have seen a pair of House Sparrows visiting the feeders, which is good as we don't see many lately, but no sign of any young yet.
    Yes it was rather a drama with the Starling and one I hope not to repeat!
    I have only ever seen Red Campion in the wild but I think it would look rather nice in the garden.
    I hope you have a great weekend and that the weather is not too unkind to you.

  20. Pam, Ginny, Sheila and Re: Thank you,

    Pam, thank you for your very kind comments. It was incredible to see such a large bird squashed into such a narrow space and I hope never to see it again :) I think it shows though, what determined birds Starlings are and that they will do almost anything to get food!

    Ginny, thank you very much. What a very sad story about your little Starling, it must have been heart-breaking to see. It is dreadful to see creatures suffer and upsets me so much.
    It is such fun to see all the new juveniles in the garden, such a busy time.
    That is one of our regular walks and there are horses kept quite close by so we do see them quite often which is nice.

    Sheila, thank you for your lovely comments, you are so kind. I'm afraid the photos of the juvenile Goldfinches weren't very good but I wanted to post them, with you particularly in mind, as I remember you saying you weren't sure what to look for. I'm sure you will have some in your garden before long as you get such a wonderful range of birds visiting.

    Re, thank you, yes the Starlings are very entertaining and so very noisy, extremely greedy too ;)

  21. Holdingmoments, Joe, Roses and Lilacs and Cheryl: Thank you.

    Keith, thank you very much, I'm just so glad I spotted the Starling before it was too late.
    It was nice to be so close to the little Dunnock, I was sat on a garden seat and it was very close to me.
    There is still work to be done in the garden, it never seems to end, the snails are after the new plants and I suspect will be even more so if we get the rain we are threatened with :(

    Joe, thank you for your kind comments. I think I may look around to see if there are any safer fat ball feeders on the market, especially as you say you had the same unfortunate experience last year!
    I am guessing your garden is getting very noisy now, they always seem to come in gangs and devour as much of the food as they can. They are entertaining to watch but it does seem to intimidate the smaller birds!
    Have a great weekend.

    Roses and Lilacs, welcome! Thank you very much for visiting and for your very kind comments.
    I'm so sorry for not identifying the bird in the first photo, which I think is the one you thought was a Jay, in fact it is an adult Blue Tit which is a very small bird (about 4.5 inches long) but after looking at the North American Blue Jay I can see why there was confusion as the colouring is very similar.
    I'm so glad you managed to rescue your Starling, we had one in the house some years ago and I think we used the same method as you to remove it, it had come down a chimney so left quite a sooty mess around the room!

    Cheryl, thank you so much for your lovely comments. I hope the Starling did survive, suffering upsets me immensely.
    Yes I love seeing the little Blue Tits they seem so happy to have discovered the big wide world and that one was definitely playing peekaboo with me ;)
    I really thought I was going to lose my Cherry which would have been devastating but it does seem to be picking up now, I hope yours does too.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  22. Warren, Oldcrow61, Sheila and Liz: Thank you.

    Warren, thank you. I do hope you are right about the Starling surviving and yes they do seem tough so that gives me hope. There do seem to be youngsters everywhere and they are eating me out of house and home!
    I had a quick look at your beautiful pics of Blue Tits last night, just lovely. I will be back over to comment shortly.

    Oldcrow, thank you very much for your kind comments, I hope it survives too but if it doesn't I think I would prefer not to find out!

    Sheila, welcome and thank you for visiting and for your kind comments.
    It really is frightening having to deal with something like that isn't it? I am going to look around to see if there is a feeder that might be safer than the present one which I haven't used since that happened.
    Thank you very much for the plant ID and I think you are right, Midmarsh John had the same suggestion so I think that clears it up.
    I do hope you visit again, you will be most welcome.

    Liz, thank you very much. I'm glad your Cherry is doing well, mine is just starting to show signs of recovery. Something always seems to have a go at the leaves on mine but it is too mature to be able to pick them off and I really don't want to use chemicals, so I have to put up with it. Hopefully the birds will help me out if the culprits are to their taste!

