As the weather changes yet again back to colder conditions – and we have snow on the hill tops round about us in Shropshire – the wildlife using the garden also changes. The fieldfares are back, feasting on the fallen apples beneath our trees which makes me think they must have excellent memories for a good food source!
Larger birds seem to dominate here at the moment, especially pheasants, of which we have a regular crowd of about six or seven. One in particular, a female, is now a permanent feature as she is unable to fly (a possible window strike we fear) but easily finds enough food and shelter around the garden. So she seems well enough and is also very feisty! She regularly fights off the local grey squirrels who compete for the spilt seed on the ground under the feeders. In spite of the reputation these mammals have for ingenuity, she wins every time!
Jenny Steel was a Plant Ecologist at Oxford University before becoming a writer. She has more than 20 years experience of writing about and teaching ecology, natural history and wildlife gardening. She is also a photographer, journalist and former plant nursery owner, and a lecturer and tutor in adult education. She has appeared on a variety of radio and television programmes including Gardener’s World with Alan Titchmarsh, and she presented a series of items on the BBC 2 gardening show, How Does Your Garden Grow. She has worked with and written for a variety of organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society, Natural England, Atropos, Ernest Charles, the Adult Residential Colleges Association (ARCA), Haiths, Usborne Books, Complete Gardens, Oxfordshire County Council, the charity Growing Native and several of the Wildlife Trusts. She is also the Garden Bird Guru for the wild bird food company JustAddBirds of which she was a co-founder. The Emmy Award winning film company Panache Productions are currently making a film about her wildlife garden in South Shropshire. She has written 10 books on wildlife gardening. Her website can be found at www.wildlife-gardening.co.uk and her bird food company at www.JustAddBirds.co.uk