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The bird feeder hangs from a branch a few metres from the hide.

It has been placed there and filled with seed by the National Trust in woodland next to an old quarry above the road along Wenlock Edge.


There’s a path from the car park that passes the hide and it’s a favourite place for children and families out for a walk. Many of those who visit it may not be familiar with the woodland birds that feed here and rarely get the opportunity to get so close to them.


Sitting quietly in a shed open to the woods, looking at the feeder and the birds coming and going, seemingly oblivious to being watched as they flit and thrum about their daily lives, is like entering another world through a screen. But what do birds get out of it? The bird feeder is a metre-long Perspex tube filled with a variety of seeds.



Bird feeder in woods at Wentlock Edge. Photo: Maria Nunzia @Varvera


Together, nuthatch, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, are bright, colourful birds that look so neat and healthy, even after their battering from storms. Each bird takes a turn, doesn’t stay long and returns regularly; there are few skirmishes and this seems the result of a carefully constructed code of behaviour.


The foraging traditions and attachment to place of wild populations is learned from the personalities of individuals who influence strategy and social organisation in these songbirds. They are all beautiful and complex, nervous and obsessive, a society devoted to the mysterious providence of the watchers. Read the full Country Diary here


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