Idea No. 5

FEED THE BIRDS

Here are some photos of some of the “raw ingredients” for a recipe to feed the birds, that I described in my book.

Peanuts are always a winner and a good first buy:

They can be semi-ground-up to make them easier for the birds to take:

I put the ground nuts in a nut hanger like this one. I prefer the kind shown, with two or four holes and perches for the birds. You can also put them in a wire hanger which the birds peck through to get the nuts.

Sunflower seeds are also very popular. These are black sunflower seeds:

Again, you can pour them into a seed hanger like this. The greenfinches love to just sit on the little perches and eat until they are full.

As I mentioned, bird seed comes in various mixes. You pay for what you get. The more expensive mixes have better quality seeds and greater variety. Some bird seed is especially made for ground-feeders, so you sprinkle it on the ground. Other seed mixes are more suitable to add to a seed feeder.

This is an example of the fat or suet cylinders that I was writing about. They are also very popular and are a high-energy food. This one has got seeds mixed in with the fat.

This one has small mealworms added to the fat mix.

You simply fix a length of string to the hook in the top and suspend it from your bird table, feeding pole, garden shed or the low branch of a tree:

Dried mealworms are readily available these days, in pots of 500 grams for example. You can place them in a plastic tray with drainage holes in the bottom, and secure it to your feeding station.

This is an example of a bird feeding station or pole. In its simplest and cheapest form it’s a pole with two arms at the top. More complex and expensive ones like this one include more hooks that are often adjustable hooks and which allow you to hang a number of bird feeders, plus a water bowl and mesh tray for mealworms and seeds.

Finally, attracting birds to the garden with food can also attract predators such as hawks – which can then eat the smaller birds! Showing the child a food chain like the one below can help them understand the workings of the natural world. It shows the difference between a pyramid of numbers and a pyramid of biomass (the dry mass of an organism). The total biomass at a particular step in a food chain is always less than the total biomass at the step before it. So a pyramid of biomass will always have this typical shape, whereas a pyramid of numbers can be any shape.

(c) BBC Bitesize

What bird food do you find attracts the most birds to your garden? Do you have any tips that I haven’t  covered in the book? Drop me a line in the Contact page or the comments below and I will add them here.