Bugs, Birds and Beasts in the East

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Bugs, Birds and Beasts in the East

All of our up to date fun and frolics in the East from office antics to great conservation stories and those magical connections with nature.
  • Make a pet-friendly bird kebab

    Not a kebab made of birds! A kebab for the birds in your garden to eat, and one that's not toxic to your dogs and cats either.

    This kebab is very much like our other kebab, but without the raisins, and with a few cute dogs thrown in.

    It's the perfect way to get ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch: cheap and fun to make. Oh and you can sign up for the Big Garden Birdwatch for free here!

    All you'll need to make this is:

    • Apples
    • Bread
    • Hard cheese
      (cut all of the above into cube-sized pieces)
    • Floral wire
    • String

    1. Taking floral wire, thread through chunks of cheese and apples leaving about 8cm at either end.

    2. Bend the wire to form a circle, holding the ends together.

    3. Tie a loop of string on the wire circle.

    4. Hang your scrumptious kebab up for the birds to feast on.

    5. But don't worry if your pets get hold of it...

    For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch  

  • Make an apple bird feeder

    The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is less than a month away (sign up here!), so now's the time to start encouraging more birds into your garden. Don't worry, you won't have to spend lots of money. For this homemade feeder, all you'll need is:

    1. Carefully remove the core from the apple, preferably by using a corer. You may wish to get an adult to help you with this.

    2. Make perches for your birds by pushing one stick into either side of the apple, near the bottom. Again, if this is too tricky, get an adult to help you. Take care when holding a stick too, particularly if other people are around!

    3. Tie the string around the last stick and thread it through the core of the apple.

    4. Push the sunflower seeds into the top half of the apple for the birds to eat.

    5. Once you have made your apple bird feeder, tie it onto the branch of a relatively sturdy tree in your garden or green space, and wait for the birds to descend!

    For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch  

  • What to feed your garden birds

    It's here! The time is upon us. You can now sign up here for Big Garden Birdwatch 2018. Whilst the event itself might be over a month away, this leaves plenty of time to start prepping. So get outside, clean up the bird table and fill up your feeders. Just make sure you follow our dos and don'ts for feeding garden birds:

    DO feed your garden birds:

    Mealworms - dried or alive, both are enjoyed by insect-eaters like robins, starlings, blackbirds and others.

    Sunflower seeds – these are full of beneficial oil and protein. Sunflower hearts (seeds with the husks removed) are less messy and give quick access to the food for birds adapted to seed-eating like blue tits, siskins and house sparrows.

    Peanuts - tits, finches and great spotted woodpeckers are just some of the birds that love peanuts. Peanuts are a bird superfood: full of energy. If you’re lucky you may even see nuthatches stealing them and burying these snacks in your flowerbed for later.

    Bird seed mixtures - these are great for many different birds. Get a mix with small seeds for dunnocks, sparrows, finches and collared doves. Mixtures that use wheat, barley, beans, lentils or dried rice should be avoided. They only attract the bigger birds, like pigeons, which will scare off the smaller guys.

    Fat – whether it be in balls, bars, blocks or nibbles. Building up fat reserves helps keep birds warm. Make your own: stir lard with seeds and nuts, pop it in a yoghurt pot and hang upside down from a tree or bird table.

    Leftovers - Chopped apples and pears will feed blackbirds, song thrushes, and maybe redwings and fieldfares. Cooked potatoes and pastry, suet, chopped (unsalted) bacon and cheese are also bird-friendly foods. You can also use dried fruits like raisins, but don’t use these if you have cats and dogs who can fall ill if they eat them.

    DON'T feed your garden birds:

    Dessicated coconut – this swells up inside birds and makes them very unwell.

    Cooking fat – cooked fat from Sunday roasts and Christmas dinners merges with meat juices during cooking. This combination can stick to bird’s feathers and stop them being waterproof.

    Milk – bird’s guts aren’t designed to digest milk and can result in serious stomach upsets.

    Cooked porridge oats – these stick around their bills, although uncooked oats are fine.

    Dry biscuits – birds may choke on the hard lumps.

    Salt – garden birds are practically unable to metabolise salt. It is toxic to them in high quantities

    Bread - although it won’t do them any harm, bread acts as an empty filler for birds and doesn’t provide much in the way of nutrition so is best avoided.

    Don’t forget to:

    Put water out too. Float a ping pong ball on the water’s surface to stop it freezing.

    Keep bird feeders clean. A weekly wash will help prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria.