Tag Archives: Birds


At least something has hatched

Every year our geese sit on a large number of eggs for months on end.  By the time they are finished their bright orange legs are pale from lack of sunlight.  In all these years, not once have they managed to hatch a gosling.  We do have a gander so it’s not as if the eggs aren’t not fertile.

This spring the goose that was rejected by our flock, set herself up in the nesting box in the duck shed.  This was extremely irritating as everytime a duck laid an egg, she would scoop it underneath her.  We much prefer to eat duck eggs to chicken eggs and we have quite a few customers at the farm gate who also enjoy our duck eggs.  For weeks we haven’t been able to get hold of any as she hisses if you try to approach.

It must be well past the 28 days incubation period by now, and since nothing has hatched and she has finally given up.  Unfortunately, the muscovy has now taken over and has a huge pile of duck eggs under her.  Who knows how much longer she will carry on.

In the meantime, we had a blackbird that built a lovely nest in the shed.  It was decorated with green moss and bits of fleece.  Sadly, she did so on top of an electrical socket so we had to move it, otherwise it may have caught alight.  We wasn’t sure if she would return to it in its new location, but she did and pretty soon it contained several small blue eggs.  Less than a fortnight later, we discovered 5 newly hatched chicks.  Within days, their eyes were open, as were their beaks, waiting for worms.  They grew huge very quickly and the nest couldn’t cope.  One fell out and when we tried to return it, all the others leapt out in fright!

We decided to leave them alone to sort themselves out and most days when we went in to milk the goats, one of the youngsters was hopping around with the mother close by.

Perhaps the geese could learn a thing or two from the blackbirds!

Under construction

The swallows have returned and the dogs are chuffed

We see a lot of bird life up here.  Some of it welcome, some not.  At the moment we have hooded crows nesting in our chimney.  Luckily it’s not one we use.  They return annually and we can hear them chatting to each other in there.  It’s quite amusing when the babies emerge to take their first wobbly flights from the roof.  However, they can be a real pest.  We’ve seen them be-head a full-grown chicken.

The sparrows are a bit of a nuisance as they insist on eating all the blackcurrants.  You can always tell when they reach the perfect ripeness as the birds will gobble them up.

Sometimes when we open the doors to light the wood burner, a bird will come shooting out and fly around the house persued by over-excited dogs, causing chaos.

One year we found a baby oyster catcher in the middle of the waist high hay field.  Its mother had lost it in the long grass and was flying frantically overhead making a huge racket.

We have swarms of starlings that resemble an Alfred Hitchcock film, pheasants hiding in the reeds and once we even spotted a crane.

By far the favourites are the swallows.  They return each year to nest in the barn and the shed.  Sophie and Amy, our twin German Shepherds sadly no longer with us, would chase them for hours in the field, perfectly in time with each other like a dog and her shadow.

Sophie, passed this skill on to Daisy who now does her best to keep up the tradition and Archie has become a willing pupil too.  The birds swoop down, almost brushing the tips of the grass to catch the dogs attention and then soar up and fly along just out of the reach.  The pair spend many happy hours out there.  It’s obviously enjoyable to both sides and the dogs come in panting with their tongues hanging out and silly grins on their faces!

The swallows in their little dinner jackets are back again this year and in between bouts of teasing the dogs, are busy constructing a nest in the shed.  It won’t be long before it’s filled with noisy little chicks.  Here’s hoping that they’ve stuck it to wall properly this time – it has been known to fall off!