Two weeks ago we got a special offer of 1kg of mealworms for the price of 500g. Now they are almost all gone, and they have only gone to birds that begged them when I went outside. Every time I dare to go into the garden there are immediately up to 4 starlings and 10 jackdaws all begging for mealworms.
Monday was the worst. Three starlings each demanded at least 6 mealworms before flying off with them to their nests - a round trip of only about 20 seconds before they were back, clamouring for more. Meanwhile the 10 jackdaws tried to steal any mealworms they could get, and catching any that were thrown to them. I had to stand between them and the starlings so that the starlings and occasional blackbird got a chance, but one jackdaw managed to dash past me and ate all the starlings' mealworms. Meanwhile, 3 ducks arrived - a pair and a lone female. The single female objected strongly to the presence of the others, and there was also no corn left in the duck trays, so I was trying to throw them some wet bread to keep them happy until the jackdaws and starlings gave me a chance to get more corn. Any bird that didn't get fed immediately tried to steal food from one of the others. Then two crows and two lesser black-backed gulls arrived and the female duck turned to vent her anger on these. There's no peace and quiet in our garden.
On Sunday a neighbour called round to tell us some news, but it was almost impossible to carry out a conversation because of the persistent shrieks coming from a starling sitting in a bush about a yard away and wanting food.
Another popular item with the birds at this time of year is Jenny's hair. Jenny, our cat, loves being brushed, and all year I save up the hair. In the spring I put it in a fat feeder and it disappears in no time. Most of it this year went to jackdaws.
In our back garden the birds are more shy. I am afraid of disturbing them. The niger is popular with siskins, redpolls and goldfinches, the jackdaws and tits go for the peanuts, and the greenfinches and chaffinches prefer sunflower seeds, while the woodpigeons wander round beneath the feeders, eating up whatever falls from the feeders above.
You can see more about our garden birds at http://www.fredandsarah.plus.com/birds/