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Posted: Feb 25 2008, 05:25 PM
Member No.: 2
Joined: 5-October 07
Feed the birds
View GallerySpring might be just around the corner but the recent cold snap has underlined the importance of feeding garden birds at a time when insects are hard to find and the freezing weather makes it difficult for them to dig up earthworms and fallen berries and seeds.
Just a little water, food and shelter can make all the difference to many species of bird and help see them through the worst of the winter months until more natural food sources become available.
Setting up a feeding station is easy enough and, by providing a regular food source, you'll encourage all sorts of wild birds to visit your garden.
While high-calorie bird seed mixes and food bars are popular choices, these can prove expensive to buy.
Fortunately, household scraps will do just as well. Pastry, cooked rice, grated cheese, raisins, currents and breadcrumbs are a favourite of many common garden birds while bruised apples and pears will particularly appeal to thrushes and blackbirds.
Breakfast cereals also make excellent bird food, but only put out small quantities at a time since they can quickly turn to mush once wetted.
Another popular choice is tinned dog and cat food, but these foodstuffs may attract magpies, crows and every tomcat in the area.
Birds will quickly become dependent on the food you supply, so it's important to stick to a routine and make sure your feeders are regularly topped up and your bird table always has an adequate amount of food and water.
Only provide what will be eaten, though, as leftover scraps can attract rats and mice.
If the food takes days to clear from your bird table or the ground, reduce the amount you put out.
Also, avoid hanging seeds in nylon mesh bags – these can trap a small bird's feet and are potentially life-threatening should they become stuck.
Above all else, though, just enjoy the sight of lots of different birds milling about your garden, pecking at the food and water you've provided.
It's a great way to enjoy nature from the comfort of your own living room.
For more information, please go to www.rspb.org.uk.