Tom Herbert

The Curious Case of the Count and the Peanuts

Those familiar to this site will know that I’m quite fond of the feathered friends who visit our little garden. We are lucky enough to have a large variety of birds come to visit, and it remains a simple pleasure to be able to sit on our sofa and watch them coming and going.

You might think that’s as entertaining as garden bird watching gets, but recently one avian adventurer went beyond the call of duty and posed us quite a mystery to solve… but before we get to that, a bit of background.

The CountThere are plenty of wood pigeons in the area, but one rather plump specimen in particular seems to have made our back yard his own. His proclivity for hoovering up food is only matched by his ability to expel it, and it is for the latter reason that in our house he goes by the name of Count Crapula.

Most days the Count can be found perched on the roof of our lean-to, strutting round the patio looking for stray seeds that have fallen from the feeders above, scattering gravel all over the place or over-seeing proceedings from the nearby fence. Here he is (left) enjoying some, well, most, of the weekend treats intended for area’s bird population.

And so to the mystery alluded to above. On our kitchen window we have a clear plastic feeder containing peanuts stuck halfway up the glass. This is primarily intended to help out some of the smaller birds who, thanks to the Count and his friends, don’t get much of a look-in on the food further away from the house (pictured right).

Bird Feeder 2When the feeder first went up it took a while for word to pass round the birdy grapevine, but eventually we began to get some take-up with most of the traffic coming from inquisitive Blue Tits swooping down to grab the odd peanut. An occasional sparrow or robin has also been known to try its luck, but on the whole the peanuts didn’t really go down that much.

However, for the past couple of weeks we’ve been noticing an odd pattern. The nuts have been completely disappearing from one side of the feeder, while the nuts on the other side remain untouched. I speculated that the smaller birds might be taking from the side furthest from the house to avoid detection, while Isabel thought squirrels or some other rodent might be nipping up on to the ledge for a quick snack. It was quite a conundrum, and we resolved to continue re-stocking the feeder until we caught our culprit.

Finally, this weekend thCaught Red Wingede mystery was solved. On hearing a shout of surprise and delight from Isabel I ran downstairs to discover quite a commotion. The Count, in all his glory, was precariously perched on our window ledge, wings flapping to keep his balance, neck craned forward and face firmly planted in the feeder.

He didn’t seem too perturbed by being caught red-winged, as it were, or even being photographed, and he continued his meal until all the peanuts were gone before hopping down on to our bench and flapping off.

So, case closed. Whether we decide to continue filling the feeder, or move it up out of the reach of prying beaks is a decision for later, but for the moment we’ll keep ourselves amused watching the Count make a spectacle of himself. Thanks for reading and keep an extra-close watch on your peanuts – you never know who might be lurking…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *