- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Feature, Media
WE should spare a thought for our garden birds in the cold months ahead, says local AM Joyce Watson.
“In this harsh weather the birds are looking for food to get them through the winter,” she said.
According to results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch Survey, the average number of birds seen in Britain’s gardens has declined by a fifth since 2004 – house sparrows have decreased by almost two thirds since 1979, and starlings by three quarters over the same period.
Mrs Watson added: “I can remember when my children were young what fun it was to make snacks for the birds together.
“As well as being fun for families and teaching our children about caring for our wildlife, it is not difficult or expensive, so why not do your bit and start by making your own ‘bird cake’ today?
“It’s very easy: take a discarded yoghurt pot, punch a small hole in the base, thread through a piece of string and tie a knot on the inside, leaving enough string to suspend it from a tree branch or bird table.
“Put lard, suet or leftover fat in a mixing bowl, cut it into small pieces and warm to room temperature but don’t melt. Add suitable ingredients – bird seed, raisins, grated cheese, finely chopped peanuts (never salted), breadcrumbs or unwanted cake – then mix together with your fingertips.
Keep mixing until the fat holds it all together.
“Press your mixture firmly into the yoghurt pots and leave to set in the fridge for an hour or so.
Then, simply hang the bird cake up and watch your grateful gathering of garden visitors.”
Garden birds welcome fresh water, which should be changed regularly.
Once you have regular visitors you should not stop feeding them abruptly as they may rely on you as a food source.