Friday, 24 December 2010

Birds, birds everywhere

And here is the bird feeder in action. This is one hanging in the parents' garden in Cornwall where they have up to 80 birds visiting on a daily basis. These range from woodpeckers to pheasants, rather a change from South London where I get excited if something other than a feral pigeon turns up for dinner. Still, I get parakeets occasionally, and so far there are none of those in Cornwall!

And here are a couple of beautiful pictures of Cornwall in the snow taken by my sister.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

For the birds

Apologies, this post was written a few days ago but not posted.
As the garden collapses into a sea of blackened stems and grey hanging leaves I have retreated inside a bit more, but instead of looking out of the window and wishing for spring it's time to start looking after the birds and other wildlife in the garden, in case the weather gets as cold as it did last year.

We started off in November with a seed feeder and a peanut feeder but this has grown to two seed feeders a couple of fat balls, an adjustable feeder for mealworms and two homemade fat balls. I did buy a few commercial fatballs from the RSPB but the birds just weren't interested in them. In fact, apart from a couple of starlings attacking them once and then heading off they have hung there for a month with ne'er a peck at them.

This, coupled with the fact that the vast majority of birds in the area seem to be pigeons, and much as I love wildlife I don't find feral pigeons the most beautiful of birds, led me to try and find a way to feed the other birds with some decent food.

After an initial smaller experiment I decided to go large on the fat ball. I took a soup container, made some holes in it and fitted some bamboo perches and a hanging string.

I then added in a mixture of wiggley wigglers seed, some dried mealworms and a few raisins along with some suet.

After it cooled I cut away the pot (my advice if you do this is to use something slightly less well made than a soup carton as it took some effort to hack the thing off), and lo and behold a giant fat ball ready for the birds of Tooting.

It works. Seen today, a robin sitting on top pecking away and then handing over to a bunch of blue tits - the commercial fat balls are still not being touched.

A well put together blog would culminate in a picture of the creation being happily munched on by some birds and potentially reviews from the local avian population, probably from Twitter (because of course they would be in the form of tweets) but sadly this blog isn't that well crafted and by the time I went out to take a photo in situ most of it had gone, the top third got eaten away and then it started breaking up.

Will be making some more and attempting to actually get a picture of them, so hold your breath and wait for the first picture of a golden eagle in Tooting on my bird table - or more probably an out of focus shot of a starling disappearing over the fence.