Today dawned bright and winter shiny, but Saturday morning was wreathed in a chilly mist. But not for long. By mid morning the mist was lifting, the Cheese toasties and the falafel stands were up and running and the queues stretched right along the terrace in front of Kenwood House.
In fact, Kenwood and its woods were heaving, both with people and with parakeets. So heaving that I thought it might be quite fun just to record them chattering away to each other as I walked through the woods. And apologies that the film stops rather abruptly. Yet again my phone ran out of storage space – I think I may really need to get a more capacious phone.
And this was where I had meant to get to before I stopped.
Having just had a serious earful of parakeets I came home to find a similar cacophony going on the the garden. This is most unusual as normally we are a squawk free zone but when I looked out the window, there were over a dozen of them flapping furiously round the apple tree.
After a long conversation with Ildiko at the London Wildlife Trust about how to attract greater spotted woodpeckers into the garden, I then talked to the lovely lady at the Really Wild Bird Food Company.
She told me that greater spotted woodpeckers love peanuts and suet – but that they need to be able to get at them which they won’t be able to if the peanuts and suet are in cages or in squirrel and pigeon proof feeders. Ah…. That is what I have.
Not to be deterred I ordered some small mesh feeders and some bags of tasty suet and peanuts and, a couple of days ago hung them all up and waited for the woodpeckers to arrive en masse.
OK – you got it. It wasn’t the woodpeckers who arrived en masse, but the parakeets, similarly large birds who cannot access food in cages or squirrel proof feeders, but who certainly can hang onto the outside of a mesh feeder and fill their bellies! I am afraid it is not very easy to see as I am up on the first floor, but if you watch carefully you can see them flapping crossly round the well protected stash of fatballs and literally shoving each other off the two open mesh feeders with the peanuts and the suet.
I am not sure whether they then had a conflab and decided that the frustration of not being able to get into the other feeders outweighed the pleasure of the two accessible ones – but I haven’t seen them since. Neither, be it said, have I seen a greater spotted woodpecker.
Several days later
Since, whatever about attracting woodpeckers, I certainly do not want to be overrun with screeching parakeets, I decided not to refill the two accessible feeders with suet and peanuts. However, the parakeets have not given up.
I am still getting visitations from groups of up to six who perch in the apple and, having surveyed the now empty accessible feeders, make determined efforts to get through the cages to the fat balls and the protected peanuts. This involves a lot if irritated flapping and much poking their heads through the bars of the cage (and from the look of it, risking getting their heads stuck in there) in a neck stretching attempt to get to the goodies.
This does to seem to deter the small birds from logging in and feeding as usual and is so entertaining that I think I might, every now and then, add some accessible peanuts and suet just to keep them making the occasional visit.