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Our garden birds - Harsh winter weather can spell doom


MsAnneThrope

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Our garden birds urgently need our help in this cold snap...

BirdWatch Ireland: Harsh winter weather can spell doom for our garden birds

If you have no interest in helping out our garden birds during this cold snap then this is not the thread for you. If you would like to help them survive this harsh weather (many will die without our help) then the above link has some good advice. Feeding garden birds can be a very enjoyable and rewarding activity, your children or grandchildren can be entertained for free for hours, and in these gloomy times knowing you are helping out some of the most beautiful creatures Nature has given us can be uplifting.

Remember the crumbs and scraps from your table that you would otherwise bin can make the difference between life and death for our native birds where, at this time of the year, every day is a bitter struggle for food and survival. Imagine if you had to get up every day and scavenge for food over a frozen terrain.

If you have cats please take the necessary measures to ensure they cannot pounce. The most important feeding times for birds are first thing in the morning and the hour or two before dark, so if you do feed the birds make sure the cats are indoors at these times. Ideally place feeders up high out of the reach of cats. Note however that some birds like the songbirds (blackbirds, thrushes, robins) are ground feeders, whereas birds like finches, tits, sparrows take readily to feeders hanging from trees or walls. The ground feeding birds will take to a bird table easily though. These are easy to make and place anywhere. Even a plank of wood attached to a wall or lodged in a tree will ensure that birds who cannot use hanging feeders can get food too. Again make sure this is out of the reach of cats.

For kids a fun way to feed birds is to buy a guidebook or poster of Ireland's birds and have them try identify each bird they see in the garden from the book. This is what we did as children before Barbie and Nintendo came on the scene. And birdwatching is free!







These beautiful birds and many other species are out there now. They're cold and starving and desperately need our help with food, starting today! Many will die a miserable death otherwise. Thank you :)
 
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MsAnneThrope

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Thanks Anne. I will fast-track my bird plans, and put out some food for the birds immediately.
Maith an fear Húrin, please tell family, friends and colleagues to do the same too. Thanks again.
 

B.Bumblebee

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Keep em fed. Poor birds.
 

Ed Dantes

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Birds dying at the seashore this morning. Brother-in-law brought a thrush home in an effort to save it but failed.

The good news is that birds are flourishing in my back garden but I have to keep breaking the ice which forms on the water.
 

beanie

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Thanks Anne, we've been making our own mix, melt 2 packets of lard (frytex), make crumbs out of 1 lbrown sliced pan, add into melted lard with I defrosted bag of frozen sweetcorn. Seems to be going down a treat. Trying to feed a family of crows living in an outhouse, but having trouble keeping up with them. This is Russell as a baby.
 

MsAnneThrope

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Birds dying at the seashore this morning. Brother-in-law brought a thrush home in an effort to save it but failed.

The good news is that birds are flourishing in my back garden but I have to keep breaking the ice which forms on the water.
Yes, fresh drinking water is important too. I have some large shallow bowls (don't put out deep ones) placed outside. Boil the kettle in the morning then pour over the frozen surface while simultaneously tapping it with a small hammer. Takes just a few seconds to melt and break up the ice.

Another important point is that if you are putting bread out make sure it is wet/moist. Dry bread can swell up in their gullets or stomach and kill them.

I've noticed many seabirds coming inland too, they are that desperate. Many supermarkets will give you spoiled bread and of course suet, if you ask nicely. Most birds, including the seabirds, will devour it.
 

jdaly

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Good post Anne;
I feed the birds morning and late afternoon and it is a pleasure to watch them. We have only a very small garden yet we get sparrows, robins, thrushes and a mistle thrush, far more blackbirds than usual this year and one hen blackbird tries to rule the roost, several kinds of tit, a finch or two,starlings by the score, the occassional wag tail, and the old jackdaw calls if bread is available (the bigger birds can't use the hanging feeders). We have a hedge and a couple of small trees which is great for the birds. With the frost it's important to make sure water is available too.
 

flavirostris

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It's particularly hard on species like Kingfisher which suffer high mortality during cold snaps. Waders often become desperate and you can see them feeding right beside public footpaths and roads.
 

Lightning Rod

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Blackbirds, starlings and crows adore cooked pasta, especially spagetti, you should see them gobble it up.
 

brughahaha

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A handful of porridge oats and some store bought seeds and after 1 week i appear to have been adopted by a very entertaining ,curious and cheeky robin amongst others

Great post
 

beanie

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Russell Crow :D
Yea, Russell Crow, he was hand reared when his nest fell apart and the dogs and cats couldn't be trusted. So he moved into the house and spent some afternoons out in the outhouse with his family.

This was his "transiition" spot. He was accepted back by his family and comes to visit at the window every now and again.
 

MsAnneThrope

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Yea, Russell Crow, he was hand reared when his nest fell apart and the dogs and cats couldn't be trusted. So he moved into the house and spent some afternoons out in the outhouse with his family.
Lovely story :)
 

bayern

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I used to feed birds in our garden but advised by a guy in pest control its a way of attracting mice and rats.
 

flavirostris

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I used to feed birds in our garden but advised by a guy in pest control its a way of attracting mice and rats.
I think if you use the bird feeders available in pet shops that would deter the rodents. I hung up some of the plastic feeders a few years ago and had regular goldfinches, greenfinches, redpolls, blue tits and great tits. I noticed that dunnocks and robins don't use the feeders though, they tend to be more terrestrial.
 

greenporcupine

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What a nice change,and what a lovely subject .
Love my birds,and have found that they are becoming more tame,and look at you with their
cute exprssions,instead of darting away.
But mine are now spoiled ,and won't eat anything except their favourites ,among which is sunflower seeds.
Maybe have to give them more fat,since it is so cold. .
 

MsAnneThrope

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I used to feed birds in our garden but advised by a guy in pest control its a way of attracting mice and rats.
The important thing is to not overfeed before dark, resulting in food left on the ground or on bird tables overnight. Put a little out 60-120 minutes before dark. If all that is eaten you can put a little more out the next day. After a few days you'll have a good feel for the right amount. If you get it wrong just put the leftover food in a container or plastic bag and take it inside, for the next day.
 

greenporcupine

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I must admit to being impressed with Beanies garden,and must have one of those bird boxes ,or maybe more than one. I don't think the Robin's would share being little show off's.
 

beanie

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I must admit to being impressed with Beanies garden,and must have one of those bird boxes ,or maybe more than one. I don't think the Robin's would share being little show off's.
The bird box is actually a dog kennell, it's now off the wall and sometimes used by the cats when the mood takes them.
 

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