Sunday, February 12, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 9th Feb 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 We were almost thinking about Spring, with longer days and sunshine leading to thoughts of getting the garden into trim for the coming growing season. But it was not to be and winter is here again with a vengeance to remind us that it isn’t finished yet.

We can think ourselves lucky that we live inside nice warm houses and don’t have to forage for food. Our garden birds aren’t so lucky and many will not survive this desperately cold spell of minus temperatures and heavy snow falls.

We can do lots to help them. Small birds in particular often lose weight overnight with the effort of just keeping warm. Unlike humans, birds need saturated fat to keep warm so suet balls are a good option. (Don’t put them out in the nets that they are sometimes sold in – birds can get trapped in them). Grated hard cheese is another source of fat and is loved by shyer birds such as wrens and dunnocks.

Fruit, such as apples, is good too, and will be quickly eaten by starlings, blackbirds, robins and thrushes. Peanuts are a favourite, of course, but always use a feeder to minimise the chance of birds choking on whole nuts. Shelled sunflower hearts are very popular with lots of birds as they are easily converted into energy.

Water is vitally important for birds, too, for both drinking and bathing so take steps to de-ice your bird-bath or garden pond.

Look after your birds and enjoy their antics!

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