6 Jan 2010

What a difference a day makes…

Just yesterday, despite bitter cold, I was drawn to the window by lively birdsong coming from the little enclosed garden below.  Within a very short space of time I spotted sparrows, blue tits, blackbirds, a pair of robins, a wood pigeon and starlings.  They enjoy the camouflage offered by ivy-covered London Plane trees, a privet hedge and other trees in the garden, as well as a choice of bird feeders hanging from the branches. 

Today, though, the little garden and Urban Veg Patch are blanketed by heavy snowfall (we had a mini blizzard in the middle of the day).  The birds are still twittering around and, while adding my veg peelings to the compost, I noticed that the bird feeders were getting low.  So, please can I remind everyone suffering winter weather that birds find it especially hard to find food at this time of year and it's very easy to make a simple bird-feeder.  

The How-To: 
You need an empty, clean, yogurt pot.  Put a string through the base and pack with melted lard or vegetable suet (they need the fat for their feathers) mixed with bird seed (sunflower kernels, safflower seeds, kibbled peanuts, linseed) and raisins (particularly good when soaked in water beforehand to provide the birds with water).  The ratio should be two parts seed/fruit to one part fat.  Pack into pot and chill overnight in fridge to solidify before removing pot and hanging outside in the garden. 

If you're lucky enough to have blue tits in your garden (which we do!), apparently they enjoy peanuts in shells.  String them together and hang from a bird table, tree or somewhere nearby where you can enjoy watching the birds feed.  (This is also a good one to occupy housebound kids! - yes, they've closed the schools here because of snow.  Sigh.)

Looking forward to Spring…  and hoping the veg survive this cold snap!
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