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Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'!


Sometimes our garden is a bit like the horror film ‘The Birds’. We have a meadow on the back of our garden which at present is mown, one day I hope to make it into something less sterile with wild flowers, but at present it is OH’s pride and joy, a beautifully mown piece of grass! Because this is the only piece of short grass of any size, probably for miles, we tend to get an accumulation of Rooks and Crows gathered on it.
Heading to the top of the field with a barrow full of rubbish for the bonfire, I was stunned to see well over 50 Rooks with a smattering of Crows dotted over the grass.

On seeing me they scattered in two directions and sat in rows on the electric wires. At least 50 on this one side and more on the other side of the field!

Closer inspection of the field revealed heads of Barley scattered everywhere across it!
They were plucking the heads from the stalks of the Barley field next door and bringing onto the grass to eat them!

I just hope that I don’t get the blame when the Farmer realises that his crop is being ‘plucked’.
On top of that we get loads of Rooks, Crows and Jackdaws helping themselves to the chickens food early in the morning, the raucous calls are ear-splitting with the young ones shouting for food.
I just can’t believe that now they know the food is there they will ever leave, they even pillage the bird feeders! Perhaps when the corn fields are cut they will find enough spillage to keep them busy – but what happens in the winter. will they have forgotten about my chicken food?

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Well I never! Cheeky birds! We also get a garden full of barley stalks in July/August. But here its the sparrows that take them. Usually they are scattered across our roof and get blown down from there. It's amazing how much they eat!

10 Jul, 2017


Lol. We get lots of rooks but no cereals grown round here its mostly cattle and potatoes with a few sheep. . We do have a rookery though that had over 25 nests this season, but the rooks disappear over the winter - we don't know where they go. So perhaps yours will be off somewhere else when the barley's over. Pity they've found the chicken food....

10 Jul, 2017


Parliament of rooks, murder of crows, congregation of magpies & a kit of pigeons - they all seem to gather morning & evening in the same treetops in the headland of the field next to me - & doesn't their cackling & cawing make a racket before they all fly off to wherever they go!
This seems to happen all year round, I suppose it depends on their food source & what the farmers grow, I've never seen heads of grain lying around but then I only get the odd one that lands.
I could imagine them flying off with your bird feeders, they are so big but how do they pillage them? ..... as for the chicken food ....hmm, perhaps you could train your peacocks to sound the alarm, ;)

11 Jul, 2017


That's interesting Karen, I had never seen the birds stealing (or reaping) the corn crops before and always imagined that they would only eat the ripe grain. I've always lived in the countryside and thought I knew quite a bit about the wildlife around, but it just goes to prove you learn something new every day! Sparrows being lighter I suppose could perch on the stalks and nip them off before flying off with them, but Rooks! I will have to stake out the field and watch to see how they do it. Perhaps they go mob-handed and trample it or fly low and swipe at it, interesting thought.

11 Jul, 2017


Thanks for that thought Stera, perhaps they will disappear in the winter, hopefully. I don't want a rookery here, we have a couple of tall trees which could suffice and there is one across the road, but at present they have a rookery both up and down a road a way, in groups of trees.

11 Jul, 2017


I love collective names for birds, usually so descriptive, the one for Herons is a siege of Herons, which is apt when they are adamant that they are going to get in the pond!
As for the Rooks on the bird feeders, one will hang (ungainly) on the feeder and flap it's wings, jostling the feeder and either knocking the seed out or the whole feeder down. Underneath is a gathering of Rooks expectantly looking up, waiting for manna from heaven to drop at their feet. Problem is then they spend ages scrapping about in the grass, resulting in bare patches under the feeders! Can't win really. As for the chicken food I did wonder about investing in an automatic feeder which the chicken has to stand on to get the grain, but as Rooks, Crows, Magpies and Jackdaws are all intelligent I think they would probably get the hang of it before my daft chickens!

11 Jul, 2017


'An archaic collective noun for a group of jackdaws is a "clattering." Another term used is "train" (White 1833); however, in practice, most people use the more generic term "flock." '

I have a soft spot for jackdaws. Seems they share food with others even if they are not "kin". Bet your chickens don't share that sentiment!

You certainly have a LOT of birds there.

