Who Stole The Bottlebrush?

Nope, Callistemon blooms do not grow on trees.

I had only the one bloom this year. And the last time I looked it was firmly attached to the Callistemon shrub, where it belonged. So how come it’s now up there?

This wildlife in the garden thing isn’t at all straightforward. I’ve written, often, about the trials and tribulations of mice, squirrels, rabbits and slugs. And deer. But birds? The woodpeckers have chicks. They have started their constant relay between the bird table and the nest, beaks stuffed with food. It’s lovely to see them. It would be even better if they brought the little ones back to visit us, just like last year.

But then one day, as I was contentedly working away in the greenhouse, there came a sound like rapid gunfire. I hurtled up the path to find the woodpecker trying to hammer a hole in the front of a nest box. A nest box full of baby Great Tit chicks. Woodrow flew off. But not for long. For several minutes I had to keeping shooing him away, along with his missus who had turned up in support.

The Great Tit parents were frantic. But they knew exactly what to do. With the woodpeckers briefly out of the way they had the chicks out of the nest box, one by one, and into the relative safety of a nearby rhododendron bush. It all happened so quickly. The chicks were able to fly so presumably not far from fledging in any case. And of course we got a front seat view.

Things calmed down and the woodpeckers returned to gathering food from the bird table. But remember the wren’s nest in the clematis next to the greenhouse? Those chicks have now started to chirp. How long before the woodpeckers would find them too? And they don’t even have a wooden box for temporary protection. What to do. Do we carry on feeding the woodpeckers, bringing them into earshot of the greenhouse? Or do we once again try to drive them away in an effort to protect the wrens? The decision was relatively easy. I let the feeders run down. The woodpeckers can, I hope, find food elsewhere. But if the baby wrens become dinner…


Which brings us back to the question of the bottlebrush bloom. And the previously flowering Callistemon in a pot right next to the bird table.



Woodrow’s revenge?