  23. Loved reading about the starling being freed. You've got tons of birds visiting your garden. Wow...just went through your older posts and I know I'll just have to come back again and again... Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. I'm glad it gave me an opportunity to be here.

  24. A beautiful set of prints shysongbird! That story about the trapped starling is incredible! So pleased you helped the little mite out! hope its ok. Stunning pics of the fledglings, they are a delight!And love the rest of the pics, and especially your doggy!!!x

  25. What a wonderful post!!! I love baby robins..
    We had a drama here..something got my baby bluebirds..and I think their mom...and killed them..

    I was SO sad..

    my first nesting here of bluebirds ends in tragedy..
    I hope they try again

  26. Kanak Hagjer, Karen, SweetAnnee: Thank you.

    Kanak, welcome and thank you very much for visiting and for your very kind comments.
    Yes there are quite a lot of birds in the garden at the moment and bringing their young ones with them. They are consuming an enormous amount of seed, and even the birdbath is having to be replenished twice daily.
    It is lovely to be able to have contact with so many nice people from all over the world in this way and I do hope you visit again, you are most welcome.

    Karen, thank you very much for your generous comments. It certainly was quite a drama at the time and not one I want to repeat ;)
    It is a joy to see all the fledglings and juveniles, such a busy time for the birds!
    Louis says thank you too, he loves compliments!

    Deena, thank you for your lovely comments. I was so sorry to hear about your poor Bluebirds, I did read about it on your site. What a very sad end. I had a Robin's nest raided and all the babies killed by a cat some years ago, I was devastated.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed for your BC Chickadees, I do hope they have a happy outcome.

  27. young goldfinches look ssssooo odd don't they!!

  28. Thanks for visiting my blog. I do hope the little bird is ok, I guess with rest and food it will have a good chance.

  29. Great feeling Jan to see all the new young life enjoying their first explorations.

  30. Pete, Chris and The Early Birder: Thank you.

    Pete, they certainly do, sort of bald somehow!

    Chris, welcome and thank you very much for visiting. I can only hope it has survived but I don't suppose I will ever know for sure.

    Frank, yes it is lovely to see them enjoying and exploring the big wide world.

  31. I always love reading you blog Jan it is so well put together and the little poems and words are just lovely.
    I have two or three of those holders mind and I've been watching them very closely since reading your blog!!!
    We also have a small white fluffy monster (Charley Dog) who would just love to get his snout in those holders - LOL

  32. Fabulous snaps of birds and flowers.

  33. Jayne, thank you so much for your lovely comments, you are very kind.

    I think if the holder had been full it wouldn't have happened, but they had been emptying it in just a few hours and the one who got stuck was trying to reach one tiny piece, I haven't used it since but they still visit in droves to check it out and devour anything else they can get their beaks on!

    Louis says he is more than willing to give Charley Dog a few tips on eating things he shouldn't ;)

  34. Rajesh, welcome and thank you very much for visiting and for your generous comments. I hope you visit again, you will be most welcome any time.

  35. Hello there, thanks for stopping by my blog. It's been so nice to meet you. I have enjoyed my visit. Love your photos. I'm hoping for the best for that little starling, all the other little bird photos are wonderful and the flowers, and Louise? How adorable she is. I'll be back here too.

  36. Denise, welcome and thank you for visiting and for your very kind comments. I enjoyed visiting you too and reading about your childhood in the UK.

    The Starlings seem to be everywhere at the moment and they are so noisy and greedy! But entertaining to watch when they are not getting into trouble!!

    I thought it best not to tell Louis that you mistook him for a girl, just in case it upset his manly pride :)

    I hope you visit again, you will be very welcome indeed.

  37. I so enjoyed your post. Thank you! I too would have been worried about the starling. I hope he is okay,
    Perhaps the white flowering bush is a spirea. I have a few in my backyard and the bloom looks the same.
    I loved the walk in the woods. I enjoy seeing all your wildflowers they are different than mine.
    Always love to see your birds. I also have lots of kids in the is grand to know the birds were successful in raising their young.
    Enjoy the day,

  38. I loved the picture of Louis, so cute!

    You sound like me I hate to see suffering, I would have been in a right state as well, fingers crossed the starling is ok now.

