Dining al fresco


The evening is warmer than usual for autumn. Winter’s freezing temperatures will be here soon. Above us the Starlings are fighting over who gets to peck the fat balls in their container. Beside them, the Sparrows push and shove each other for the right to sit on one or other of the seed feeder’s perches. Very sensibly the Coal-tits and Robins decided to stay where they were in the hedge until the coast is clear before they go to feed. Thank goodness the neighbourhood’s bullies – the Magpies, are not here. That reminds me, I wonder where the Thrushes are? Perhaps they’ll join us tomorrow. Two very large Wood Pigeons are arguing over whose turn it is to sit in the drinking water tray; neither will admit that they are just too darned fat to fit in it.

The lawn has been liberally seeded by our human benefactor with meal worms, mixed with the detritus of the feeders above.

At the back of the garden perched in the spiky embrace of the bramble bush a very belligerent Black bird is seething with anger over the fact that the Starlings have taken over his private bathing facility in the upturned garbage bin lid. Enough is enough! He flies down and chases the delinquents off, then sits triumphantly in the middle of ‘his’ bath, defying anyone to just try and join him!

Two Collared Doves join the throng of Starlings, first in the seed tray, then down here on the lawn with the rest of us, picking up all the spilled seed from above.

As we move amid the mayhem eating our evening meal of meal worms, from time to time a bird of one sort or another mistakenly brushes against us, and then flies off in pain from their close encounter.


We are by our very nature private and gentle creatures, and it is because of this that we have been given a protective coat of spines. The belligerent Blackbird keeps his distance, having almost lost an eye in the past when he sought to pick a fight. Instead when we draw near, he flaps his wings and lowers his head in a threatening posture; honour satisfied, he flies off in a huff.

Inside the house our benefactor peers out of the window watching us all feed, thanks to his generosity of spirit.

As a visual treat for him at dusk this evening, the wife and I brought our youngster out onto the lawn for his first feast of mealworms. Out of the corner of my eye I see our benefactor looking at us from his bedroom window. He gives us a friendly wave and a smile as he turns in for the night. All is well in this haven of peace, thanks to him…


PS– I get endless joy sharing the back garden with my fellow creatures, watching and feeding them.


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