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Last modified: 26 October 2011
Image: Steve Round
Garden birds are getting hungry but it won’t cost the earth to feed them, says RSPB Cymru.
The wildlife charity is urging everyone in Wales to get their aprons on and their leftovers out ready for its annual Feed the Birds Day.
You don’t need to be a wildlife expert or a top chef to provide a nutritious meal for your garden birds and most ingredients can be found in your kitchen cupboards.
The RSPB’s Feed the Birds Day is on 29th October and is a reminder that garden wildlife needs extra help during the chillier months.
As the clocks go back and lush green leaves turn golden brown, the extra food, water and shelter we provide for birds and other garden wildlife could be the difference between life and death.
Birds appreciate our help with extra food all year round, but now is the prime time to step up the feeding in back gardens in time for the cold snap.
RSPB Cymru suggests throwing diets out the window when it comes to feeding your garden visitors. Calorie rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed and peanuts as well as kitchen scraps like mild grated cheese, cooked rice and pasta, unsalted bacon and cooked potatoes are great for birds, and provide them with energy in the winter months.
A supply of water is also essential for bathing and preening. Birds need to keep their feathers in top condition to ensure they insulate effectively and a dip in a clean bird bath will ensure no debris or dirt prevents this.
RSPB Cymru suggests sprucing up your garden too. A few inexpensive garden plants can be a real investment for wildlife and the appearance of your outside space. A simple climber such as honeysuckle or bushes rich in fruit like rowan and hawthorn will provide extra food and shelter.
Dana Thomas from RSPB Cymru says: “You don’t need to spend lots of time and money to provide a slap up meal for garden birds – in fact, providing them with tasty, beneficial food couldn’t be easier.
“A mixture of seeds, some leftover kitchen scraps and some water is our equivalent to a three course meal and it’s a lifeline when the seasons change and food becomes scarce.
“And you could attract all sorts of dinner guests – in addition to the more common species you could see things like fieldfares, redwings and blackcaps as they leave their usual countryside feeding areas to come to gardens with good supplies of natural and supplementary food.”
To help people find out more about garden birds and what can be done to help them, RSPB Cymru staff and volunteers will be holding several Feed the Birds Day events during the weekend of 29th/30th October. There will be fun, family events all over Wales with activities such as bird cake making and nest box building. For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/feedthebirds where you can also find out how to make your garden or window box as good for wildlife as possible, through RSPB Homes For Wildlife.
National Slate Museum Padarn Country Park on 27 and 28 October. Family activities and fundraising. For more information go to http://www.northwales.co.uk/listings-archive/national-slate-museum,
Denbigh Plum Festival on Saturday 29 October – RSPB stand at the event offering advice, for more information go to http://www.visitdenbigh.co.uk/events2010.html
RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Site near Porthmadog will be holding daily family activities between 14 and 30 October.
Fron Goch Garden Centre, Caernarfon Feed the Birds Day on Saturday 29 October at. Advice and information about how to feed your garden birds and how to attract them to your garden.
Portmeirion - Feed the Birds Day / Woodland Feast on Tuesday 25 October and Wednesday 26 October from 11am - 3.30pm. Come and join RSPB staff for a fun day in the woodland and make bird feeders, enjoy a woodland walk, learn about woodlands and watch the birds on the feeders at the screen. Cost: Entrance fee to Portmeirion, check the web site for discount offers.
Margam Park on Tuesday 25 October RSPB West Glamorgan Local Group will be running activities encouraging the public to use binoculars to look at wildlife.
Blooms Garden Centre in Cardiff on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October RSPB Cymru staff will be at on hand to give talks at 11am and 1pm on both days about how to attract birds to your garden, feeding garden birds, what flowers birds like etc.
Forestry Commission Wales Bwlch Nant yr Arian site near Ponterwyd - Saturday 29 October from 11am – 2pm. What’s on my feeder event where children can learn to identify the birds they see on feeders and what they like to eat, make bird feeders, a talk on feeding the red kites at 2-30pm and watch the red kites get fed at 3-00pm. Cost: free (car park charges £1-50 apply). Age group: Families
RSPB Lake Vyrnwy on Saturday 29 October join RSPB Cymru staff and volunteers to make feeders and bird cake 1pm – 3pm. Cost: children non-members £2.50, WEX and Phoenix members £1.50, special offer if you join the RSPB on the day, the event is free for the whole party.
For more information please visit www.rspb.org.uk/feedthebirds
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