The Godfeather

I’m getting grief from the birds in the garden now.

We’ve recently started – or more accurately, re-started – feeding the birds. It’s something we’ve done before but stopped when the guy in the house behind us cleared all the trees (maybe just bushes with ambition, they grow really quickly anyway) from the waste ground between our two houses which meant that a) we had no trees to hang things in and b) what other structures we did have – a frame from the clematis, for example – was destroyed by heavy-handed tree fellers.

But over winter I’ve been hanging fat balls from the washing line, and we recently got a new bird feeder which is ridiculously popular and is practically a full time job keeping it filled with seeds, nuts and other tasty bird related things.

And feeding the birds is great. They’re a magnificent distraction, watching them hop from thing to thing to thing, and the way they bicker over the food is amazing. Our neighbour thinks that we are responsible for the increase in slugs and snails, though. Because by feeding the birds, they aren’t hungry enough to eat the garden pests. I haven’t pointed out that the birds which dine at our al fresco eatery aren’t the sort that eat the slugs and snails because that would be rude. But they’re not.

Ideally what we need for that is a hedgehog, which would be awesome but who wants to spend hundreds of pounds having their cat repaired after several scraps with the prickly little sod?

Anyway, the birds. So yes, the birds swarm the garden. And they hang around in the trees in the waste ground – for they are back – and swoop down for the food. They retreat to the trees when there are cats about – not necessarily Peppa, she just tends to watch through the cat flap but will occasionally dart out to scare them away. But more in a boy running at pigeons kind of way than in a predatory nom-nom-nom approach.

They also retreat to the trees when humans approach. Apart from the robins who are bold as brass and just fly up and watch what you’re doing. I reckon if I’d started last year when they first appeared, I could have them eating from my hand by now, they’re so unafraid of the human element.

The other birds, though, are off into the trees.

And from there they heckle you.

I went to the bin the other day, and all the sparrows were in the trees shouting at me. Like my need to empty a box full of recycling was really interrupting their quality feeding time. It was like a feathered protest group, wanting me gone. Rather than gathering sticks to make nests, they’re making little placards that say “humans go back inside” that they’ll wave from their tiny feathers.

And they’re bloody noisy when they’re all going at once.

Even if they have seemingly forgotten that it’s me that provides them with the fine mix of seeds that they love to scatter around the garden, so that in a few months time we’ll be inundated with unplanned plant growth.

If they do it again, I’ll have to go and have a stern word with them.

Two months of no work and I’m outside shouting at the birds…