STARLINGS 1, WOODPECKERS 0: A SMALL GARDEN ORNITHOCALAMITY


STAR(LING) WARS UPATE – WOODPECKERS FORCED TO FLY

The WOODPECKER news this week is sad. Great Spotted Woodpeckers nesting close to the centre of London = a rare treat. Starlings ditto = somewhat joyless. They are two a penny. And that’s the problem. After the woodpeckers moved into their nest – drilled and lovingly prepared by them, please note – a gang of raucous starlings began their siege

The woodpeckers chased them off aggressively, but it was two against six, and the starlings were annoyingly persistent. It was only a matter of time before the woodpeckers were overwhelmed This guy hanging around in the tree didn’t do anything to improve the neighbourhoodYesterday, a new beak appeared at the entrance to the hole. It was yellow, not black. The woodpeckers have gone and starlings have moved in, a sad (but not unforeseen) development. Not for long though: I’ll be putting a plate over the hole, to admit only small birds such as great tits and blue tits. In the spring, I might remove the plate if the woodpeckers return, but I think the combination of a sustained campaign of harassment by the starlings, the crow  menace, cold weather and snow, has been all too much for them. Next year, maybe? 

STARLING WARS – THE  SMUG VICTOR TODAY 
(I realise this thread of birdlife reporting has strayed very far from the blog’s main Abaconian purpose. The link with the West Indian woodpecker saga at the Delphi Club is tenuous at best. Sorry. I’m trying to take my mind off the fact that we were due to be flying over tomorrow and now can’t… In the words of Rory Gallagher “…When the morning comes, should be heading west… Sorrow is my middle name”. Which ironically would in fact be preferable to my actual one)  

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