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7 minutes ago, ellanvannin2010 said:

Jays? Not sure there are any here, saw one 50 years ago but none since.

Yes, quite right. A quick search reveals I must be mistaken.

I don't know where the doc lives but the back of my house is close to a lot of woodland, dense scrub and old hedgerows so I presume that has a lot to do with it. Myself and the next-door neighbour have quite a number of feeders and nest-boxes also.

This thread has given an incentive to start a count on species/numbers.

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Not exactly a little bird but one taking its toll on the local populations. A Prize-winning shot of a Kestrel, captured today by my neighbour. You gotta put the time in to get a smudge like this...

It could be that you’re standing closer to them this year. Try moving further away and see if they get smaller.

Here's the (almost) resident woodpecker (male) taken by my next-door neighbour. The holes he pecks are like .22 rounds. Quite audible while he's at it...

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The only previously (fairly) regular visitors to our garden that have disappeared without trace are Greenfinches, although lately I heard on a nature TV programme that their numbers have fallen considerably across the British Isles due to a disease.

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Trichomonosis gillilae. Affected Greenfinches especially, apparently, but can be contracted by most birds. One thing which happens regularly around here is certain species, presumably territorial males, flying at their own reflection in our window glass. Some die, fortunately, most lie there on the patio stunned. Taken many inside in the shoebox and most come around after an hour or so.

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The only explanation I can think of is that we are surrounded by fields and are very close to the big rookery on and around Ballaugh church, although no birds is a new situation, there have always been loads of birds of every variety before this year. Even more strange is we have developed quite a large area as a 'wild' garden and orchard with loads of trees and bird friendly plants. Oh well, let's see what the new year brings. What will be will be.

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1 hour ago, doc.fixit said:

The only explanation I can think of is that we are surrounded by fields and are very close to the big rookery on and around Ballaugh church, although no birds is a new situation, there have always been loads of birds of every variety before this year. Even more strange is we have developed quite a large area as a 'wild' garden and orchard with loads of trees and bird friendly plants. Oh well, let's see what the new year brings. What will be will be.

Its good that you have the wild garden and that will help enormously but obviously they need a much bigger area, maybe the local farmers have changed what they spray the land with or have cleared out a lot of cover nearby. One near me cleared a field full of bramble last winter that used to be full of little birds.

I would urge you and @quilp and others to take part in the Christmas bird race for Manx Birdlife.

http://manxbirdlife.im/recent-sightings/christmas-bird-race/

and the RSPB garden birdwatch

The more data that is gathered the better to fight the continual destruction

Edited by ellanvannin2010
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8 hours ago, doc.fixit said:

The only explanation I can think of is that we are surrounded by fields and are very close to the big rookery on and around Ballaugh church, although no birds is a new situation, there have always been loads of birds of every variety before this year. Even more strange is we have developed quite a large area as a 'wild' garden and orchard with loads of trees and bird friendly plants. Oh well, let's see what the new year brings. What will be will be.

Maybe Howie wouldn't grant them a right of entry certificate!

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On 12/2/2020 at 6:07 PM, quilp said:

I can honestly say that around our garden there hasn't been any noticeable difference in small bird numbers. I was out the other morning just before sunrise and the battle at the feeders was as energetic as ever. All the usual species. First time I've seen this so early in the morning but pleasantly surprising.

How many cats have you in the neighbourhood? The human penchant for these animals takes a massive toll on local populations. Ours used to bring home little 'gifts' from time to time, some of them barely alive. Once they leave the house they're feral and do what comes naturally...

20201202_175446.jpg

I'm on a new development here and with the exception of a couple of regular blackbirds and a thrush, it's utterly devoid of small birds. Feeders stay untouched unless they're attacked by assorted crows and rooks which seem to be plentiful. No shortage of cats though (don't start me), last RSPB UK figures I saw were @ 7.5M cats, all killing a couple of things a week each, at least - no wonder there's nothing left :(

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Cats. Fuckers.

T'other day I was watching the feeders, 20 or so different birds. Next thing, they were away in a panic into the tree cover. I thought, looking around, predator. It wasn't. It was this little Robin, stood on one of the feeders, red breast puffed out, strutting across the top of the bracket looking belligerent. I thought I could see a gleam in its black eyes. It then had the choice of food, fed for a minute or so then flew off. Seconds later the others were back feeding away as usual. A truly aggressive little fella. 

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4 minutes ago, Manximus Aururaneus said:

Can anybody recommend some bird identification books as being particularly suited to the Island please?

Don't get Razzle, the birds aren't that good

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Never really been that into birds to be honest.  Although this year with working from home in the 'conservatory office', I did decide to get some bird feeders to provide a little distraction.

Turns out we had loads of tits, robins etc plus bigger collared doves, starlings, crows, blackbirds.  My ID is still pretty poor on the little ones, but there were many.  

Initially had seeds, but they went everywhere and attracted some longtails.  Moved to suet balls instead and the feathered friends are still turning up. 

Maybe many others have done similar to me and your little birds have just found alternative dining opportunities? 

Separately I know someone who rescued what I think was a young sparrow hawk from drowning in Peel harbour a couple of days ago. 

 

Untitled.jpg

Edited by The Phantom
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7 minutes ago, The Phantom said:

Never really been that into birds to be honest.  Although this year with working from home in the 'conservatory office', I did decide to get some bird feeders to provide a little distraction.

Turns out we had loads of tits, robins etc plus bigger collared doves, starlings, crows, blackbirds.  My ID is still pretty poor on the little ones, but there were many.  

Initially had seeds, but they went everywhere and attracted some longtails.  Moved to suet balls instead and the feathered friends are still turning up. 

Maybe many others have done similar to me and your little birds have just found alternative dining opportunities? 

Separately I know someone who rescued what I think was a young sparrow hawk from drowning in Peel harbour a couple of days ago. 

 

Untitled.jpg

Poor thing looks quite surprised...

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