Those who have sat through one of my several presentations about designing a garden to attract birds will have head me speak of “scruffy corners” and “stumperies” and I know that this is a the feature that I have had the most questions about afterwards from the most people.

A stumpery was a victorian invention to rival a rockery and in  essence is nothing more than a pile of logs rather more artfully arranged than nature can usually manage. We have one in the corner of our garden behind a selection of native plants and under some trees and it has certainly proved a boon in past winters for many creatures that shelter there – rabbits in particular. We have hoped the birds were using it too but until today had more hope than confirmation. After visiting the feeders, one of the wrens mentioned below went immediately to the stumpery and hopped inside.  It’s an excellent place for a basically ground feeding species to sit out the storms and snow.

We have, as you know, Carolina Wrens in the garden – we are lucky as they are still expanding their territory into this northern part of their range and we have been seeing one at a time at our feeders since things started getting cold. This morning we have had three separate visits of a pair of Carolina Wrens coming together. They seem to be concentrating on the black sunflower seeds and also the safflower is popular, though the latter does get thrown around a lot – much the joy of the squirrels.

eBird have been accepting our reports of a wrens at a time for the past couple of months without questioning it as they once used to but they came back very quickly this morning when two were reported asking for proof …. well, here’s the photo. Not a brilliant one, but clear enough to remove doubt:

Pair of Carolina Wrens at the garden feeders

Pair of Carolina Wrens at the garden feeders


We like squirrels too – here is one of our many squirrelworks enjoying the berries on a guelder rose plant:

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