04 Jul 2022

Green Fingers: Don’t forget our feathered garden visitors

Green Fingers: Don’t  forget our feathered garden visitors

High calorie foods like fatballs, suet blocks, peanuts and sunflower seeds are all great for our feathered friends

With everybody getting gifts over Christmas we never forget our feathered garden visitors. We have for several weeks been placing bird food outside.

We place different types of food out for different types of birds.

Black sunflower seeds have a high energy content and have a higher oil content than striped sunflower seeds. You can feed black sunflower seeds all year round and they are a particular favourite of Greenfinches.

Sunflower hearts can be hung from Bird Feeders or nearby tree branches and are very popular with Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches. If you are very lucky a little troop of cherry breasted Bullfinches may call in to investigate.
Other birds will gather under the sunflower hearts to eat the seeds that fall to the ground such as House Sparrows, Dunnocks and Robins.

There are different grades of mixed seed you can feed to wild birds and most contain sunflower seeds, kibbled peanuts, faked maize, millet and kibbled oats. Some also contain sultanas and raisins. Mixed seed attracts House Sparrows, Starlings, Dunnocks, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Chaffinches, Robins and Collared Doves. If you live near to water you might see a Reed Bunting amongst the flock of birds visiting your feeding station as they like to eat the small Millet seeds.

Niger Seeds are tiny little black seeds that are high in calories and oil content. Goldfinches adore niger seed and will flock in to eat it. It is also loved by Siskins and the rare Lesser Redpoll has begun to visit gardens that are offering this food. Lesser Redpolls are tiny finches that have a red patch on the top of their heads

Cut flowers can look fantastic and can really brighten up a room at Christmas. But they do require some maintenance to keep looking their best.

Firstly, never put cut flowers near a bowl of fruit. The methane gas given off by ripening fruit will prematurely age your flowers.

Before you place the flowers into a vase for the first time re-cut the stem ends - cut off only about 1 inch. This fresh cut will ensure that the stems can continue to ‘suck up’ water.

By the same token, make the cut as steep an angle as possible. This increases the surface area of the cut, again, increasing its ability to ‘suck up’ water.

Replace the water at least every other day. This keeps the water fresh and prevents the water becoming stagnant. Fill the vase to around three quarters full. This will provide good ballast and help prevent the vase from toppling over.

Remove leaves along the stem to ensure no leaves are submerged under the water line. The submerged leaves will quickly rot and begin to decay the flowers. Remember to keep the water topped up.

And finally, I’d like to wish all of my readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Contact James by email:

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