Monday, 8 April 2013

Waxwing lyrical part 27 - on credit

Over the past couple of days I have confirmed that the Waxwings are now eating 20kg of apples each day. There were at least 150 birds again this morning and although I didn't get chance to do a proper count there is no obvious sign of any birds moving on and new birds may still be joining the flock.

A few posts ago I had thought I would be able to see this through until the birds fattened up and moved on but now I am not so sure. A recent post by Grampian Ringing Group (link here) shows they could still be around in this sort of number until the end of the month and double figure numbers could linger into early May.

At full stretch, a bit like my finances.

Still at full stretch. This is one of the colour-ringed birds from Aberdeen.
To put it simply I may not be able to stump up the £20 a day it costs for another 2 or 3 weeks given what I have spent to date. People run up credit card bills for all sorts of reasons but buying apples for Waxwings is not one that would immediately spring to mind but that is what I am already doing. I have decided that I will have to take it one day at a time from now on.

This is what 150 Waxwings can consume in a day and was put out tonight.
When I got home tonight, via Sainsbury's, I was told that someone had dropped off a couple of small bags of apples and a photographer had left £10. It is small acts off support such as these that will make all the difference from here in. I don't mind doing all the work but £20 a day is a serious Waxwing habit and I can't really afford it.

A medium sized apple weighs around 140g and it takes about 140 medium sized apples to make up 20kg. Tonight I will have put out around 280 apple halves and each Waxwing will eat just under 2 halves each. That means they are eating more than double their body weight each day as they typically weigh around 55 to 60g.

It is going to be hard if I decide I have to stop feeding these stunning creatures before they are ready to go.

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