Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear?

By Lev Parikian

A lapsed and hopeless birdwatcher’s attempt to see 200 birds in a year

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Trouble at t'feeder

The bird feeders in our garden have turned into a battleground.

Our efforts to quell the onslaught of ring-necked parakeets have come to nought. We’d hoped they might be too heavy for the new spring-loaded feeders we bought to deter the squirrels.

No such luck.

One parakeet is a delight. Two are acceptable. Three are a gang. Four are reason to buy an air rifle.

Strangely, I don’t feel the same way about blue tits. I’ll tolerate as many of those as Mother Blue Tit can throw at me. Within reason.

I read the other day that if all a blue tit’s chicks (usually between ten and fifteen of them) survived till adulthood, and all of them bred successfully, and so on, then within five years we'd be literally knee-deep in blue tits.

Knee. Deep.

Let that image sink in.

With that in mind, I give you two photos today. The first is of an individual who, like it or not, performs a vital service to ensure the secure future of our world and to preserve the delicate ecological equilibrium that is so vital to us all.

His name is Winter. He’s a good cat. Not quick, but eager. His failures outweigh his successes, although when he does manage to pull off one of the latter, he’s quick to let us know.

The second is of Billy.

Billy is the name I gave to this very recently-fledged blue tit chick a few weeks ago. Enjoy this photograph. There won’t be any more.

I’ll spare you the gory details. All you need to know is that a couple of days after this photo was taken I found feathers on the kitchen floor.

RIP Billy. You were a lovely blue tit. While you lasted. But not quite so lovely that I wanted to be knee-deep in you.

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