Last Friday we had reed buntings at the bird table, which was a first for us as we haven’t seen any here in all the time we’ve been coming. They are a somewhat portly bird, as are most buntings, and radiate a feeling of cheery domesticity, so it was a surprise to read that they are apparently the most adulterous of all bird species, with over 50% of chicks in a brood being fathered by males who are not the male in the pair. I’d never thought of adultery in birds until I read this bit so it just shows what you can learn, and it will certainly come to mind every time a see a reed bunting from now on.
Things moved on today with a mixed group of buntings coming to feed – nine reed buntings and three yellowhammers. With low temperatures overnight and light covering of snow on the fields they are probably finding natural food hard to come by, which is why we come into play. This is certainly the opinion of the BTO and they tend to know these things.
Apart from the birds we have a group of students from a local college visiting to gain experience for their animal health course. They are currently finding out how to put ear tags into pigs (we have some going to market tomorrow). You can tell this from the protests of the pigs – they aren’t keen on ear tags. Our normal Monday group is assisting, as they have now done this several times. It’s good for their self-confidence to be able to show their skills to the students. It’s good for the students too, because it shows them that people with learning difficulties are actually more skilled at some things than they are.
Johno will be giving a couple of presentations to the college later today but he’s fitting in an interview with the local press at the moment because he’s standing for the local council in the May elections.
Got to go – politics is making me lose the will to live…