When we lived at Ravendale House and it said on the news that the number of sparrows in the UK was falling, we used to laugh and say, “no it’s not, it’s just that they’re all living in our garden”.

There were dozens of them, same with the starlings and blackbirds, plus a fair selection of others, robins, blue tits, great tits etc. So I was pleased to find that our temporary cottage was near a lot of mature trees, indeed at night you could hear owls hooting in the distant darkness.

Nearer to home there were house-martins, who left not long after we moved in, presumably to fly south for the winter, (I don’t think it was anything we said), wood pigeons, crows, a few blackbirds and a couple of robins.

However, after a few weeks it suddenly dawned on me, that was it. No starlings, no blue tits and not a sparrow in sight. Could it be the proximity to the joiners yard that put them off. It certainly didn’t deter the robins, pigeons and house-martins who all made full use of the various outbuildings and sheds to build their nests, but the fact remained, there was not the variety of garden birds I had been used to.

So it was with hope more than expectation that in the last week of October I hung up my bird feeders. I put a ‘fat block’ just under the eaves of the pantry (extreme left of the photo) and a seed feeder on the porch, again marked on the photo.

Copy of 1a

The days and weeks passed, not a bird in sight, even the robins and pigeons seemed to have disappeared. The silly thing was, I could hear, and occasionally see, blue tits and other birds in the surrounding gardens, but my feeders remained un-touched.

Previously I had been used to putting out bread which disappeared in minutes under a deluge of starlings, sparrows and blackbirds, now when I put bread out in the garden it hangs around for days.

After about a month I decided that perhaps the feeders were too near the cottage, so I put the ‘fat block’ into the garden, on the washing post (which I don’t use) as in the next photo. The idea being that the bread and the surrounding gardens might tempt them in.

Copy of 3

No such luck. As things stand at the moment my bird feeders are un-used and un-loved.