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Posts Tagged ‘bird table’

At the moment our back garden is not very tranquil we have approximately 16 young Starlings and their parents visiting throughout the day, I can’t believe how much noise they make. They are very demanding and very naïve as are most of the birds that are newly fledged from nests or bird boxes. It is a very critical time for birds and their chicks, this warm weather really helps as it brings with it new hatchings of insects and caterpillars, perfect food for young birds, but a cold and wet spell can really affect the young and parent bird’s survival.

Starling Nest Box

I put bird food out every morning on the lawn and on the bird table, I am sure they must watch me through the kitchen window, waiting for me to come out, they are all very hungry, as soon as I’ve turned my back they are tucking in. The young Starlings (which look bigger than their parents) make me laugh they sit on the lawn surrounded by food and wait for their parents to feed them, which they dutifully do. The young birds are fascinated by the pond they keep climbing on the metal grid that we have over it, wobbling and falling in, they manage to get out quite easily though. The pond provides water for drinking and bathing which is very important especially during the warm weather if you haven’t a pond consider putting out a bird bath/water dish.

Provide water for the birds

In the evening, and a moment of calm after the birds had gone to bed, we were sat out in the garden when some large insects flew over they were ‘May Bugs’ also called Cockchafer Beetles or Melolontha melolontha. They are not a true bug but a large beetle and the largest species of Chafer Beetle in the UK. They are more commonly found in the South and appear on warm evenings from May to July, and are attracted to artificial light often coming indoors through open windows. ‘May Bugs’ may look a bit scary but they are harmless to humans. They are about 3cm in length with short feelers on their black head and a hairy body, with non hairy reddish-brown wing cases. The complete life-cycle from egg to adult takes about 3-4 years.

The grubs are considered a pest feeding underground on roots and they can destroy pastures and crops, you may have come across some of the grubs whilst digging, I have on my allotment and they are pretty horrible to look at. The grubs are ‘C’ shaped, have six legs and are white with reddish-brown heads, they hatch from eggs in about 5-6 weeks and can grow to 4 cm they will live for 3 years and then turn into a pupae and remain underground over winter to emerge as adult beetles the next year. The beetles only live for about a month but will mate and lay their eggs underground on roots before they die. The grubs are favourite food for Rooks, Crows and Gulls and the beetles are eaten by Owls and Bats.

Keep looking out for ‘May Bugs’ we found this one on the road; it was probably hit by a car.

May Bug

Love your Environment  (not sure about the ‘May Bug’ grubs!)

Gill

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We think you will like this delightful and beautifully made porcelain Blue Tit Feeding House, decorated with Blue Tit illustrations by Marjolein Bastin. 

The perfect present for anyone who enjoys attracting birds to their garden, it is ideal for small gardens and balconies and can be easily hung against a wall, tree or fence post.

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Well it’s the beginning of October, so we are thinking darker nights, dewy cobwebbed mornings and autumn leaves.  … And this month is also all about pumpkins. 

So for the Family Competition this month we would like to know how you like to eat your pumpkins – in soup, a pie or something a little different please do send your suggestions in.  We will feature our favourites here on the blog and the best of the bunch will win a copy of the brilliant book Grow It Eat It, along with a lovely Willow Herb Planter and a selection of Seeds.  For all the details of how to enter please click here.

As the weather becomes a bit more unpredictable it’s always good to have a few indoor activties up your sleeve so for this months School Competition we have a fun autumn wordsearch for you to unravel. 

All the details of how to enter can be found here, and the first correct entry out of the hat will win a fabulous selection of bird feeding goodies to keep you feathered visitors to the school playground, happy during the colder days ahead.  Included will be a Ground Bird Table made from FSC wood, a Laminated Guide to Garden Birds, a Bird Window Feeder, a bag of High Energy Bird Mix and a Birch Log Nest Box.

…And remember both our competitions close on 31st October 2010 – so enter today!   Good Luck.

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Nesting places are limited in many gardens, and to maximise the number and variety of birds you have in your local area, consider putting up some nest boxes.  …And the nesting season is starting to get into full swing so get them installed as soon as you can!

 

Which Nest Box to Choose

The robin and wren prefers to nest in an open fronted box, and our Robin and Wren Nest Box has been specifically designed with this in mind. 

 

Equally suitable is the Open Birch Log Nest Box and is perfect if you prefer a more natural look. 

These nest boxes should be located low to the ground, no more than 1m or so high, and will need to be well hidden by vegetation to keep predators away. 

House Sparrow were once one of our commonest birds but populations have sharply declined in recent years, partly due to a lack of natural nesting sites. 

House sparrows are very communal birds, typically nesting in colonies, so the  Timber House Sparrow Terrace is perfect for them. 

Inside the box is split into chambers to fit three pairs of birds – all very cosy!  House sparrows are happy to use a nest box positioned high under the eaves, but when locating it remember to keep away from areas where house martins or swifts usually nest.

The Birch Log Hole Nest Box  is suitable for tits and sparrows, and should be fixed at a height of between 2 and 4 metres.

Siting Your Nestbox

Birds like to have a clear flight path to the nest box so avoid too many obstacles that can make access difficult.  It’s also a good idea to tilt the bird box downwards a little bit, then when it rains, the rain is more likely to hit the roof and not enter the nest box itself.

The nest box is best located away from strong, direct sunlight and strong winds, so unless it is in a sheltered corner position it so it is facing a north-easterly direction where possible.

Cleaning Your Nestboxes

Nestboxes should be cleaned well before the nesting season begins.  Old nests can harbour disease and parasites so should be removed.  Boiling water can be used to kill any remaining bugs and the box should then be left to dry out thoroughly before putting up in the garden.

The RSBP recommend that nestboxes should not inspected whilst birds are nesting, how ever tempting this might be.  But you can keep an eye on everything that’s going on inside with the Nestbox with Infra Red Camera.  Live footage taken during the day and night can then be viewed from your television! 

…And to give birds a helping hand during the busy nesting season, don’t forget to provide water in a Bird Bath and some supplementary Bird Food on a Garden Bird Table.

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