We have come to the end of a year, the form of which none of us could have imagined. Watching the birds in our garden has been a saviour to me in terms of pleasure, variety and purpose – especially during the early days of the pandemic lockdown when we couldn’t even leave our homes. We have endured a dreadful drought, relieved a little by some light rain this month. Yet, the birds have endured. Their comings and goings are proof that life continues and their hope and the justification of their behaviour in terms of a belief in the future is one worth emulating: we need to dream, to make plans, and to believe in our future. Never mind that we have pandemic-related restrictions placed on us with little warning, that our plans have to change … we are adaptable creatures and are able to ‘make a plan’ in order to make the best of what we have. I take heart from the Lesser-striped Swallows that have had to wait for the rain to produce the mud they need to build their nest – only to have it fall down soon after completion. They take stock of the situation and try again!

An interesting variety of birds have visited our garden this month. Many are residents, while others are summer visitors. A Brown-hooded Kingfisher perched above one of our bird baths shortly before Christmas – the first I have seen here for some time. The ‘Friendly Fiscal’ has faced stiff opposition as the ringed one has become bolder and a third Common Fiscal has discovered a ready source of food. The three of them clash fairly often and the Friendly Fiscal has to keep a beady eye open when he comes. I was absolutely thrilled when it ate from my young grandson’s hands twice during his short visit here with his family.

Laughing Doves abound, as usual, and some are adept at clinging on to the hanging bird feeders to get to the source of the seed instead of pecking at the seed that has fallen to the ground. Meanwhile, we have been entertained by the calls of the Red-chested Cuckoo, Diederik Cuckoos and a Klaas’ Cuckoo. I am delighted to at last get a photograph – albeit not a good one – of the latter for they are not easy to spot among the thick foliage. This one is perched in a Pompon tree in which the buds are clearly visible before they burst open to reveal their beautiful pink blossoms.

Other birds that are notoriously difficult to photograph because of their ability to ‘disappear’ in the foliage are the African Green Pigeons, of which there are several feasting on the figs of the Natal fig tree.

Several Speckled Pigeons live in our roof yet they too enjoy the shade of the fig tree during the December heat.

Red-winged Starlings visit the figs daily to get their fill.

My December bird list:

African Green Pigeon
African Hoopoe
Barthroated Apalis
Black-collared Barbet
Black-headed Heron
Black-headed Oriole
Bronze Manikin
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Cape Crow
Cape Robin-chat
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cattle Egret
Common Fiscal
Common Starling
Dark-capped Bulbul
Diederik Cuckoo
Fork-tailed Drongo
Green Woodhoopoe
Grey-headed Sparrow
Hadeda Ibis
Klaas’ Cuckoo
Knysna Turaco
Laughing Dove
Lesserstriped Swallow
Olive Thrush
Pied Crow
Redchested Cuckoo
Red-eyed Dove
Red-throated Wryneck
Red-winged Starling
Southern Masked Weaver
Southern Red Bishop
Speckled Mousebird
Speckled Pigeon
Village Weaver
White-rumped Swift
Yellowfronted Canary

27 thoughts on “DECEMBER 2020 GARDEN BIRDS

  1. “Yet, the birds have endured. Their comings and goings are proof that life continues and their hope and the justification of their behaviour in terms of a belief in the future is one worth emulating: we need to dream, to make plans, and to believe in our future.”
    Oh, Anne – how absolutely true and beautifully expressed.

    I look forward to visiting your blog throughout 2021. I count myself fortunate to have “met” you during the “dark days” of 2020. I have learnt a lot and been taken on delightful forays in your garden and beyond! It has been a source of delight! Thank you!

    Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you very much, Desirée! I have enjoyed your comments and look forward to engaging with you. I hope that the coming year will be a more hopeful one than this one that is edging out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A good analogy. It reminds me of the Emily Dickinson poem
    “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words –
    And never stops – at all –


    • We enjoy a variety of pigeons here; the Cape Turtle Doves used to be regular visitors to the front garden but appear to have been eased out by the arrival of the larger Red-eyed Doves. They still burble from the trees and are seen in the back garden. I am very pleased with our monthly tally of birds.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The avian visitors help to alleviate the tedium of the various pandemic restrictions as they are lifted and re-imposed, albeit in different forms. I hope this will be a good year for both you and Mrs. Tootlepedal too.


  4. There is so much to appreciate about nature, this year in particular. I always enjoy your monthly bird roundup, learning about birds that are new to me. Thanks for sharing your corner of the world, Anne and best wishes for 2021!


    • You are kind, Belinda. I began this blog with my monthly bird round up in mind and it grew from there. I am pleased that you have found my garden birds interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We certainly do need to be resilient and adaptable – and what a good suggestion to take inspiration from birds, and especially from those that visit our gardens. How lovely to see the Klaas’s cuckoo in the pompon tree, and wonderful to have green pigeons visiting – although of course they are all wonderful!


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