At the weekend, as I’m sure most of you are aware, RSPB Bempton Cliffs held a special event to encourage people to feed their garden birds. We had bird food information and advice, walks to show people what bushes, berries and shrubs birds like to eat in the wild and a big green tent inside of which everyone was welcome to come and make their very own lard and seed bird treat.
All of these activities were free and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our marvellous team of volunteers, who turned up in large numbers and brought lots of enthusiasm along with them.
A favourite with both the adults and the children, the make your own bird treat tent went down, well, a treat! It was touch and go whether the lard stocks would last out the day but we had just enough to scrape a few of our own bird snacks together in the last ten minutes and hang them in the feeding station. As well as the high energy lard feeders, we also made apple and sunflower treats, and strings of monkey nuts. Knowing the birds on our reserve, these new options on the menu will go down a storm, and will have been gobbled up within days.
The bird feeding station was also treated to another new addition in the form of an insect house made entirely of recycled materials. For a couple of weeks I and several others have been scrabbling around at the bottom of gardens and in the darkest depths of sheds and garages to dig out old tiles, bits of bamboo and bricks with holes in. On Saturday these bits and bobs were carefully put together to create a 5 star, luxury insect hotel, which should provide a safe haven for insects such as lacewings and ladybirds as well as other wildlife including frogs, toads and hedgehogs.
We hope that by continuing to feed and shelter the birds on our reserve we are giving them a good chance of surviving healthily throughout the winter. Building a home for insects may also help to provide a long term food source for insectivorous birds, such as wagtails and pipits.
Now it’s your turn. We understand that times are hard for us humans at the moment but it’s life or death for the birds. If you can’t afford to buy seed then put out leftovers such as cooked rice, sultanas, mild grated cheese or old apples. If you’re quick though, the RSPB still has a 20% off offer on 12.75kg sacks of bird food too.
All that’s left to say now is thank you, from me, the RSPB and, of course, the birds.
(Thanks to John Witty and Nick Turver for the photographs)