Daily Archives: December 24, 2012

CATS AND SPARROWHAWKS

 

I have had two comments yesterday,which were similar, because they are about birds being preyed on.

John says –

It’s a load of rubbish “sparrowhawks go for the weaklings  They attack so silently and swiftl.  They will kill and eat any bird up to the size of a pigeo.  In fact one of their favourite  meals of recent years is the very fit, well muscled racing pigeon, and is well hated for its constant attacks on them.

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Stan says –

I was raised in a rural NZ region and  have always lived with animals- cats especially.   The little darlings certainly may catch birds, but most times they’ll bring prey back home to exchange for praise & tastier nibbles !

The poor bird will usually be shocked (and often needs a dark warm place to recover), but  perhaps half of the birds we’ve had delivered survive to fly off.    But in my experiences cats far prefer mice (which they play with and eventually  EAT), and they do mankind an immense favour by keeping rodents at bay.

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Interesting

CHRISTMAS DINNER FOR OUR GARDEN BIRDS

When  you sit down to your meal, plate piled high with Christmas-time goodies, have a thought for the wild birds around you. What will they be eating for their Christmas dinner?

Winter is a difficult time of year for birds, the days are short and the nights are cold, so they must eat a lot of food in a short amount of ‘daylight time’  to have the energy to survive until the morning. 

Sharing your dinner with the birds 

Many of your kitchen scraps and Christmas leftovers make ideal snacks for birds visiting your garden and can help them get the food they need to survive. Here’s a quick guide to what you can put out: 

  • Fat – fat from cuts of meat (as long as it comes from only unsalted varieties) can be put out in large pieces, from which birds such as tits can remove morsels. Make sure that these are well anchored to prevent large birds flying away with the whole piece.
  • Roast potatoes  – cold and opened up, these will be eaten by most garden birds.
  • Vegetables – cold Brussels, parsnips or carrots will be eaten by starlings and other birds, but remember not to put out more than will be eaten in one day, otherwise you run the risk of attracting rats.
  • Fruit – excess or bruised apples, pears and other fruit are very popular with all thrushes, tits and starlings. Cut them up and leave them on the bird table or on the ground.   I cut the apples up – so they can get at the apple easily
  • Pastry – cooked or uncooked is excellent, especially if it has been made with real fats. 
  • Cheese – Hard bits of cheese are a favourite with robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and song thrushes. It will also help wrens if placed under hedgerows and other areas in your garden where you have noticed them feeding. Avoid feeding them very strong or blue cheeses. I often grate the cheese.
  • Dried fruits – raisins, sultanas and currants are particularly enjoyed by blackbirds, song thrushes and robins.
  • Biscuits and cake – Stale cake and broken pieces of biscuits from the bottom of the tin are high in fat and ideal for birds in the winter.

Golden rules for feeding birds

  • Don’t put out salty foods. Birds can’t digest salt and it will damage their nervous systems.
  • Only leave enough that can be eaten in one day – otherwise you may attract unwanted visitors, such as mice and rats.
  • Always follow sensible hygiene measures, including washing hands thoroughly after filling and washing feeders.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS