Monthly Archives: January 2009

Keep cats indoors?

Cats seem to be loved or hated in equal measure.

But there is no getting round the fact that cats are carnivourous mammals who have a bloodlust.

Should cats be kept inside entirely or in contained cat runs to stop them cutting a swathe through our bird life (as well as other wildlife)?

In Australia some areas already have  legislation in place to keep cats indoors. Could this happen in Britain?

Worldwide cats may have been involved in the extinction of more bird species than any other cause except habitit loss and are contributing to the danger of other small mammals possibly becoming extinct.

In Britain alone domestic cats now number 8 million and are said to kill millions of birds annually.

A cat’s motivation to hunt is separate from its desire to satisfy hunger so it will hunt at any time. Their taste for blood is never ending.

Most of the creatures they kill are tortured to death. So you could call cats murderers who torment their victims.

Cats are well fed and do not have to forage for food as their owners feed them well. This means they are well fed and alert for each killing spree.

Somewhere safe and secure to sleep is of paramount importance to man and animal alike. Cat owners ensure their cat has a comfortable, safe and secure bed.
The bird population does not have the luxury of a safe haven where they can renew their strength. They have to be on the look out for predators 24/7. They also have to forage every day for food to survive.

I want to enjoy the wildlife in and around my garden. I do not want to see them being killed by cats.

What do you think?

Bird Watching – a lovely description

This was sent to me in November, but am putting it on now.

 

I noticed that the number of squabbling starlings has increased here over the past couple of days.

This early evening I watched as a coal tit kept trying to grab a sunflower seed from the bird table.

The bird table was occuped by a robin which kept chasing the tit away, but it did not stop the coal tit from trying  until it had got its sunflower seed.  It just kept trying from different directions.

You think a robin is a small bird until you see a tiny coal tit next to one,  but this coal tit was not going to be bullied out of its supper.  I could have cheered out loud when it succeeded.  John.

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John, thanks for sending this lovely description and bird feeding

Bird Cake Recipe

Bird cake  / fatballs are very good all year round for birds, but especially in the winter.

It’s  easy to buy fatballs but they are easy to make as well.  It just takes a little bit of time.

ONE WAY TO MAKE A FATBALL

With this receipe it needs to be –

  • one third fat and

  • two thirds should be the food mixture

Melt some lard.  Then add any or all of the following

  • Oatmeal

  • cheese

  • seeds

  • nuts

  • dried fruit

It very simple you just –

  • Mix fat and food mixture together

  • Put it in a container to set

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A bird meal in minutes

When using fat to bind bird food it’s no good using vegetable oil.  It needs to be lard / fat.

I know there are a lot of ways to make fat balls / bird cake.  If you have a recipe let me know

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National Nest Box Week

It is National Nest Box Week  from 14th to 21st  February so why not put up a nest box and help our feathered friends  – it also means you’ll be able to  enjoy seeing wild birds nest in your garden.

I’ve been reading about two types of nest box. 

Click on the headings and you’ll find more information about these two bird boxes.

CEDAR WOOD NEST BOXES  

Needs little maintenance and has good insulation properties.  This is the 26mm hole nestbox.

SCHWEGLER NEST BOXES

a Schwegler  woodcrets, 2-hole nest box.  The shape of the box make it possible for birds to nest out of the reach of predators.  The woodcrete keeps nesting birds warm as it has good insulation.

Why not click  on the links and decide which nest box is best.

Trisha

Sparrowhawk with its talons round a blackbird

A few minutes ago I was just going to walk through the gate when I heard a ‘squealing’, a rush of wings and also branches moving

Then, actually at my feet, landed a sparrowhawk with its talons round a blackbird.   I was so shocked to see the death throes of a blackbird just where I was standing.

I had never been so close to a sparrowhawk.  I was looking down on it and at the blackbird that was caught up in the Sparrowhawk’s  talons.

The blackbird was ‘squealing, struggling’ and trying to get away but there was no chance. 

The sparrowhawk  did not have it’s  it’s wings outstretched and had the blackbird  ‘pinned’ to the ground with it’s talons round the blackbird. 

 

Sparrowhawk - a bird of prey

Sparrowhawk - a bird of prey

I did not take the photograph of the sparrowhawk 

Blackbird – a garden bird

blackbird

I moved slightly and  the sparrowhawk suddenly let go of the blackbird.  It flew upwards and into the hedge – it must just have seen me.  

I think up until then the sparrowhawk was oblivious to me.

The blackbird, leaving behind a lot of feathers, ran and hopped into the base of the hedge and disappeared.

