WE HAVE had a fight in the garden. Robins have been sparring at the bird table. There are back-door robins and front door robins – their territory borders seem to be at our bird table.

I have been watching them over the last few months as they mark out their areas.

Robins live alone until in early spring, I saw them getting together.

The male feeds the female, and I could see her fluttering her feathers at him.

All was well until the front door robins joined them on the bird table.

I heard them ticking at each other, and I saw them pouting up their red breasts and growing thinner and taller, facing each other.

Their beaks were in the air, they showed so much red that you could hardly see their heads. Once they even locked claws.

All other birds were threatened, including the unassuming hedge sparrow, quietly feeding under the bird table.

Then, I watched a back-door robin carrying leaves and grass into our empty dove cote. I have seen her pick up a leaf and wait in the woodland for the coast to be clear, then, like a shadow flicking across my eye, she landed on a ledge and disappeared into the cote.

All went quiet as brooding began. Now the male robin is searching frantically for food for their young.

He is looking for insects and small worms.

The front door robins are nesting in the yew tree again.

We have put special nest boxes for robins, kettles and plant pots – all hidden in very clever places. But they have spurned them all and chosen sites for themselves.

They still fight at our bird table. Then, this morning I found a dead bird.

A death among the daisies. It is not a robin though – it’s a hedge sparrow.

Was it an accidental bystander or a victim of natural causes?

We will never know.

I buried him among the spring flowers.

Now a pair of hedge sparrows have appeared, keeping well away from the bird table. I hope they are looking for a nest site.

– On April 13 from 11.15am, at The Oswestry Heritage Centre, Vicky will be reading spring time stories from her Tizer column.