One of the joys of our garden is the variety of birds that it attracts. Sure, I may curse the pigeons as they strip my brassicas to tiny green skeletons and try to (unsuccessfully) train the dog to chase the pheasants from the shallow beds they make themselves right on top of my newly emerged seedlings. But I am willing to put up with a lot of pigeon-fuelled frustration if it means I can watch the tits, the finches and the many other birds that visit.

At the start of winter I hung an old bird feeder in the old fruit cage and threw some seed on the bird table. As the winter dragged on I put fat balls in old fruit nets but in the wet, horrid winter these disintegrated too quickly so I replace them with a metal feeder. But then the bigger birds were crowding out the smaller birds so I bought some more feeders. I put some of them in some evergreen trees so that the smaller birds have more cover and the bigger birds found it difficult to land on a branch. The others I bought were speciality feeders: nigella seeds for the gold finches and peanuts in finer meshed feeders. But then came the starlings, crows and jackdaws and I was putting feed out twice a day. I even invested in some an elaborate feeder that was supposed to be jackdaw-proof but it wasn't.

I gave up in the end, with the exception of the specialty feeders. The blackbirds kept coming to eat the berries from the mahonia and collect worms from the borders. The bullfinches made a feast of the forget-me-not seeds. I've kept some of my brassicas in pots under some netting and have covered others in the vegetable beds. I'm hoping to find some perennial kale that I can plant around the beds to bear the brunt of the pigeon damage. The pigeons are still here throughout the day, spending most of this time bathing (sitting) in the bird bath or shoving each other on the fence. They are annoying but I can't seem to help beyond fond of them.

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Blue tits

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