Stones

Monday 9th March 2009
At least two Hawfinches were present again today, with calls heard at 8:00am and the birds seen at 1:00pm around the Cherry trees, beyond the back of my garden, which border Dimore playing field, Quedgeley. I recently had a look around the bottom of the trees and found a lot of Cherry stones, many of which had been cracked open, almost certainly by the Hawfinches. The photo below shows whole and split stones.

These trees are the native Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) also known by other names such as Gean. As you can see, the stones are approximately 7mm x 8mm. They are very tough and it takes the massive bill of the Hawfinch to crack them open. Other birds, such as Starlings, eat the fruit from late Summer, but discard the stones (often dropping them on to my conservatory roof as they spit out the stones whilst perched on the house roof).

Other birds in the garden today included a male Blackcap on the Mahonia bush, a pair of Blue Tits still active at the nest-box, and a pair of Long-tailed Tits apparently collecting nest-lining material.

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