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Posts Tagged ‘bird tables’

The nights are getting colder and the days shorter, both of these can have a huge and often negative effect on our birds. Birds need extra food to keep them warm during chilly nights, the reduced daylight hours mean there is less time to search for natural food which as the winter progresses will become scarcer, this is why the RSPB have launched ‘Feed the Birds Day’ to raise awareness on how important it is to put out food for our wonderful feathered friends. This year it is on Saturday 24th October which is the last day of British Summer Time when the clocks go forward and it will then go darker an hour earlier.

How and what should we feed the birds

If possible put out different types of food in a variety of feeders which will be suitable for a wide range of birds, when the weather is cold birds need to eat 40% of their own body weight per day to survive.

Jupiter Peanut FeederNut feeders are made from rigid steel mesh, which is large enough to prevent birds from damaging their beaks yet will only allow small pieces of nut to be removed. Peanuts are high in fat, buy certified peanuts from a reputable supplier as some poor quality peanuts can contain the natural toxin called Aflatoxin which can kill birds, never give birds salted or dry roasted peanuts. Will attract: Tits, Greenfinches, Sparrows, Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Siskins, crushed nuts are favoured by Robins, Dunnocks and Wrens.

The Adventurer FeederSeed Feeders often consist of a clear cylindrical tube with feeding ports and perching rings at the bottom of the feeder. Fill with Sunflower Seeds, Sunflower Hearts (both are high energy foods) or seed mixtures specifically for seed feeders. Will attract House Sparrows, Dunnocks, Finches and Collared Doves. Tits and Greenfinches favour sunflower seeds and crushed peanuts.

Nyjer Seed FeederNyjer Seed Feeders have very small feeding ports to control the flow of seed and minimise waste, although it is very fine Nyjer Seed is rich in oil and highly nutritious. A favourite of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Siskins.

Hanging Star Fatball FeederFat Ball/Cake Feeders are designed to hold fat balls or fat cakes, always remove any nylon mesh bags before placing them in your feeders, these bags are a hazard to wildlife and birds can become entangled and injured. Fat Balls/Cakes can also be put on to all Bird Tables whole or broken up. Popular with all birds especially the Tit family.

Wooden Peanut Butter FeederPeanut Butter Feeders will provide your birds with a nutritious, high energy treat, refills are available in different flavours (original, nut, mealworm, insect) which are specially formulated for birds, do not give birds peanut butter for human consumption as it has a very high salt content. A favourite of the Tit family.

Mealworms for BirdsLive Mealworms are an important source of protein and extremely beneficial in Spring for young chicks and adults throughout the winter when insects are scarce. Serve your mealworms in a container with smooth, vertical sides so that they cannot escape. The Robin is often the first to the dish but they attract Wrens, Dunnocks, Tits, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Starlings and House Sparrows.

New York Hanging Slate TableBird Tables are available in many different designs; freestanding, hanging, wall mounted or ground. Bird tables that have a roof will give protection to birds from predators and keep the food dry.

Selection Bird Feeding TableGround Bird Tables are especially useful for ground feeding and larger birds such as Blackbirds, Thrushes and Starlings, they will still be used by smaller birds too. Elevating the food off the ground reduces the risk of hygiene problems, move the table around the garden to avoid the build up of any waste food or droppings, only put out enough food that will be eaten to avoid attracting vermin.

Coniston Bird BathBird Baths are very important and provide your birds with a supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing throughout the year, they should been cleaned out regularly and replaced with fresh water daily especially during warm weather and freezing conditions.

Leftover Food

It may be tempting to ‘treat’ your birds to some of your leftovers but this can do more harm than good:

  • Bread – although not harmful to birds it is not very nutritional and just fills them up
  • Salty Food – including salted or dry roasted peanuts can dehydrate them
  • Cooking fat from roasted meats, polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils – Can contain bacteria and salt, soft fats can smear on feathers destroying their waterproofing and insulating qualities. Hard fats such as Lard and Beef Suet are fine.
  • Milk – cannot be digested and can cause stomach upsets, cheese can be given safely.
  • Stale or Mouldy Food – can cause respiratory problems and salmonella.

