From the end of April until September I take down my bird feeders, my reasoning being that there should be ample natural food available throughout the summer.

Furthermore, there is also a possibility that young fledglings could choke on small pieces of sunflower hearts and peanuts although tiny nyger seeds should pose no problem.

Its always interesting to see how soon birds rediscover feeders. The quickest was a great tit last year that came down within ten minutes. This year a day passed before, once again, a great tit was the first visitor followed by a coal tit  then blue tits.

This autumn has been unusually mild if windy but when the weather eventually turns colder, more and more species will be constant callers.

There is a definite 'pecking order' on the feeders. Most aggressive is the great tit followed by a robin who is less acrobatic and struggles to stay put. But they are tame compared with the nuthatch, a most feisty individual who only has to point his dagger-like beak at the others and they fly off in a panic.

For the past three years I have enjoyed watching a large flock of colourful goldfinches ( pictured) descend on the feeders. They stay put for up to ten minutes at a time while other species fly down, peck out a seed and zoom off within seconds to eat in a nearby tree.

However, goldfinches seem to have deserted my immediate area this autumn with only the occasional visit by one individual so far.

Meanwhile, any seed spilt will rapidly be foraged below by woodpigeons, stockdoves, dunnocks and a blackbird and of course the destructive grey squirrel will muscle in at times.