The importance of feeding birds in our gardens

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The importance of feeding birds in our gardens

Postby Ruth » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:08 pm

I am no garden expert, just an enthusiastic amateur, ie I like Monty Don! I was ticked off by my neighbour that we shouldn't feed birds during spring/summer as they are to fend for themselves. However, according to the RSCB website , we should be feeding our birds all year round, especially during nesting/hatching season. They say most fledglings die of hunger or the cats get them. The only time we slack off feeding is during autumn when berries are bountiful. I made bird cake last year for adults and fledglings alike and the garden was full of birds young and old.

One important point is that once you start to feed your birds, you must continue to do so - they expend energy just to get to your garden looking for food that you have previously laid.

Water is also very important. I found birdbaths too expensive and simply bought a bowl from Asda, filled it to a few inches from the top with pebbles so the birds can stand and then filled with water. After a couple of weeks of uncertainty, the blackbirds love it and are regularly heard splashing around as well as having a good drink. It's lovely to see.

A lot of our birds are on the decline and we really ought to do all that we can. I give below a general guide to birdcake but this can also be found on the internet I am sure.

Bird food can be quite expensive but I found that household leftovers can make food they just love.

1 pack lard melted
half a pack of birdseed
any leftover granary/wholemeal bread
bit of stale biscuit/scone
old grapes or other fruit chopped.
bacon fat chopped small

Simply melt lard, put these sort of things in (or any other similar things). Mix in seed until a thickish mush is formed. Put into old yoghurt pots or other (I bought a coconut and when finished hacksawed it in half). Put it outside when set and watch those birds come in.

A final point and I don't mean to lecture. When putting out bread for birds it must be soaked first. Apparantly the bread can swell inside the birds throat and choke it.
Thanks for looking. May many birds visit your garden this Summer.
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Postby despair » Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:28 pm

I am onlt too happy to encourage birds into my garden and adore Thrushes and Blue tita but oh those Blackbids and the perishing Magpies and pigeons they are the ones who have decimated what was originally a thriving bird population

Add on the blessed cats and you have Armagedon
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Postby Ruth » Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:50 pm

I don't understand despair - what on earth is wrong with blackbirds?
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Postby Beech » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:12 pm

A useful recipe Ruth.

I make 'bird cake' by melting some lard and adding ordinary mixed seed to it, it works really well. If I'm feeling generous I'll add some sultanas.

We are delighted to have blackbirds in our garden, they sing beautifully and eat slugs. As far as I know they don't rob other bird's nests.
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Postby despair » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:17 pm

Blackbirds strip cherry trees etc well before the fruit has even turned from green

As for Magpies and pigeons they are responsible for decimation of many bird populations

I used to love seeing thrushes , blue tits etc but they are rare these days
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Postby carpinus » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:21 pm

Despair, I'm not sure that pigeons can be held responsible for any decline in other bird numbers. As for the maligned magpies... well they may occasionally rob other nests but that is not their exclusive food. There is an argument that a healthy magpie population is an indication of a healthy population all down the food chain. I have a pair of very attractive jays that visit my garden. A close relative of mine would happily shoot them as a pest. Some years I get mistle thrushes and/or song thrushes. This year neither. But I have a pair of reed buntings using my seed feeder. Nature, like the weather, the stock market & house prices moves in cycles.
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Postby GaryA » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:33 am

Hey Despair, Blackbirds are thrushes (same family), both eat seeds and berries. Don't blame them only. They do have a nice song in the morning just outside my window though (If I'm lucky).

I'm not happy with the crows managing to get on my roofed bird table, how they fit in is amazing.

Its the flaming magpies that kill all the baby birds. The times I've saved a fledgling.

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Postby subjecttocontract » Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:08 am

Magpies are pests/vermin and can be shot.
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Postby despair » Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:24 am

Ooooooooooooh good i will invite the local shooting club round for some practice then ...............maybe i will get some of the other birds back in my garden
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