Column: This is a really dangerous time for our juvenile birds

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Suddenly the eaves are quiet, the noisy starling nest is empty and the chicks have fledged.

They have not gone far however, and two youngsters are being fed straight from the coconut feeder by their parents.

It must be an amazing moment for a chick to discover, not only that it can fly, but that there is a huge colourful world out there full of movement, smells and, above all, danger.

I am not sure what the statistics are for baby birds getting picked off by predators in their first few days out of the nest, but it must be high.

Later on, when going out to bring in the washing, I saw a juvenile blackbird, all soft brown speckles, plumped down motionless on the lawn.

It watched me with its bright, beady eye but showed no sign of moving as I came nearer.

A male adult blackbird, presumably its father, sat in the neighbour’s tree calling to it.

I retreated to the house for a while to give it time to do the sensible thing and gain some height.

Later on, I was idly looking out of the back door at a starling strutting about on the patio when suddenly a black and white cat pounced from the cover of a nearby bush.

A flurry of wings and squawking ensued, I raced out, shouted something daft like “what do you think you’re doing!”

The cat panicked and retreated and the starling flew away.

I hope it was OK. It was a good sign that it managed to fly off.

A few more seconds and it would all have been over.

I feel like I need to stand sentinel at the window with so many vulnerable birds around.

The weather has been a bit iffy this week, so all the birds fresh out of the nest will need to get used to wind and rain, as well as sudden bursts of warm sunshine.

When the sun does come out, the garden suddenly looks fresh and inviting and the bees are thoroughly enjoying the Welsh poppies, fuschia and ornamental thistles.

The garden feels like a proper magnet for wildlife, which is just the way I want it.