It never fails to amaze me how quickly birds of the seedeater variety react to my replenishing the feeder in our garden, usually descending on it en masse within half an hour of filling it.
This happened again recently after I had been away and had not filled the feeder for some weeks – the first birds were there in no time at all. I suspect they “do the rounds” of all potential feeding sites each day, otherwise how would they know? And there must be some system of communication that informs other birds of different species of the presence of food.
Whatever the case, it is always interesting to see which species turn up – often the same mix but sometimes a non-regular puts in an appearance.
Here is a selection of the birds that came to the feeder in the space of a couple of days recently –
Two of the four South African Sparrows are regulars in the garden – the House Sparrow, despite its name, does not come to the garden, preferring to scrounge for scraps at the local shopping centre’s parking area
Both of the Amadina finches are fairly regular visitors and the males provide a splash of colour with their vivid red “cut-throat” and head. They also feed on insects and termites where they can
There are four weaver species in the residential estate that we live in, thanks mainly to the two small dams that form part of it. Two of them are regular visitors to the garden, being Southern Masked Weaver and Village Weaver, while the Cape Weaver is very seldom seen in the garden and the Thick-billed Weaver not at all
The regular weavers are, at first glance, quite similar but have a few distinguishing features – the black forehead of the Southern Masked Weaver versus the yellow forehead of the Village Weaver, the plainer mottled back of the Southern Masked Weaver versus the heavily blotched back of the village Weaver (not visible in these photos)
The photo below shows the difference in the forehead colours
Looking at the photos I had taken, I noticed that the Village Weaver had an elongated bill – this is an abnormality that occurs in various bird species. This individual did not seem to have a problem feeding
Over the last 3 to 4 years a feral population of Lovebirds has established a presence in our residential estate, probably being cage bird escapees originally. They most closely resemble the Black-cheeked Lovebird that occurs in Zambia but are quite hybridised, with some birds being almost entirely yellow. I am split between appreciating their bright colouring and disliking the fact that feral birds are spreading in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria
These cute little birds appear in small flocks, twittering away happily
Which all goes to show you don’t have to travel far from home to find interesting birds