Hygiene

The Urban Bird Feeder

The Urban Bird Feeder

Regularly clean bird feeders, bird tables and bird baths, wash well using a stiff brush and a mild disinfectant, rinse and allow to completely dry out before refilling. Wash them outside use separate utensils, wearing gloves and wash your hands afterwards. Throw away mouldy bird food from feeders and tables if there is a surplus reduce the amount that you put out, excess food on the ground can attract rats and mice.

Now is the time to check your feeders, buy some new ones and stock up on your bird food for the winter, why not get the children involved, then sit back and enjoy watching the birds in your garden.

Gill

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This weekend it is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (25-26 January), so why not take part in the world’s largest wildlife survey, it will only take up an hour of your time, all you need to do during the hour is to record the different species of birds that you see and the highest number of each species that you see at any one time. Schools and Youth Groups such as Brownies and Cubs can get involved too by taking part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch again by watching and recording birds for an hour but this can take place 20 January – 14 February. Send in or register your results online, these results are invaluable and will be used to monitor our bird populations and help with their conservation.

If you are going to take part it is a good idea to put out plenty of bird food and feeders beforehand to attract as many birds to your garden as possible click here for ‘Our guide to feeding garden birds’, if you have time why not make some of your own Bird Cakes.

My Fat Ball and Feeder

Home-made Bird Cakes

An adults help is needed to make these bird cakes as you will need to melt your lard or dripping in a pan.

Ingredients

  • Blocks of supermarket Lard or Dripping
  • Bird Seed
  • Raisins
  • Chopped Nuts/Peanuts

Utensils

  • Thin coated garden wire
  • Brush handle
  • Saucepan
  • Clean empty Yoghurt, Jelly or Custard Pots

Making my Fat Balls

What you need to do

  1. Cut your garden wire into 30cm lengths (with adult help)
  2. Wrap half of the length of wire around the handle to form a spiral and bend over the top to form a loop.
  3. Arrange your empty pots in a tray/seed tray, place a wire spiral in each one then fill to about 2/3rd with the seed mixture.
  4. Melt your lard of dripping in a pan, and leave to cool slightly.
  5. Slowly and carefully pour the melted fat into the pots.
  6. Place your pots in a fridge or somewhere cool to set.
  7. To remove your cakes from their pots, dip them in a bowl of warm water and pull out carefully with the wire handle.

Place your hanging bird cakes around your garden in trees, bushes or from your bird table well out of the way of cats and other predators.

If you have a metal fat ball feeder you can make refills by following the above instructions but omitting the wire spiral from the pots, again warm the pots to remove the cakes and drop them into your feeder.

Happy Birdwatching – Have Fun

Gill

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This weekend Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th January is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch it is the world’s largest wildlife survey, and is free and open to everyone to join in – families, individuals and schools.

To take part all you need to do is to watch the birds in your garden for one hour and record the highest number of birds of each species that you see at any one time, don’t count the total that you see during the hour as you may be including the same birds that have visited more than once, only include birds that actually land in your garden not the ones that fly over.

Jupiter Peanut Feeder

Jupiter Peanut Feeder

Get prepared now by putting out lots of different types of bird food to encourage as many birds as you can, the more choice you provide the more species you may attract, don’t forget to put out some fresh water too.

Giant Fat Ball Feeder

Giant Fat Ball and Feeder

Have a look at the RSPB’s website for lots more information and also an identification chart for the birds that you may see in your garden, with the weather being cold you may attract some unusual birds that have come looking for food.

Hanging Square Bird Table

Hanging Square Bird Table

We will be taking part, we usually do a survey at home and one at my parents house, their house backs on to open fields and they have different birds visiting their garden.

Don’t forget to continue putting out bird food after the survey, the birds really do need our help.

Have fun!

