As I mentioned recently, for christmas my beloved bought me a wildlife camera, with the hope that I’d get some good shots of some interesting wildlife and i’m glad to say, it has been, an unqualified success.On a limited budget we’ve managed to entice wildlife into the garden and with the aid of a donated bird table and a couple of feeders made it a tasty stop off point for all sorts of interesting wildlife.
We have all seen the numerous shops selling bird and wildlife foodstuffs these days, but feeding garden birds doesn’t need to be expensive, as many of the things you throw away provide suitable food for birds too.
Bacon and other Fats – You can put out fat from unsalted cuts of meat in large pieces for the birds. Birds, such as tits, can remove morsels from them. Make sure they are well anchored to prevent large birds flying away with the whole piece! This kind of food can attract magpies and gulls, and also neighbourhood cats. If this is likely to be a problem, it’s best avoided. There is a lot of debate about the suitability of bacon rind, since much of it is salted during the curing process. As long as you can be sure the bacon is not salty, you can put it on your bird table. Since bacon can be too tough for many birds to tackle, chopping it finely will allow a wider variety of birds to eat it.
Bread – All types of bread are acceptable to birds, but ideally it should only be just one component in a varied diet. Bread does not contain the necessary protein and fat birds need from their diet, and so it can act as an empty filler. Although bread isn’t harmful to birds, try not to offer it in large quantities, since its nutritional value is relatively low. A bird that is on a diet of predominantly, or only bread, can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve. Only put out an amount of bread that birds will eat in a day.
Food left on the ground overnight can attract rats. Soaked bread is more easily ingested than stale dry bread, and brown bread is better than white. Crumbled bread is suitable in small quantities, but moisten if it is very dry. During the breeding season, crumble the bread into tiny pieces so that it is only eaten by the adult birds. Dry chunks of bread will choke baby birds, and a chick on a diet of bread may not develop into a healthy fledgling.
Fat – Fat, including suet, is particularly welcomed by tits, great spotted woodpeckers, thrushes and wrens. However, please avoid polyunsaturated fats – they don’t give the birds the high levels of energy they require in winter.
Cheese -Mild grated cheese is a favourite with robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and song thrushes. It will also help wrens if you place it under hedgerows and other areas in your garden where you’ve noticed them feeding.
Potatoes – Baked potatoes (cold and opened up), roast and even mashed potatoes with added real fats are all suitable food for birds. Chips though are rarely eaten by birds.
Fruit – Dried fruits, such as raisins, sultanas and currants are particularly enjoyed by blackbirds, song thrushes and robins. Soak them during spring and summer. Apples, pears and other fruit, including bruised and part rotten ones, cut up, are very popular with all thrushes, tits and starlings.
Pastry – Pastry, cooked or uncooked, is excellent – especially if it has been made with real fats.
(*Information kindly supplied by the R.S.P.B.)
In my experience though wildlife just like humans (myself excluded) don’t tend to like brussel sprouts !
In our garden so far this winter we’ve had Starlings, House Sparrows, Collared Doves, Blackbirds, Wood Pigeons as well as Robins, Magpies and Coal Tits and that’s just the birds. Pheasants have paid a visit, male and female, I’m glad to say that only this morning I saw around four quails,although they’d gone by the time I got the camera.
The most qualified success though came after we removed the wire mesh from the bottom of the garden, in order to hopefully get other wildlife coming into the garden, on February 18th at 1am, a hedgehog was spotted on night vision among all the photos of neighbouring cats,this pleased us enormously.
“Storm Doris” blowing a gale this morning