Taking advantage of bird feeders

A yellowhammer on a bird feeder
A yellowhammer on a bird feeder

Now here’s an unusual picture for you.

A wee yellowhammer on a bird feeder.

It will be interesting to see if the habit spreads.

Only in rural gardens will you see a yellowhammer in a garden and only ever on the ground below the feeders, picking up seeds spilled by their more agile cousins.

This is a claustrophobic bird, only truly at home in open landscapes.

Gardens tend to be too enclosed for them.

More often you will see yellowhammers gleaning in a stubble field or scrounging around sheep pens.

Mind you several other bird species have changed their habits to take advantage of bird feeders.

Famously, goldfinches have greatly increased their numbers enormously due to our provision of niger seed feeders specifically for them.

Siskins are another bird you would never see at bird feeders only a few years ago.

Some seem to adopt the habit quicker than others.

We know bullfinches use feeders in some areas, yet there is little sign of the habit spreading, or at least not at any noticeable rate.

Will yellowhammers follow the same pattern, or will they follow the goldies and be crowding our feeders in a riot of colour in a few years’ time?

George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management