Essex Life - - County Life -

I al­ways lis­ten to what I am told, but next time the Royal So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of Birds (RSPB) makes a sug­ges­tion, I am fly­ing west. ‘Buy some bird seed and a dispenser’ they said and stick it in a place where the lit­tle dar­lings can hop on the shelf. Oh yes. Maybe they have not heard of Es­sex birds.

The first pur­chase was a cute lit­tle dispenser with three lit­tle holes and a con­ve­nient step to stand on, hung from the cor­ner of my gar­den shed. Pi­geons were the first vis­i­tors, al­though un­able to work out the weight ra­tio bal­ance re­quired to land on a small plas­tic tube. The sight of the feath­ery equiv­a­lent to a B52 sit­ting stunned un­der a pile of ‘happy dick­y­bird’ seed and a small plas­tic tube try­ing to look as if it meant to do that, will live in my mem­ory.

In the mean­time the smaller in­grates at last cot­toned on that this was free grub, but it all went down­hill from there.

It was like some­thing out of Hitch­cock’s The Birds. First the in­creas­ing furry vis­i­tors re­quired a larger tube — and more bird seed. Not con­tent with a del­i­cate pluck­ing of a morsel from the tube, this lot think they were in a well known fast food chain and tried to shovel it all in their beaks in one swoop.

Learn­ing quick the podgy pi­geons sat pa­tiently un­der the tube as the pneu­matic beaks of their smaller cousins only man­aged to grab one seed in 10 with the un­suc­cess­ful fall­ing on the gallery be­low.

From re­fill­ing the tube once a week, it now re­quires fill­ing ev­ery day. The other side ef­fect is a strange growth of multi va­ri­ety grass, wheat, rape, corn stalks and the odd but­ter­cup and daisy, all el­bow­ing each other out of the way in a small patch of ground that is unique.

To share your thoughts on Barry Kirk’s com­ments, or any­thing else about Es­sex, you can email the editor at ju­

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