A right pair of dunnocks

Dunnock in my back garden.

Dunnocks were probably visiting my back garden long before I first noticed them. They are small brown and grey birds that hop about in the undergrowth at the back of the garden. They occasionally take a look at the bird feeders, but most of the time, they content themselves with feeding from the seed on the ground. Somwetimes they quarrel with the other birds, flapping a single wing in thegenral direction of any bird that lands near them. Unlike goldfinches, they save their ire for other species, rather then fight among themselves. With one exception.

One particular pair have taken extreme umbrage at another pair of dunnocks that appear every morning to challenge them, and meet that challenge with equal energy and aggression. In fact, the birds are chirping and flapping at their own reflection. Some years ago, after redecorating a room, I fixed 2 discarded mirrors to the back wall of the garden. Until this year, they have been ignored. However, since last summer, stems of a creeping rose bush now grow across the face of one of the mirrors, and it has enabled the dunnocks to perch in fron of the mirror and squawk at their ‘rivals’. I haven’t managed to film one of these encounters yet – I don’t have a clear view from the house – but I’ve witnessed it often enough (the dunnocks tend to give up after 5 minutes and fly off).

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