Friday, March 4, 2016

Birdfeeders and Italian Birds

The Avian Learning Curve 
British blue tits, already wise to feeders
At Le Ripe we have always been keen to feed our birds. In winter, when it is frosty and cold, the small migratory birds which stop at Le Ripe, as well as those which are resident,  can generally be assured of a square meal each day.


The menu runs to crushed peanuts, chopped fat and bits of meat, apple quarters, bread and other crumbs, minced cheese rind and any other tasty tidbits that come our way. Plus a bowl of water.
Understandably this diet requires a certain preparation, but the caterers are more than willing.

Some years ago we acquired a bird feeder in England and eagerly filled it with whole, shelled peanuts. It is well known that British tits and other small birds are fond of hanging to the feeder by a claw to peck at the nuts inside.
To our dismay we soon discovered that Italian blue tits and their ilk do not know how to use a feeder of this sort. The peanuts turned grey and soft before anybird found them.
However persistence usually wins out. This year we decided to try again. The feeder was duly filled and hung from a branch of a fig tree not far from the bird table, but in a sheltered position.
A few weeks later we noticed that the peanuts were diminishing in number and full of tiny pecks. And today, for the first time, a blue tit was actually discovered in the act, swinging from the feeder. 
Not such a steep learning-curve, after all!
The photos are poor, but they are at least a record of this small upswing in Italian avian education.


  1. An amusing post. Birds are smart, and now small birds will gather for such a good menu.v

  2. The three Blue Tit photos are glorious. The little bird allowing you to come nearer each time is extraordinary in itself but to see the beautiful little soul using your bird feed at last has delighted an old Townie like me.


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