Ghostly Images

You will, no doubt, have seen the impression left by a bird crashing into your patio window. You may be interested to know that only certain birds leave their waxy mark. I had received this response from RSPB:

“These are the natural oils and feather dust which originate from the downy feathers close to the skin. These provide woodpigeons with great insulation and they also have fine barbs which crumble to form this waxy dust, which the bird then uses to preen the outer feathers to make them waterproof. Birds with powder down feathers such as woodpigeons and members of the parrot family generally have a reduced or no preen gland, which is how most other birds look after their feathers. Feather dust is therefore vital in order to keep the woodpigeons feathers waterproof and in good condition. Bathing is an important part of keeping feathers in good condition for all birds but especially important for birds with powder down. Washing the dirt-covered powder off enables the woodpigeons to reapply fresh powder to their outer feathers in order to keep them water proof and well insulated.”

I had noticed a film of powder on my pond every time Woodpigeons bathed….

“The powder deposits on the pond are not harmful to the pond wildlife or other birds that may be using the pond for drinking or bathing and will eventually disperse with the movement of the water.”

I hope this is of as much interest to you as it was to me.

Swift Box

Message from Jools Partridge:

I installed a three colony swift box yesterday (made from an old organ pipe I was given some years ago). I set up a swift caller too which I am really pleased with. However, please tell members not to record screaming swifts over Carvers Corner, Glen Parva till they actually see them! LOL. Cost of the caller was £15.82 including a 12volt amplifier (FM radio and Bluetooth too) and pair of tweeters. I bought 100m of speaker wire for £14.89 (cheapest way to buy it) and have plenty left over (70 odd m) at 15p per m if anyone wants some!? The calls were chosen, and downloaded for free, from a Dutch website, and I am so happy with the results of my work. Happy to share links if anyone wants to try out getting their swift boxes occupied this year!?