Birds in bird table
Parks represent green oases in every town. They greatly help to improve the quality of the environment we live in. Nowadays, due to the intensive negative impacts of climatic changes, they fulfil their task of improving the micro-climate of the town’s environment.
The birds (avifauna) of Piešťany's town park are quite diverse in variety. There are visiting bird species from the nearby floodplain forests along the River Váh, from the spa park, from the surrounding game refuges and forests, and in the winter season even from the northern countries of Europe. However, the park also has its permanent inhabitants, residing and raising their offspring inside the treetops, tree cavities, or bushes. For the park as an ecosystem, the presence of birds is highly significant mainly because of the regulation of the food chain and other ecological processes.
In the winter season, especially when it is freezing cold and the ground is covered with a thick layer of snow, the majority of birds suffer from lack of food. This is why they need to be fattened up. You can help the birds too! Just put a handful of sunflower seeds, millet grains, nuts, oats, or a piece of apple in your pocket when you go for a walk in the park, and put it on a bird table. In a while you will spot the first curious explorers flying in. Only by their presence, can birds please every park visitor. You will most likely see the following bird species at the bird tables in Piešťany´s park:
It is the biggest European tit. In comparison with other tits, it usually looks for food on the ground. It is amongst the most frequent visitors to the bird table. It builds a bell-shaped nest in tree cavities. Like all other tits, it feeds mostly on insects. Its singing is very variable.
White cheeks, a black line passing through the eye and a blue head. It lives in mixed and deciduous woodlands, park-lands or gardens, and nests in tree cavities. For a successful nesting, it needs plenty of caterpillars, which, due to the climatic changes, occur a lot earlier than this bird's breeding season. This is the reason why in some parts of Europe a decline in their nesting success has been experienced.
This bulky brownish coloured bird with a massive conic bill is most frequently resident in deciduous woodlands, living a very secluded life. This is the reason why it can be seen usually only in winter, when hunger wins over its shyness and it flies to a bird table. Its white wing bars are striking in flight.
The only tit with a crest in Europe. It prefers coniferous woodland. It also nests in the abandoned nests of squirrels and predatory birds. It is an easy tit to recognize because of its stuttering call. It is only rarely that we can see the individual birds on the bird table.
Long - tailed Tit
It is typified by its tiny body and long tail. It usually occurs in small flocks in floodplains forests, on forest edges and in gardens. It takes 8 to 14 days for it to build a camouflaged nest from moss, lichen and up to 2000 feathers. It feeds mostly on insects and spiders. It visits the bird table regularly, however, not in big numbers.
The male is all black with a distinct orange-yellow bill, the female is dark brown. It is a common bird(in forests, parks and gardens. On the ground it picks up various worms and other invertebrates, and when on a shrub or a tree, it feeds on fruits. Beautiful singing is typical of this bird in the spring at sunset or early in the morning whether on a tree, in a park, or in a town alley.
Robins are typified by their red breast and lead - grey face. They inhabit humid forests with thick under - brush, parks and older gardens. A robin searches for food usually on the ground (spiders, insects, worms). As it is a migrating bird, only a few of this species stay here over the winter. The males sing early in the year from the second half of January, thus marking their territory. Together with the Common Blackbird, they start singing early in the morning, right after dawn begins.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker
This belongs to our most beautifully coloured woodpeckers with a red hat on the head. Similarly to the Great Spotted Woodpecker, this species also looks for food by climbing on the trees. It searches for insects which live on and under the tree trunk. Like all woodpeckers, this one also resides in tree cavities. The mating pair cut the cavity together. It is amongst the less numerous species in the surroundings of Piešťany.
Our smallest tit. It has a distinctive white triangle-shaped spot on its black head. When eating seeds or nuts, it takes them , flies away from the source of food and eats them in peace there. It prefers coniferous woodland, which is the reason why it occurs only very seldom in the Vah valley, especially in harsh winters.
The Chaffinch is amongst the most numerous birds in Europe. The male has a distinct white stripe on the wings, a light blue head and nape. In summer it feeds mostly on caterpillars, which it picks from the leaves. It also eats seeds, sprouts and fruits. When on a bird table, it picks especially at sunflower seeds. The young have an inborn ability to sing, and under the influence of other singing chaffinches, they gradually improve and change their song.
Eurasian Collared Dove
The dove is a pastel grey colour. The adults have a dark stripe on the neck. It spread from Asia Minor to India only hundred years ago. Today it is a common inhabitant of every town’s environment almost in the whole of Europe. It feeds on various seeds, buds, and sprouts. It is a frequent visitor to bird tables.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Grey face, black head, big white patch on the wings. The male has a red spot on the nape. When looking for food, it moves in spirals over the tree trunk. When something startles it, it hides on the other side of the tree and peeks at times to persuade itself that the danger has gone. In spring, the male announces his presence by loud drumming on trees or metal objects to lure the female. This knocking differs from the vertical knocking or the knocking when it searches for food; in this case, it drills into the trunk from the side, peeling off the bark to see the hidden insects better. It pulls the food out with its long tongue. It nests in the cavities of diseased or dead trees. It makes a new cavity every year.
Text: Kornel Duffek, Eva Wernerová, Vladimír Dobiáš
Photos: Dušan Kanuščák, Tomáš Hudcovič