    You do take the most beautiful pictures!

    Love to you and Louis…from me and Poppy xxxxxx

  39. Sherry, thank you so much for your comments. I have to hope it is OK, the alternative is too upsetting.

    Thank you for mentioning the Spirea, as you, John and Sheila have all suggested the same name I'm pretty sure that it is the correct ID.

    Yes it really is lovely to see all the young birds around and all so happy to be alive.

    Have a lovely week.

  40. Lou, thank you for your lovely comments. Louis is determined that one day he will manage to climb the tree to get at the birds' goodies, he is practising regularly ;)

    I cannot bear to hear of, or see, suffering, HLH has been known to cut newspaper reports of cruelty etc. out of newspapers before I see them as it upsets me so much! I'm far too sensitive for my own good I suppose!

    I hope you are having a much better week than last! Lots of love and XXXX to you and Poppy.

  41. Really Lovely Blog You Have !! You Have Shown Horses,Sparrows,Trees,Pups And Many More..Great To Read Your Blog..Thanks For Sharing All This With Me..I Am Sure Will Be Back To Chk Out More..I have statred a new website And Would Like You To Check It .Unseen Rajasthan
    for travels and tours.

  42. Unseen Rajasthan, welcome and thank you for visiting and for your generous comments. It is a pleasure to share with you and you are very welcome to visit any time .

  43. Ah, so THAT'S what a juvenile robin looks like. I knew the young males didn't have the red breast of a mature male. The subdued colouring protects them from attack by the adult males, who are aggressively territorial.

    Your photos are gorgeous! I'm glad I found you via Wytchwood Ramblings!

    Ali @ A Second Age

  44. Ali, welcome, thank you for visiting and for your very kind comments. It is always nice to see the juvenile Robins with their speckled breasts which within two to three months will go when they have a partial moult, they certainly do look sweet when they are speckly though.

    Do please visit again, I will have a peek at your site very soon.

  45. I do hope your Starling or Starlings are ok. What bad luck for them. You have taken wonderful bird (and little ones no less) pictures. That last little guy (who looks like the fuzzy easter chick) is adorable - your comments with the pics made it even better. Then on to flowers - WoW you just have everything there, great birds, beautiful flowers - looks pretty close to heaven to me!

  46. RainGardener, Thank you for your lovely comments. The Starlings always seem mischievous to me but that one certainly went a little too far! I think the little Blue Tit probably hadn't been out of the nest very long judging by how fluffy it looked, it definitely seemed glad to be alive. Whether it has been quite so happy in the heavy storms we have had in the last week I don't know!

    Thanks very much for visiting. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  47. A quick visit for now.
    There is an AWARD on my blog for you.
    Just pop in and pick it up.

  48. I found your starling drama so gripping...Oh, I would have panicked, too. We had a chipmunk who found a way to go inside our bird feeder many times and ate so much it seemed like it was stuck inside. I ran to tell my husband and fortunately while I was gone the chimpunk managed to get out.
    Love your birds and blue tits are so endearing!

  49. Thank you for lovely comment as always! Ben would like to go too university, I don’t mind whatever he does as long as he is happy.

    Why did I say I would have a stall at the fete, lot long left and I have got so much left to make, lucky I have got my mum helping.

    Have a lovely day…love Lou xxx

  50. holdingmoments, Nan and Lou: Thank you.

    Keith, I am touched,flabbergasted, honoured and flattered, also slightly embarrassed as I really don't feel deserving of an award, I'm also not very good at those joining in type things but thank you so much, coming from such a fine blogger that really means a lot.

    Nan, thank you very much, it certainly was a drama and yes I definitely did panic!
    I'm really glad I didn't have to deal with it on my own. Your Chipmunk story made me smile, it sounds like it was teasing you ;)

    Lou, thanks for your extra comment, I hope you get everything done for the fete and that it goes well and also that the weather is good, soggy sock creatures on the stall wouldn't be a good look :)
    Lots of love and XXXX to you and Poppy.


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