News – Page 6

MAGNIFICENT MAGNOLIA 

Magnificent magnolia 
Your flowers we now see
Perfect and pointing 
Quite heavenly. 
Here a short while 
Not designed to last. 
Just a glimpse of the beauty 
Nature’s magic has cast.

 
Jean K Cave

Woodborough Tennis Club AGM

We have had a successful year, gaining new members and  hosting a summer tennis tournament.

The committee  now invites members  to attend our Annual General Meeting which  will be held at the Nags Head Pub, Main Street, Woodborough on  Wednesday 3rd April at 8.00pm.

Agenda items include subscription fees, election of committee members, the new WTC web site (in development),the Wimbledon ballot,  and plans for our 2019 tennis tournament

There will be a buffet available from 9.00pm approx.

Anyone interested in joining the tennis club is warmly welcome to attend.

Contact  Lynne Morgan on  965 4745  for further information.

WOODBOROUGH BADMINTON CLUB

The Tuesday Evening Badminton Club at Woodborough Village Hall are looking to recruit a couple of new players. There’s no need to feel intimidated – the standard is not very high! We play most Tuesdays from about 8.15pm to around 9.30pm.

If you would like to give it a go, please ring Andrew on 07948 729577 and leave a message containg your name and phone number – men, women, young and not-so-young are all welcome.

Calverton Theatre Group

After the success of our play HeatStroke. And the positive feedback from our Treasure Island Panto, Calverton Theatre Group under the Direction of Pat Marks are pleased to present another play for your entertainment:

Cat Among The Pigeons

The scene is the sitting-room of Alfred Tinsley’s suburban villa ‘Mooredge’ on the outskirts of Helliford, a northern industrial town. The action takes place over the course of a few days in the present time.
Three generations of Tinsleys live in uneasy contentment dominated by Nora and her daughter Edna until Nora’s son comes home from National Service in Indo-China. Explosive disruptions occur with the arrival of Yvonne Chartreuse, an exotic French dancer, to whom the male Tinsleys gravitate, while the females are suspicious, jealous and determined to expel this dangerous intruder. Salvation comes when Grandma helps Ernest to win lots of money on the pools!

by

Jean Powley

Photos by Jean Powley

Dealing with Predators

Many people feel quite distressed when they see predators taking birds which feed or nest in their gardens. Yes, it is upsetting to see this happen but this has always occurred. Sparrowhawks, Magpies and both domestic and feral cats have always done this. People blame these predators for the decline in songbirds. Is this true?

A recent study was undertaken to examine this. The predators studied were the Sparrowhawk, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow and Grey Squirrel. On a local level it is accepted that predators may make a difference. However, there is no evidence to suggest that predation has a widespread effect on the population of songbirds. It is more clear that declines in bird species are as a result of other factors such as loss of habitat, habitat change and disease e.g. Greenfinches affected by the parasitic disease, Trichomonosis. This disease has had a devastating effect on Greenfinch populations.

The domestic cat is a predator of both birds and rodents and the Mammal Society suggest that cats are responsible for around 275 million animal deaths a year of which 55 million are birds, mainly House Sparrows, Blue Tits, Blackbirds and Starlings. To protect birds from cats, it is recommended to position feeding stations away from low cover in which cats may hide. Put food in feeders or on bird tables rather than on the ground. Encouraging groups of birds to feeders means more eyes to spot a predator. Some people use sonic devices which trigger an unpleasant sound when a cat crosses in front of it.

Cat owners can also do their share by limiting the hours spent outdoors especially during the early bird breeding season. The most favourable time to keep cats indoors is during dawn and dusk. Also, if a cat wears a collar, a bell could be attached which would announce their arrival. Some cats however, have learnt to move around more gingerly when wearing a bell. 

Sparrowhawks are also notorious predators and use the element of surprise to pick off feeding birds. They will sit for many minutes at a distance watching small birds and when they have chosen which bird to take, off they go at great speed. If you want to protect your songbirds from Sparrowhawks, position your feeders and bird tables close to cover, ideally thick evergreen bushes so that the birds can dive in to them. It is also advisable to move your feeders around the garden on a regular basis.

Grey Squirrels are nest predators but you may be surprised that they aren’t as bad as was originally thought as they tend to be more opportunistic and will predate more exposed nest sites.

People are often excited to see Great-spotted Woodpeckers visit their garden but not many people realise they will also predate nests and will try to get nestlings from nest boxes by enlarging the entrance hole. Fitting a metal plate around the entrance may stop this. There are some nest boxes on the market made of woodcrete, which are a mixture of sawdust, clay and concrete and they are more effective at stopping such predators.

Many of the above steps cannot stop predation altogether. It is a fact of life that birds will always be targets of predators and don’t forget, birds themselves are also predators of insects, earthworms etc. but this is often overlooked. 

Jean Powley

Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at jpbirds@outlook.com or visit www.bto.org/gbw