Small, Elegant Birds…….


The weather is a bit hit and miss here in South Shropshire at the moment – sometimes mild and bright and sunny and the next moment there are flurries of snow and a raw, bitter wind. Yesterday was freezing and even the birds weren’t feeding that much – they all seemed to be sheltering in the thick holly hedge! However there are still signs of the spring that will inevitably come as snowdrops, hellebores and even a few daffodils are in flower. Other birds are now singing including the local coal tits – sweet little birds that I love to see around the garden. Where they nest is anybody’s guess but we do have lots of small woodlands round about that are overgrown and not managed in any way, so I assume that coal tits and the local marsh tits are able to find nesting holes in old trees. The large local elders in particular develop hollow stems and branches where the soft heart wood has decayed. Both coal and marsh tit are amongst my absolute favourite birds and we are so lucky to have plenty of them here. At times in late spring we see small family parties so know that they must breed somewhere nearby. In their soft palette of buff, grey and black, they are truly elegant birds.

About wildlifegardening

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 and her bird food company at
This entry was posted in British birds, Garden Birds, Garden Wildlife, Wildlife Gardening, winter gardening and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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