November, 2016

Wildlife

Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Families blog

Here are some ideas and guidance to help your family make the most of the UK's fantastic wildlife
  • Crisp and clear or windy and bleak

    How do you like your winters?

    As a kid I enjoyed an overcast blustery winter as it meant I could watch more TV and play more computer games. But then again, when I was finally forced outside there was no doubt I felt better for it. It's always good to blow out the cobwebs and you never know what you might see. 

    To give you a flavour of these two different winters we've made some contrasting videos of winter wildlife.

    Snow, wind and ice make things especially hard if you need to hunt from the air (like the barn owl) or search for food on the floor of a lake or river...

    Some berries can hang around into the new year. If you're lucky you might catch sight of a beautiful Scandinavian visitor, the waxwing... 

    Whether the weather forces you inside to observe wildlife through the window, or lets you out for a stroll, remember the animals out there braving the elements over Christmas. 

    Make a Christmas treat for birds.

  • Mince pies just for birds

    I’m not ashamed to admit that this year’s Waitrose Christmas ad got me in the festive mood. If you’ve not seen it, it features a robin braving the perils of migration from Scandinavia to get some grub in a UK garden. Obviously we’re big fans of feeding garden birds, so here’s a recipe for a mince pie that’s exclusively for feathered garden visitors. And there’s no cooking involved so little ones can take the lead!  

    Ingredients 



    200g suet 

    a slice of bread turned into breadcrumbs

    about 75g hard cheese (cheddar works well)

    a handful of raisins

    a handful of mealworms

    cup cake papers

    this makes 4 generous mince pies

    Method


    1. Mix suet, grated cheese, some seeds and a handful of breadcrumbs (to help bind it) together in a bowl. Ensure the suet is room temperature to make it easy to work with. 
    2. Work it into a rough dough, and make small discs of with your hands. 
    3. Put cupcake papers into a cupcake tin (I missed this step and it made extracting them very difficult!) and insert your dough discs  
    4. Use a mix of raisins and mealworms to make your filling in a separate bowl and use a spoon to fill your pies.  
    5. Make another disc with your hands and put it on top to enclose the filling. 
    6. Put your loaded cup cake tin in the fridge to harden the suet.
    7. They should be pretty solid after an hour. Take them out and put them in the garden.
    8. Wait for hungry visitors to arrive!

    Here's the finished result:

    More like a scone than a pie I'll admit. Use cupcake papers for a more refined finish! A few feathered visitors have already taken an interest.