Showing posts with label birds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birds. Show all posts

1 May 2010

The Secret Garden…

The word 'estate' (when used for city communities) has such hostile connotations these days that I hesitate to use it when describing where I live. I thought to redress the balance by showing you a little corner of the 'estate' at York Rise:

Opening the little iron gate and squeezing through an arch of leaves, you'll discover an enclosed garden, one of several for the tenants to enjoy.  It's what I see beneath my balcony windows.  Hidden on three sides: from the driveway by three London Plane trees thickly covered with ivy, from the paths by high hedges and lush planting, this is a tranquil space enjoyed by nesting blue tits and robins who make their presence known by singing throughout the day.  My friend and neighbour, Leigh, has ensured that this remains a lovely place to sit - if we're lucky, the sun streams in during the morning and, again, in the evening as it sets.

(Friendly Robin, looking for a meal as the compost is turned.)

6 Jan 2010

What a difference a day makes…

Just yesterday, despite bitter cold, I was drawn to the window by lively birdsong coming from the little enclosed garden below.  Within a very short space of time I spotted sparrows, blue tits, blackbirds, a pair of robins, a wood pigeon and starlings.  They enjoy the camouflage offered by ivy-covered London Plane trees, a privet hedge and other trees in the garden, as well as a choice of bird feeders hanging from the branches. 

Today, though, the little garden and Urban Veg Patch are blanketed by heavy snowfall (we had a mini blizzard in the middle of the day).  The birds are still twittering around and, while adding my veg peelings to the compost, I noticed that the bird feeders were getting low.  So, please can I remind everyone suffering winter weather that birds find it especially hard to find food at this time of year and it's very easy to make a simple bird-feeder.  

The How-To: 
You need an empty, clean, yogurt pot.  Put a string through the base and pack with melted lard or vegetable suet (they need the fat for their feathers) mixed with bird seed (sunflower kernels, safflower seeds, kibbled peanuts, linseed) and raisins (particularly good when soaked in water beforehand to provide the birds with water).  The ratio should be two parts seed/fruit to one part fat.  Pack into pot and chill overnight in fridge to solidify before removing pot and hanging outside in the garden. 

If you're lucky enough to have blue tits in your garden (which we do!), apparently they enjoy peanuts in shells.  String them together and hang from a bird table, tree or somewhere nearby where you can enjoy watching the birds feed.  (This is also a good one to occupy housebound kids! - yes, they've closed the schools here because of snow.  Sigh.)

Looking forward to Spring…  and hoping the veg survive this cold snap!
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