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Preparing a menu for your garden guests: your birds

PUBLISHED: 01:16 04 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:05 20 February 2013

Preparing a menu for your garden guests: your birds

Preparing a menu for your garden guests: your birds

With winter approaching, it's time to dust off your bird tables, polish your feeders, and prepare a menu for the ultimate dinner guests: your garden birds

With winter approaching, its time to dust off your bird tables, polish your feeders, and prepare a menu for the ultimate dinner guests: your garden birds


The RSPBs Feed the Birds Day on 29 October is a chance to get creative by cooking up a few easy
recipes to keep your garden visitors fuelled up.


Birds particularly need your help once the temperature drops and insects, seeds and berries become harder to find. The extra nibbles and water you provide could be the difference between life and death.


Why not take some inspiration from TV cookery shows like Come Dine with Me, Masterchef and Dinner Date and lay on a slap-up meal from time to time, to give the birds a real treat during this tough time?


By providing food in winter, you could see anything from common garden birds like blackbirds and robins to countryside species such as fieldfares, blackcaps and redwings, which will also
be on the search for food.


To have a go at making bird cakes and nest boxes, you can join
in one of the RSPBs Feed the Birds Day events in the run up to and during the weekend of 29 and 30 October. To help you get started, the RSPB suggests the menu opposite for your visitors.


MENU


Starter
Crumble pastry maggots


Method
Mix 85g of flour with 30g of lard or high-fat margarine with your fingers. Roll into small pieces that look like maggots. Sprinkle on the ground or
the bird table


Main course
Bird cake


Method
Melt suet or lard in a pan. Mix in
seeds, nuts, dried fruit or finely chopped bacon rind. Thread string through a hole in one side of a plastic cup so its half inside the cup. Put cake mixture
in a cup and leave to harden. Hang up container by the string


Dessert
Suet and nut log


Method
Cut a branch covered in rough bark into 50cm lengths. Hammer a hook into each piece. Make holes of different sizes in the wood and fill with peanuts, raisins, suet, sunflower seeds or kitchen leftovers. Hang up using string.


TOP TIPS


No garden?


A bird feeder or bird cake hung from a window frame can provide
a welcome snack and give you great close-up views!


Safe snacking


Using a bird table or hanging bird feeders means you can feed the birds out of the reach of cats.


Keep it clean
Clean feeders and bird baths regularly so they dont fill up with mouldy food and droppings.


Sticky fun for kids
Why not try making crumble pastry maggots (see recipe)?


Quick and easy
Provide calorie-rich snacks like mixed seeds, mild grated cheese and bacon rind.


Grow your bird food
Honeysuckle, ivy, crab apple, rowan, cotoneaster and hazel provide fruit and insects in winter and you plant them in late autumn.


Provide a bird bath
Birds need water for drinking, and also cleaning and preening, which is essential for keeping warm in winter.



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