Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow Visitors

Due to the snow we have been treated to the sight of a small flock of redwings and fieldfares around our garden. These colouful thrush-cousins first came yesterday to the tall walnut trees behind our back fence but have now discovered the heavily berry-laden bushes across the road. I have spent much of this afternoon with my binoculars trained on my neighbour's front lawn and I do hope that she does not think I am spying! It is a joy to be able to see some unusual birds close up from the comfort of my own kitchen. The crowd of birds is around ten to fifteen strong and it is delightful to see them pull the orange and red treats from the branches and swallow them whole. Seeing them together it is very easy to tell the difference: fieldfares are noticeably larger and have much grumpier faces, they also lack the red patch which gives their companions their name. I would like to try to tempt them into our own, berry-free garden and the field-guide I have suggests they are fond of 'windfall apples'. Not having any windfalls, I fear that it may be a bit of waste to throw out the fresh, supermarket variety, and not very popular with my budget conscious husband or my fruit-eating son. Perhaps I will just go fill the bird-bath with water and put out some bread-crusts and sunflower seeds.


Elizabeth said...

I've never seen those birds. We've had long-tail tits and pied-wagtails in the garden this winter for the 1st time.

We really shouldn't feed them bread--it's not good for their digestive systems at all. Seeds are best-and if you mix them with lard, it'll help sustain them longer. Try just putting out a 1/4 of an apple diced small, and maybe some untreated cheaper-brand raisins. We get over 2 1/2kgs of seed from a small local pound shop for less than £2. Does last a bit. make sure you put the seed near a hedge or tree-they need shelter to eat.

Happy bird spotting!

Gaynor said...

Thanks for the advice. I kind of remembered that bread wasn't too good for them, but I actually didn't get round to putting anything out yesterday! Today I put out some apple pieces and some bird seed. I also cleaned out the bird-bath and filled it up. No takers yet though!

Elizabeth said...

It can take birds up to a week to venture into a garden. If you keep the supply constant-they will come! Just make sure the food is near shelter. We have loads of birds--but our neighbours all have multiple feeders, so we have many resident birds in our gardens.

Gaynor said...

Thanks for the encouragement - and the timely reminder to get out and put some more food down for them. I was hoping the redwings and fieldfares would enjoy the apples, but I guess they will be back to the fields with the thaw. I have seen a number of woodpigeons, strutting around, partaking of my offerings!