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Thu, 16 Dec 2010
Christmas is coming the snow is on it's way, please do some shopping for the old ones around your way. xxx

Icicle ElfPASTIMES 4 U IN SELIGOR'S CASTLE

ANOTHER WINTER SNAP IS DUE ON THE 17TH DECEMBER, HERE ARE SOME FANTASTIC IDEA'S TO HELP KEEP THE FURRY AND FEATHERED FRIENDS WELL HEATED FROM THE INSIDE. I HAVE STILL THE COCONUT SHELLS SOMEWHERE ON THE PASTIMES 4U, HERE AND AT DREAMLAND. BUT THESE WHICH CAME FROM THE VERYBERRYHANDMADE SITE ARE VERY GOOD AND I DO BELIEVE EASIER FOR THE LITTLEST ONES TO HELP WITH.

MAGPIES, JACKDAWS AND ROOKS, ALSO JAYS LOVE POTATO SKINS AND VEG PEEL BOILED, AND PLACED ON THEIR OWN snowflakeTABLE. I AM LUCKY TO HAVE A VERY BIG BACK GARDEN AND LARGEFRONT ONE AND I HAVE SEVEN BIRD TABLES, AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE MY HUSBAND, PETER HAS OTHER THINGS SET UP.

TODAY ALL THREE OF MY LOCAL BUZZARDS CAME TO THE DEEP BACK, THEY USUALLY COME TO SEE IF THE FOXES HAVE LEFT ANY MEAT, BUT SADLY, I DO THINK THEY MAY TAKE THE OCCASIONAL SQUIRREL IF THERE ISN'T AYTHING TO THEIR LIKING..

SquigI HAVE A LOT OF GREY SQUIRRELS SO I MAKE PEANUT HOLDERS SPECIALLY FOR THEM WITH SOME OF THE COCONUT FLESH, IT DOES HELP KEEP THEM AWAY FROM ALL THE LITTLE BIRDS.

http://veryberryhandmade.wordpress.com/

Birdy Treats

DSCF0700If you visit here regularly then you might have guessed that we are quite keen on our beautiful garden birds.  At this time of year we make really sure to top up our feeders regularly, and we put water in their little bath every day – which was even more necessary than usual in recent freezing weather! The birds reward us, like all the best dinner party guests, by sharing their company and entertaining us.

Just now regular visitors to our garden include blue tits, coal tits, robins, blackbirds, wrens, goldfinches, great tits, dunnocks, magpies, wood pigeons, collared doves & long-tailed tits.  It’s only in the last couple of years  or so that we would have been able to identify half of these, but we have learnt a lot, just standing at the kitchen window & grabbing our bird book & we’ve also really enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures in one of our favourite books – Birds Britannica by Richard Mabey. We also try and take pictures sometimes – as you can see from Sandy’s recent attempt to photograph a blue tit.  He’s definitely improving.

There is a brilliant summary of what/what not to feed birds on the RSPB’s website, and as they suggest, at this time of year we like to make suet cakes for our garden visitors..  As you can see from Sandy’s photo, they are much appreciated by the small birds, especially as the larger birds can’t manage to get at them (although they have a very good try!). Here’s how we do it:

Suet Cakes for Birds

Prepare four 3″ plastic plant pots (i.e. plants pots that measure 3″ across the top) by washing them thoroughly, covering the holes in the bottom with a circular piece of foil or greaseproof paper (wax circles for jam making are just the right size!).  Small yogurt pots would work just as well.

DSCF0741

Cut four 60cm lengths of garden twine & fold it in half twice, so you have a little bundle of 4 strands, which you need to knot at the bottom.  I make 2 or 3 knots on top of each other to make a nice bulky knot, then put the bundle of twine in the plant pot so that the knot sits at the bottom (see picture).

Put one 200g packet of suet (not vegetarian!!!)or beef dripping in a pan over a gentle heat to melt (a very gentle heat, you don’t want it to get too hot otherwise it takes longer for the cakes to set).

Whilst the suet is melting weigh out 250g of good quality bird seed, 100g peanuts and 50g of raisins into a bowl.

Pour the warm melted suet over the dry ingredients and stir it all up, and then use a spoon to transfer the mix to the 4 prepared pots – try to keep the twine in the middle of the pot.

Use a teaspoon to squish down the mix – it really helps if the cakes are compact when you come to turn them out.

Put the 4 plant pots in the fridge to set quickly.  When they are quite hard, you should be able to turn them out by just giving the plant pot a little squeeze.  If they prove a bit stubborn, just run them under warm water for a few seconds.

DSCF0605

Then just take them outside and hang them up for the birds to enjoy.

If you are wondering where to get seed then I can really recommend the brilliant Wiggly Wigglers – they have a wide range of feeds suitable for attracting different kinds of birds to your garden, and lots of good advice too.  If you are feeling brave, you can order their live bird feed, but DO make sure that you fasten the bag securely after using, unless you want a load of lovely mealworms crawling around your garage, shed or (horrors) kitchen…  You have been warned!

Here is a list of things that Seligor puts in her suet pots etc

WILD BIRD SEED.      Extra Sunflower hearts,  Crumbled Fruit Cake, Peanuts crushed, (Left whole for the Squirrel pots)  Cheese - Cut very small.  Extra Finch Seed. not too much barley or maize. It always seems to get left.

Raisins and Sultana's - try to wash and dry well to get rid of the juice, stops sticking.

I was wondering if it might be a good idea to somehow place a stick across the bottom of the pot to help the birds that don't naturally hang to feed better. My woodpeckers like to reach up whilst clinging onto something. so I usually wedge their food inside a fork in a branch. beware once more of dashed squigs. (Squirrels)

Many fishing/angling  shops sell live mealworms and wiggles. Wrens like live food. and although you see the odd thrush on a bird table , most of the thrush/blackbird family do like to forage for their food on the ground. make sure you ask dad to help keep grassy areas cleared under bushes.

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I am going to try very hard to make a video of my amazing garden. I was bought a flip camera for my birthday and if I can just stop my hands shaking I just might be able to do it for you all. The British Bird Organisation have some wonderful idea's also.

Must go now, Time for bed. Seligor xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

Posted 10:38

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