My latest watercolour painting
It began when milk was delivered to British doorstops in bottles that had no tops at the beginning of the 20th Centuary. Birds had easy access to the fat rich cream that settled at the top of the bottle. In those days two species of British garden birds learnt to siphon up the cream from the tops of the open bottles; blue tits and robins.
After the First World War dairies began to seal the bottles with aluminium foil bottle tops to keep the milk fresher meaning this new food source had been cut off from the birds. However, by the 1950s the entire UK blue tit population had learnt how to pierce the bottle tops to reach the cream, whereas the robins never did. Occasionally an individual robin learnt how to pierce the milk bottle seal but the skill never spread to the whole population as it did with blue tits.
The same opportunistic instincts could provide a lifeline for the much-loved Horse Chestnut tree, along with the knuckle-bruising game of conkers. Horse Chestnut trees are at risk by the caterpillars of the Leaf Miner. These moths mine into the leaves, causing them to brown and drop prematurely and many are dying. A biologist from the University of Hull, Darren Evans, has found that blue tits have started to hoover up these invasive pests, which provide abundant and easy pickings for the blue tit during the breeding season.
Other paintings of Birds and Animals can be viewed in the Gallery.