I shouted and shook the hedge, trying to frighten the sparrowhawk away. Then I realised I might frighten the blackbird out into the open, making it easy prey for the sparrowhawk.

The hedge was a laurel hedge.  A laurel hedge will not keep out  sparrowhawks because it does not have thorns to keep the sparrowhawk out.  Sparrowhawks cannot take the chance of damaging their feathers on thorns so they never go into bramble bushes etc .

There was nothing I could do.  For a moment I became involved with  nature and wildlife which we don’t seem to have any control over. 

What else goes on in my garden that I’m not aware of.  Who does the garden belong to – me or the birds.

Bird Friendly Garden Corner

I’m putting together a Bird Friendly Plant list – with help from other people.

I’ve found some  plants that can be planted now if the ground is not frozen solid.  Here is some information about two of the plants.

A Blackberry or bramble bush
If you plant a bramble bush some of the bird that will eat the fruit are

  • Starlings,
  • bullfinches,
  • great tits and
  • blue tits. 

Some of the birds that will nest safely in the prickly branches are

  • Blackbirds
  • warblers
  • thrushes
  • long tailed tits
  • finches
  • dunnocks

FIRETHORN – evergreen shrub

If you plant a Firethorn shrub some of the birds that will eat the fruit are –

  • blackcap
  • waxwing

Some of the birds that will nest in the fire thorn are

  • blackbird
  • song thrush

Also, the flowers of the Firethorn attract insects, which in turn attract birds.

So this is the start of my Bird Friendly Plant list!

I’m sure a lot of us will be planting something in 2009.  Whatever we plant be it  flowers, grasses, bushes, trees, plants, shrubs we could buy those that can provide food or shelter for our garden birds.

Any offers of knowledge or help welcome

Blackbird in USA with white tail feathers

In December I was lucky enough to get this comment from the USA about a  black bird that had some white tail feathers.  

We have a blackbird with several white tail feathers visiting our feeder here in NJ today.  Regards Nelson

I emailed Nelson back to make sure NJ stood for New Jersey.  The reply was

NJ does stand for New Jersey. Today’s sighting is ther first time we’ve seen this particular bird with the the white tail feathers.

I think it’s interesting that white feathered blackbirds span the globe.

I’m interested in the blackbird I see so I decided  to have a category for my white tailed blackbird so I can keep tabs on when I see him.

I have not seen either of our blackbirds that have some white tail feathers for a few weeks.

I get about ten blackbirds a day now!  I think it’s because I put cheese out.  They are sometimes like a small flock flitting round.

The thrushes are always in the background as well.

Nursery Rhymes, Poems and Prayers about birds

I thought it would be a good idea to put some nursery rhymes and also poems and prayers  about birds together.   Here they are some nursery rhymes

LITTLE ROBIN REDBREAST
Little Robin Redbreast
Came to visit me
This is what he whistled,
Thank you for my tea.

Pit, pat, well-a-day,
Little Robin flew away.
Where can little Robin be:
Gone into the cherry tree.

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BIRDS OF THE AIR
A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird

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THE NORTH WIND DOTH BLOW
The North Wind doth blow
And we shall have snow,
And what will the poor Robin do then?
Poor thing.
He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.

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THERE WERE TWO BIRDS SAT ON A STONE
There were two birds sat on a stone, Fa, la, la, la, lal, de:
One flew away and then there was one,
Fa, la, la, la, lal, de;
The other flew after, and then there was none,
Fa, la, la, la, lal, de;
And so the poor stone was left all alone, Fa, la, la, la, lal, de.

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I SAW A SHIP A SAILING
I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea,
And oh, but it was laden
With pretty things for thee!

There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold;
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were all of gold.

The four-and-twenty sailors,
That stood between the decks,
Were four and twenty white mice
With chains about their necks.

The captain was a duck
With a packet on his back,
And when the ship began to move
The captain said, Quack, Quack!

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GOOSEY, GOOSEY, GANDER
Goosey, goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who would not say his prayers
I took him by the left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

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Here is a comment from someone from abroad.  It’s a nice little nursery rhymn.-

Hi Trisha,
There’s a comic somg about a Jay Bird – we used to sing it in Guides with actions:

Way down south not very far off
A jay bird died of the whooping cough
He whooped so hard with the whooping cough
That he whooped his tail and his feathers right off!

It’s sung over and over a few times (sitting on all fours) getting faster and faster and everytime whooping is sung you throw your arms in the air!

very impressed with your site!

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I’d love to hear of any more nursery rhymns or poems about birds.

 

Trisha