11 Jul, 2017


I like the term 'clattering' Eirlys, much nicer than just flock. I can understand that too, the amount of noise they make around the nest box which they commandeered from the Little Owls sadly. They just ripped it apart until the space was big enough for them to get into! As we put it up so well it will be difficult to get down and repair, but hope to do that and entice the Little Owls back.
Smart birds Jackdaws, not just in intellect but in looks too, city banker or business man in their black and grey!

11 Jul, 2017


hello Honeysuckle! I've been enjoying your flower blog but this one made me laugh out loud. The collective nouns are amusing.
During WWII the rooks were the spirit of survival through the long sad war... the rooks at the Tower. It was said that it would be the end of England if the rooks ever left. Glad to know that they are still around 50-odd years onward. Plucky little Goths! Rule Britannia! ;-)
I hope you find a detente for the jackdaws and your owls. Would the owl be a predator to the Jacks, or is the owl too small?
I hope the old saw about planting for the crow is true. I'd hate to think that a huge field couldn't also support a few birds as well.
How are your geese and peacocks doing these days? I chuckled at your description of your hens' intellect!

13 Jul, 2017


Hi again Lori. We like the Jackdaws, but would prefer the Little Owls who only eat beetles and worms, not anything much bigger, whereas the Jackdaws will take young birds from their nests - but everything has to survive!
True about sowing for the birds as well, not sure that modern farmers do that though, everything seems so techno these days they have probably worked out exactly how many seeds will germinate and how far apart!
Sowing grass seed used to be sow three times as much as necessary, one to grow, one not to grow and one for the birds.
The peacocks are down to three since we lost one to the fox, who picked it off the field one day. Must have been lurking in the undergrowth and dashed out and caught him unawares. The geese are still here, Boris not well at the moment, his eyes don't look right, so he is off to the Vets tomorrow morning for a check up - perhaps he needs glasses!! It's probably old age as he was elderly when we got him and he has been with us about 8 years, though they live for donkey's years, so hopefully he will be about for a while yet. OH would be distraught if we lost him, me too, but I come down the evening greeting list after Boris. OH comes home, parks the car by which time Boris is honking, so he always talks to him first, then me, unless the peacocks gather then I might be even further down the list.

13 Jul, 2017


Oh dear, lots of love to Boris and his girls... hope it works out for him. it's a worry when a beloved pet isn't doing well. From the fox to the rooks..."nature is red in tooth and claw" ..but it doesn't make it any easier to accept predation.
We had a little squirrel, which stood out among the throng because he had a stump for a tail.. (How he lost it I don't know...) but we named him Stumpy and cheered for him. He seemed a plucky little guy and built himself a nest in one of the tall fir trees..right beside the black walnut tree. Talk about convenient! One day my hub came in and told me that there was an owl sitting in the cedars. We watched it for awhile and I was concerned for the song birds and for our cat, never dreaming that it might be bad for Stumpy. We haven't seen him from that day so we're pretty sure that the owl was waiting for him. It makes me sad because it seems the owl cleaned out most of the little red squirrels and chipmunks near our house. But on the other side of the coin...the squirrel that was trying to take up residence in our attic is no longer around. We have also seen garter snakes near the greenhouse and sunning themselves near the driveway... that usually means fewer frogs and mice...don't mind the frogs but the mice, we could do without. Teaches a person to be philosophical...

14 Jul, 2017


Boris survived his trip to the vet and I will be adding a blog about that.
Sad about your squirrel and of course your owls are bigger than the ones we have here, in this area anyway. We get the Little Owls, no danger there, and a visiting Barn Owl who I think only takes mice and voles and the Tawny Owl who probably wouldn't hurt anything your squirrels size, not an adult anyway.
We keep trying to encourage the Little Owls back and I wouldn't mind the Tawnys but they would probably predate some of the smaller birds so as you say it's all about survival of whichever species. The mice and rats always do well regardless of how many things predate on them!

14 Jul, 2017


Well that's the truth!... returning from a trip out into the field today (to look at the blackberry canes) I surprised a group of gartersnakes. They are fond of a sandy spot under the huge fir tree...and all three of them were at least 2 ft. long. I'm happy to see them because they really do make a difference in the mouse population.
Hope your little owls return. will you be making another box for them?

14 Jul, 2017

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