Don't forget the birds

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by whingyraindrop, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. whingyraindrop

    whingyraindrop Funster

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    It appears that most of us (okay, okay, I know, not you lucky people in Spain, Portugal and Morocco, I am just trying not to think about you...) will be getting some snow over the next few days.

    Please don't forget to feed the birds. Bird food seed mixes, peanuts (not salted) and fat balls, along with leftovers like grated cheese, uncooked porridge oats, soft fruits, cooked rice and pasta are all ideal and will help the garden birds to survive the winter.

    Cooked rice, brown or white (without salt added) is beneficial and readily accepted by all species during severe winter weather.Any breakfast cereal is acceptable birdfood, although you need to be careful only to put out small quantities at a time. It is best offered dry, with a supply of drinking water nearby, since it quickly turns into pulp once wet. Fat balls and other fat-based food bars are excellent winter food. If they are sold in nylon mesh bags, always remove the bag before putting the fat ball out – the soft mesh can trap and injure birds.

    Water is also vital for both drinking and bathing and bird baths can be kept from freezing over using small floating items like twigs or ping pong balls.

    Birds use a huge amount of energy maintaining body heat and the smaller species need to eat their own body weight in food each day to enable them to survive the night. Suet is excellent high energy food, as are peanuts.

    I love to watch the birds in the garden and when away in the van, in my opinion, they are certainly worth the effort.

    Lorraine x
     
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  2. 1_man_and_his_dob(lo)

    1_man_and_his_dob(lo) Funster

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    The birds around here have been turning up a lot more over the last couple of days looking for food. Including a robin who, most mornings and every evening, sits on the back of the chair by the back door and makes a right racket until I feed him/her mealworms :Smile:

    Or maybe they're getting my hopes up ahead of the Bird Garden Birdwatch (last weekend of the month), at which point they'll all disappear :RollEyes:
     
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  3. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    The birds here don't half go through the sunflower seeds, with suet balls second favourite and suet/seed cakes on the table part of the feeder next. For some reason they aren't as keen on peanuts as they used to be.

    In addition to the blackbirds which are here all year we've seen quite a few blue, coal and great tits recently (and, occasionally, a flock of long tailed tits) plus robins and plenty of sparrows and dunnocks. Starlings visit as a crowd once or twice a day and we have a wren or two further down the garden (seen more round the pond than at the feeder). Oh, and a couple of brain-dead wood pigeons from time to time :Smile:
     
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  4. whingyraindrop

    whingyraindrop Funster

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    Thanks for the reminder, I forgot to mention this, have a look here for information about how to get involved http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/?gclid=CKDZsoCE47QCFW3MtAodlHMAhw

    Lorraine x

    P.S. As I type this, my garden contains ten wood pigeons and a magpie! They are busy clearing all the food I've just put out. Not exactly the garden birds I was hoping for!
     
  5. Philcott

    Philcott Read Only Funster

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    Got lots of tits down on the suet balls, but can't see exactly which one's they are due to the brighter sky behind them! And looking through two lots of glass! However, I'm happy that they've got something to eat. Fast running out of bird seed, but peanuts are only going slowly.

    I broke the water on the big pool down the back so that the chickens and guinea fowl could drink, so I'm sure there is plenty of water around - not too mention the various puddles left over from the rain earlier in the week!
     
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  6. whingyraindrop

    whingyraindrop Funster

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    Are the peanuts crushed? The smaller birds can't use energy breaking them up in the colder months but will usually eat them if they are broken up. I was told this a few years ago and it does seem to be true. Its certainly very satisfying putting the peanuts in a plastic bag and smashing them with a rolling pin!:BigGrin:

    Lorraine x
     
  7. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Clearly we have more classy /pernickety birds around here :BigGrin: I have had 3 fat balls hanging off the tree for 3 weeks now - not been touched :Smile: I am not putting any more out until they eat them
    terry
     
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  8. Vlad The Impaler

    Vlad The Impaler Funster

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    Loads of birds in my garden and in times of austerity I'm thinking of borrowing my mates air rifle and making a pie!
    Not many blackbirds around so do any of you twitchers out there no whats the next best species to encase in pastry?
    Vlad.
     
