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Winter is coming.....cuisine for wildlife!

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  • Winter is coming.....cuisine for wildlife!

    As winter is nearly upon us, I thought it might be nice to share some recipes for fat balls etc for the birds and suggestions for other wildlife

    Please feel free to add links and tips.....tried and tested or just something which caught your eye and you'd like to share!

    my first 'tip' is to suggest you make sure you have clean water available for birds at all times ( unfrozen !)

    here's a suet ball recipe....
    http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wil...5/t/20501.aspx

    I find hanging these fat balls in direct sunlight causes them to melt and drip fat on sunny days....so they seem to be better hung somewhere more shaded.

    Remember that some birds are ground feeders , some eat only seeds and others are insect eaters....so whatever you make will encourage different types of birds.
    Last edited by burnie; 17-11-2017, 09:17 AM.
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

    Location....Normandy France

  • #2
    Another thought....
    Any apples going past their 'best' , don't throw them out...pop them in the freezer until we get a really cold spell . Then defrost them overnight and chuck them onto the lawn/snow for the birds.
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

    Location....Normandy France

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    • #3
      An American site....but it gives you an idea of what foods encourage different birds.....

      These Bird Food Recipes will Attract Wild Birds and Save You Money
      "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

      Location....Normandy France

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      • #4
        Looking at some recipes I think it worth mentioning that things should surely be salt-free?
        like peanut butter for e.g.
        One of the ones I looked at mentioned bacon fat...that's salty too!

        Any bird experts out there who can advise on that please?
        Last edited by Nicos; 17-11-2017, 06:38 AM.
        "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

        Location....Normandy France

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        • #5
          An interesting site about fun bird feeders....

          https://happyhooligans.ca/32-homemade-bird-feeders/
          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

          Location....Normandy France

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          • #6
            So....over to you!
            "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

            Location....Normandy France

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            • #7
              Be aware that some food might encourage rats(a problem I had), so I grow sunflowers and save the seed for the birds. Don't over tidy the garden, the dead flower heads of some species have food for the birds too, like the teasel in particular. Peanuts are one of the best foods in a cage type feeder so the squirrels and rats can't eat them. Apples are a great idea Nicos, a friend even had Waxwings eating them in there garden a few winters back.
              If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.
              Gardening in the NE of Scotland

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              • #8
                As we "speak" I am soaking some raisins and sultanas for the blackbirds, they seem to love them and by soaking, the birds get liquid if it is frosty (as it was here, this morning )
                A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot! (Thomas Edward Brown)

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                • #9
                  The pigeons are a big problem as well as parakeets in our garden.
                  We have a hidden bird feeder in a nice bush for the tits, finches etc
                  Mr Robin and his family ground feed under, as do any sparrows that may turn up.
                  Will be looking to hang fat balls in the bush as well during the winter months
                  I have to say that our neighbour but one has the all singing and dancing bird feeder that the parakeets make a bee line for
                  Nannys make memories

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scarey55 View Post
                    As we "speak" I am soaking some raisins and sultanas for the blackbirds, they seem to love them and by soaking, the birds get liquid if it is frosty (as it was here, this morning )
                    I keep getting the urge to soak some dried fruit in something alcoholic. Sort of revenge.

                    Mine get a steady supply of peanut granules and sunflower hearts, seem the peanuts are preferred so about 2:1 ratio.
                    Also suet bits - the red fruit one seem preferred. Robin likes them.

                    If I make up a "fat ball" recipe it is peanuts, sunflower hearts and dried sultanas through a grinder, melt the suet and mix in the ground stuff. Tend to just let it set in a plastic container then push it out and put it on a feeding station of some sort. Makes 3 or 4 at a time.

                    Find the dried mealweorms are not popular. Can half understand it, not much in a dried mealworm after all. So I gave up buying them. Now it is about 2Kg of the other stuff a week. At least I can get it loose and so reasonable amounts without 25lb sacks lying around.

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                    • #11
                      I don't put any food out in the summer, just supply tons of slugs, snails and caterpillars for free lol. But I am now starting to put food out, started with fat slabs and will add sunflower seeds and later this month peanuts. I've stopped feeding the "bird food" seed as there is just so much waste in it these days and the birds seem happy enough. May add some fat balls after the first frost along with Niger seed for the Goldfinches.
                      If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.
                      Gardening in the NE of Scotland

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                      • #12
                        We will be starting to feed regularly again soon. During summer the odd dried crust or a single fat ball has been available, but the birds are encouraged to feed naturally when it's plentyful.
                        We have some not great sweetcorn that will be dried ready, and of course the sunflowers. The sunflowers are not particularly big this year, but they are organic ;-).
                        I'm going to try a different feeder to discourage the pigeons and doves of which we are not short. I might leave the summer raspberry canes very long and put a feeder within them for the smaller birds. Otherwise I shall build a bird house with a low overhanging roof to keep the big birds out.

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                        • #13
                          Does "Winter cuisine" include Robin Kabab ?
                          I cannot go in the garden without getting visited by a robin. I seem to have a garden that is good for them and I suspect sits at the boundry of 2 if not 3 terriatories.

                          Have debated applying to do a PhD in the social interplay of urban robins.
                          They don't fight or confront each other unless they have to, Mine seem to see the other 1 or 2 or 3 and contrive to look away so they "don't see them" and so avoid conflict.
                          So I have a number of robins all avoiding each other somehow in some crazy dance around the garden.

                          One has worked out I am safe, so if necessaary he/she sits at my feet. I guess I am supposed to scare the others off.

                          Digging bits of garden just gets a robin waiting to jump on anything that wiggles. One scared the heck out of me, appeared about 4 inches from my hand. Not sure if it is the same robin or different ones.

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                          • #14
                            This time of year Robin young are still tolerated in their parents territory, it doesn't last for long, indeed the adults don't tolerate each other either, think I know some humans like that too lol.
                            If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.
                            Gardening in the NE of Scotland

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                            • #15
                              Yes I have one youngster around at present, must have been somewhat late brood.
                              The "most tame" one was a youngster some months ago that realised I didn't mind him having the assorted bugs etc that I made available when digging.

                              Every year I have usually 2 pairs sharing the place.
                              Every year it is the same - they contrive to not quite see each other. Actually amusing.
                              They say robins will fight, they will I suspect unless they can avoid it, and these always seem to just avoid it, somehow. I spread food around so they are not at one place.

                              Presently at least one (pair) seem to use an area of dumped pine branches to live in or under. Minor catch is I need to clear it. Oh dear!!!

                              Need another bird box for them, and a few more evergreens. Have 6 small pyrocanthas but they are too small presently - grew from seed/fruits from a handful I picked. Will try another handful this year - costs nothing.

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