The recent spell of freezing weather is coming to an end, but not before it dropped a foot of snow on our terrace. Birds have a hard time in such cold weather, in fact it amazes me that they manage to survive at all. There’s a very interesting post over at Willow House Chronicles about how birds survive cold temperatures if you’d like to know more about how they manage it.
We’ve been putting out food for the birds again this winter, normally just clearing the snow and placing it on the wall. That seems to suit birds like the robin, above, and our resident sparrows, but it can easily be covered by snow or washed away by rain, so this year we’ve also added some proper bird-feeders.
So many of the feeders in garden centres seem impractical and decorative, but after some shopping around I finally found this very practical feeder shown on the right. It’s not particularly cheap, but it does keep the seed clean and dry against all weathers, which has got to be a good thing. I don’t have anywhere obvious to hang such a feeder, so I took the low-tech solution. I found a suitable branch on our morning walks, tied it to the railings of the fence, and hung the feeder from that.
We also got two suet-feeders, and then spent some time looking for suet in the shops we frequent. Our favourite bio-store, Satoriz, didn’t have any, but they did have peanut butter, so I used that instead. I’m sure I could have found suet if I had looked around enough, but since the peanut butter is organic and any suet I find would not be, I prefer to use the peanut butter. I buy organic food for myself because I don’t want to eat pesticides, and I don’t see why wild birds should do so either.
I mixed some bird seed in with the peanut butter, quite a lot in fact, put it in the suet feeders, and hung them from another stick I’d picked up on our morning walks.
For a bit more variety, I tied some millet to the fence too, and I continue to put food loose on the wall for those that prefer it there. I also have a thistle-seed sack-feeder for finches, but no seed to put in it yet. Soon, I hope!
Now the restaurant is open, all we need are customers. First to find us was our robin, of course. You can see him here checking out the feeder during the day of heaviest snowfall. Like so many birds, he shows a great deal of curiosity at anything that changes in his environment. Having decided that it’s safe, he continues to be our most regular visitor.
A couple of days later and a few more birds had found us. The great-tits seem to like the peanut butter, while blue-tits like the tall feeder. We have even been visited by a magpie, who comes a few times daily, takes 3 or 4 peanuts in one go, and flies off to enjoy them somewhere else. I expect that as time goes by we will get more visitors, and hopefully more species too – I know there are woodpeckers nearby.
The magpie is our largest visitor so far, and unless the chickens down the road escape from their coup we’re not likely to get anything much bigger than them. Some people do get larger birds visiting them, such as our friend Shannon Ryan. Take a look at what she gets visiting her bird feeders. They must take quite a bit of feeding!
Tags: Birds, Satoriz, Shannon Ryan, [Bird feeder, [lang_en]Great tit[/lang_en][lang_fr]Mésange charbonnière[/lang_fr], [lang_en]Magpie[/lang_en][lang_fr]Pie[/lang_fr], [lang_en]Robin[/lang_en][lang_fr]Rougegorge[/lang_fr], [lang_en]Sparrow[/lang_en][lang_fr]Moineau domestique[/lang_fr]