  9. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    Nothing here but seagulls and I have no intention of feeding them:Angry:
     
  10. whingyraindrop

    whingyraindrop Funster

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    :Tongue1:
     
  11. Vlad The Impaler

    Vlad The Impaler Funster

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    Humour..............goes strait over some people's head!
    Just like tweety pie trying to escape sylvester..
    :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
    Vlad.
     
  12. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    No, they aren't crushed - they would fall through the mesh of the feeder if they were :Smile: The birds used to take them in previous years. I reckon it's because they prefer the other foods we've added now and know I'll keep replacing them as fast as they eat them :Smile:
     
  13. TheTwoOfUs

    TheTwoOfUs Funster

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    We had loads of birds over the years but we had a couple of rats ground feeding off the spillage so I stopped putting birdfood out for a couple of months but re-started before Christmas. Now we have no birds. It looks like they have forgotten where we are. By the way, peanuts and fatballs have always been neglected by the birds (apart from pigeons).
    We also had blue tits nesting in our garden but again for the last two years they have given the box a miss. The only birds nesting this year were a pair of wrens in a hanging basket on our drive.
     
  14. PaulyP

    PaulyP Funster

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    Wife puts loads out but between the wood pigeons, magpies and squirrels theres not much left for the small birds.
     
  15. Gooney

    Gooney Funster

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    Funny that, I thought wingyraindrop gave you quite a humorous response:Wink:
     
  16. Campercaillie

    Campercaillie Read Only Funster

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    We've had to cut down on feeding the birds - just can't keep up with them at present. They've always got seed, nuts and fat balls, but we also used to feed them live meal worms - particularly when the birds have young. But the blackbirds used to be lined up at the window as soon as I appeared in the morning to put the kettle on. I didn't mind, but once the starlings picked up on the trick it became too much. We switched to sultanas, but even with sultanas it's difficult to keep up, so the window feeding has had to stop for now! One bonus of feeding - you never know what turns up - Back in 2008 we had this little fella apppear in the garden - He's a rose-coloured starling, and by keeping the fat-balls well stocked we kept him coming for 12 days - it cost me a fortune and the local starlings thought it was Christmas!! He was a "first record" for Strathspey. (Somebody said it looked like a Magpie that had been through a wash with some red socks!!)

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. 1_man_and_his_dob(lo)

    1_man_and_his_dob(lo) Funster

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    I've got a similar problem with the robin at the moment - if he/she's not quick enough then the blackbirds, starlings and sparrows scoff the mealworms. The robin just stands on the chair and watches them :Doh:
     
  18. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    As soon as I start moving around in the morning, the blackbirds start making a racket until I feed them, on a average day we get blue tits / finches / robin / often 5 blackbirds at a time / a regular thrush / collared doves / pesky wood pigeons /sparrows and dunock.

    Usual feed is fat balls/ bird seed/ peanuts (which does seem to last longer lately) and usually any brown bread cut up small that we have left over.

    I always do my ironing in the shed down the garden, overlooking the bird feeders they can not see me but I am so near it is magic, we sometimes get black caps and wrens but not as often.

    To me its one of life's pleasures having birds in the garden.
     
  19. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

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    Well, I've heard that the Greater Crested Vlad Impaler makes great fat balls.

    (raspberry..) :Cool:

    I read that you should crush the nuts because if the birds try to feed them to any late hatched younger birds they can block the gullet and wind pipe. Don't know if it true.
     
  20. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    A late aunt of mine was a member of the RSPB for decades. She always used to reckon that birds were more intelligent than a lot of people give them credit for and that they would always feed their young on natural food, rather than from feeders, unless it was unavailable.
     
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