Gill

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Winter is finally here with sub-zero temperatures and a covering of snow in many parts with yet more forecast. The fall in temperatures will come as quite a shock to our wildlife they have endured a relatively mild winter up to now, but we as a nation of wildlife lovers can really help. The birds in our garden are struggling to find any food as their natural food sources are depleted or frozen in the ground, fresh unfrozen water too will be hard to find, High Calorie/Energy foods with a High Fat Content are the most beneficial to put out for the birds :

Seed Mixes are prepared using top quality high calorie ingredients and have been developed to appeal to, and benefit a wide variety of bird species all year round and include High Energy Bird Mix, Bird Feeder Seed, Table Seed Mix, Gourmet Robin Food as well as Nyjer Seed and Sunflower Heart Seeds.

Table Seed Mix

High Fat content Bird Foods are also high in calories and include Peanut Cakes, Fat Balls, Fat filled Coconuts, Peanut Cake Bells and Suet Pellets with Insects and are excellent winter food.

High calorie Peanut Cakes

Live Mealworms are a natural food and relished by Robins, Blue Tits and other insect eating birds and should be provided when fresh.

Live Mealworms are loved by Blue Tits

Clean water is important for the birds both for drinking and also bathing this is essential to keep their feathers in good condition. To prevent the water from freezing add a lightweight ball which will move in the breeze or pour on hot water to melt the ice.

Ceramic Hanging Bird Bath / Water Dish

Ceramic Hanging Bird Bath / Water Dish

Have a look at our range of Bird Food, Bird Feeders, Bird Tables, Bird Baths and treat the birds in your garden.

Gill

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It is very important that we all feed the birds especially at the moment during this cold snap although the weather this winter has been relatively mild so far. Your supply of food can save the lives of many birds. A survey last month revealed that 59% of people rarely or never feed the birds in the winter months. Many birds including the Blue Tit which only weighs one third of an ounce needs to eat 40% of their bodyweight just to stay alive in cold weather and they rely on us putting out food. It is vital to provide food on a daily basis as much of the birds energy can be used up searching for food.

Take a look at our great range of Bird Food and Bird Feeders they are all ideal for your garden birds.

Hygiene is very important so before you fill up your bird feeders it is a good idea to check if any remaining food has gone bad, if so this should be thrown away and the feeders given a good wash, I checked mine this week and found that this was the case, I think that during the mild and wet Christmas period the birds were not eating as much and so the food had started to go black and mouldy. You will also need to clean bird tables regularly as bird droppings can transmit disease especially if they are mixed with food and also discard any mouldy food left on the bird table.

A birdtable makes a useful and attractive feature

It is equally important to provide clean water for the birds both for drinking and also bathing this is essential to keep feathers in good condition, bird droppings can also accumulate in Bird Baths too and so these will need to be washed out regularly. During cold weather check that they have not frozen up, the addition of a tennis ball will help to prevent this.

Hanging Water Dish

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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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Here at Gardening With Children, we care deeply about our environment as well as our wildlife, and during the winter months I have had such fun with my own children watching the birds in our garden.  

Try Gourmet Robin Food in your garden and give this favourite bird a real treat

The children’s sheer delight as the drama of the bird world unfolds…  The blue tits and great tits swapping and changing on the nut feeders, the blackbirds exploring the ground, the cautious wren hopping amongst the flower pots and the swooping in of the starlings – a boisterous mob of tear aways coming in and causing chaos… and that’s all in a few minutes!  

The Niyger Bird Feeder is great for all sorts of seed feeding birds

 …And yesterday I shared a joke with Jemima as we watched a pied wagtail perched on the wall.  As it teetered and bobbed, wagging its tail to keep balance we soon saw where it got it’s name!! 

Birds need our help more than ever at this time of year and we have also been feeding the birds at school.  This provides a fantastic learning experience for the children, and handy feeders such as the Discovery Seed Feeder and the Window Bird Feeder can be placed where the children can see so much of the action from inside the classroom. 

 

We also love the Handing Bird Table  and the Ground Bird Table.  Both are priced at just £13.95 and are made from FSC wood.  Bird tables are important in any garden.  They reduce the risk of hygiene problems, can be easily cleaned and they keep pets out of reach.  They are also perfect for gardens where space is limited. 

 

The full range of wildlife products, from for Hedgehog Food to Peanut Cakes and beautiful Birch Nesting Boxes, are all available at www.recycleworks.co.uk

 

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