Winter is upon us and I am hoping my spare bedroom won’t be filled with poorly or hurt birds this year.
Last winter, due to a lack of food, I had Kereru after Kereru brought to me for attention. As soon as one left, another arrived needing a week each of intensive care and plenty of feeding up. Fingers crossed for a quiet winter!
When it is really cold and miserable I make up fatballs for the birds.
Prevention is better than cure – so if we can keep them well, all the better.
Blackbirds and thrush thrive on these fatballs and silvereye and sparrows are very keen for their share also.
To make a fatball, warm a packet of Kremelta, add seeds, chopped raisins and/or any other dried fruit you might have... Pour into shallow containers and when partially set, poke in a skewer that can be hung in a tree. Biscuit or cake crumbs can be added too – not leftover chocolate cake though!)
They need to stand overnight to set properly.
I also leave out plates of thawed sweetcorn – my birds all love corn; wet bread (but never mouldy bread!); raisins or sultanas soaked overnight are popular - don’t throw away the water – they will drink it. Or you can pour it over the wet bread for extra nourishment…
Silvereyes and tui, being largely nectar feeders, love half an orange stuck on a stake in a tree, or on a nail on a fencepost, and half an apple goes down well with a lot of birds also.
I don’t use any type of slug pellet, even if it says they are safe, and after rain, when all the snails come out, I collect them and put them in the middle of my lawn where the blackies and thrush can feed on them. They appreciate having a rock or path nearby to crack the shells on – although a driveway with cars coming and going is not a good idea. They get pretty intent on the task at hand and might not be as quick as they ought at getting themelves out of harm’s way.
Most birds also love cooked pasta and rice so I always make double when cooking for hubby and myself (yes, I do occasionally feed my hubby!). I also cook up spaghetti for the Weka - and they also love corn - but adult Weka are mostly bug and insect eaters.
If you want to feed the Tuis on sugar water, mix 1 part of white sugar to 3 parts water. Always keep the feeding dishes clean and change the sugar water every day to ward off disease. The sugar water will also attract the Silvereye. Tui and Silvereye also love banana.
Peanuts are generally not good for any wildlife in the garden. Other nuts like hazel nuts and pecan nuts are much more beneficial as long as they are not salted.
I was buying the wild bird seed mix for my quail but find that becomes too expensive and am now feeding them wheat which they seem to enjoy also. Every so often I give them a treat of the wild bird seed and I do fill up seed containers so the sparrows can enjoy the seed.
If you have a bird bath, add a few drops of Apple Cider Vinegar and this keeps the water fresher and is also very beneficial for keeping the birds healthy.
Enjoy – it gives me immense pleasure to have so many birds visiting my garden and to hear the wondrous bird song.