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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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Why not take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2012 on Saturday 28th or Sunday 29th January it is free and will only take up an hour of your time. It is an excellent way to get all the family involved in nature and is very rewarding too and you may well spot some unusual or new bird species. Your results are used to help the birds by identifying any species that are in trouble so that they can then be helped.

Schools can also take part by doing the RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch this is from 16th to 30th January 2012 where a class or even the whole school can get involved. It is an activity that all ages and abilities can take part in and again will only take an hour. It is a brilliant way of getting to know the wildlife visiting your school grounds and also in turn thinking about how to encourage more.

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.

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 Everyday Seed Mix, 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 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

Do not stop putting out food after the Birdwatch, as this should be done throughout the year to really help the birds.

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