Saturday, May 21, 2016


This year we have really enjoyed the bird life in our garden. With multiple bird houses both inside and outside the walls as well a preferred spots for the wrens and cardinals, we have had several successful nests this year. The first nest was the cardinal building in the little espalier alongside the greenhouse. It was the second year for a bird to nest in this spot and this year it was successful. That nest has now been removed and has joined last year's nest on the outside fireplace. I placed 3 little painted eggs in the nest.

This year's cardinal nest with painted eggs

Last years cardinal nest
The nests are identical in construction. A fine mesh work of thin twigs, followed by woven cedar bark with a few leaves and a softer lining of dry grass.
I'm wondering if the same pair is now building a nest in the umbrella in the old Spanish Oak garden.

It's a messy looking affair but then these birds seem to know what they are doing. I never even noticed the work going on until the nest was complete...but as yet there are no eggs.
We have another messy nest on the front gate. This time it is a wren. Thank goodness that plant doesn't need any water. Both these birds have chosen a nice dry place to be during this very wet weather.

We have three owl boxes but no owls. However, we did have birds in one of the boxes, although they were in and out too quickly for us to identify. Also wrens in 3 boxes and doves in an oak tree.
We also have a new bird house in the English garden. It replaces the dovecote which started its life in Pam Penick's old garden. When she moved house she passed it along to me where it spent several years. But the weather had taken its toll and we had to remove it. I looked for a new dovecote but the cost was prohibitive.

The idea for the replacement was taken from a bird house we saw in Canada a couple of years ago. It seemed a perfect fit for the original 4x4  post. David worked out the plans and put them into action. The little metal wren which I bought 4 years ago and couldn't find a home for finally found the perfect spot.

In the past we have always relied on the garden to provide for the birds but several chance finds at garage sales have me actually adding bird food to my weekly grocery shop. I found this hanger for a bird feeder last year at a garage sale and the feeder I had picked up years ago on a trip to England and never used. It is great for the peanut/mealworm bark butter bits. The tufted titmouse are always at the feeder and the cardinals sometimes manage to cling onto the sides, although they are rather clumsy.

More lucky finds last weekend and at the same sale found these long metal poles. They are perfect for hanging the new feeders which are really old but still serviceable and after a good clean up they look almost as good as new. At 75c each how could I go wrong?

Next stop will be the store to find bird seed. Maybe we attract a greater variety of birds to the garden. I wonder what the painted buntings like to eat?


  1. Seventy-five cents! You know how to shop! I have no birdhouses but have it in mind to try some next year. The finches like to nest in the roof eaves and every year I have a nest behind the light outside the kitchen door. The light (on a timer) must add warmth to the nest but the cat like to hang out at my office window and mutter at the birds.

  2. Birds do add such a lively presence in the garden. I wonder if "your" birds realize how fortunate they are to have such beautiful walled spaces within which to build their nests!

    We have a wren pair currently attempting to find a nesting spot inside our garage. It is quite a game we play, shooing them out so we can close the doors without trapping them inside. The wrens do seem to find the most interesting protected spots to use - and so close to human activity. I suppose they are quite habituated to our comings and goings by now.

    I'm betting if you will be providing seed regularly we'll soon be hearing about squirrels and jays muscling in on the easy food source. Bird feeders seem to extend an open invitation to all sorts of hungry mouths!

  3. I couldn't imagine my garden without the birds--they add so much life to it.
    Love your poles--the price is amazing. Lucky you.
    Enjoy those feathered friends.

  4. Neat nests, and nice score on the feeder poles. I need to clean out my feeders and fill them up. With our neighborhood rodent problem, I can't leave them up overnight anymore. But without the feeders, the only birds I ever see anymore are grackles. I've only seen one cardinal this year.

  5. I can't leave my feeders out overnight either - raccoons are the issue here.
    Your birds are indeed lucky to have so many desirable nesting spots. And 75 cents for the feeder? My goodness, that's a Droll Yankee feeder retailing for about $50! If you ever need to replace any components of it, Droll Yankee will send the part for free. They are guaranteed for life!
    I can't imagine my garden without birds, it would be a lifeless place!