Friday, 15 November 2013

November Calendar

Make some Bird cake

Garden birds spend up to 85 % of their day feeding just to survive. The fat reserves they build up during the day are used up over night when roosting in winter conditions. Here is a great way to make your own bird cake which will greatly help them through the winter. Keep your old glass jars (shallow with wide opening work best) and fill them with a selection of any of the following ingredients Mixed seed, Peanuts, sunflower hearts, black sunflower seeds, Nyjer seed, dried fruit, oatmeal. Then pour lard (waste fat or suet from your roasting tray , frying pan etc) in to the jars and it will make its way down through the seeds making it into a solid block. Let it cool and its ready to serve. Place the jar on its side on the bird table. Place a weight at each side of the jar to stop it from rolling. Sit back and watch the birds feasting.

Watch out for Fieldfare 

These birds (Turdus pilaris) have started to arrive and  will stay with us until late March – early April. This bird gets its name from old Anglo Saxon meaning  “The traveller over the fields”. You will see it in flocks and is often accompanied by Redwings. When perched the Fieldfares will often hold their wings in a drooped position. They are mostly seen perched on berry bushes or ground feeding in fields. They usually don’t enter gardens unless the weather becomes very cold , then they will be in search of windfall fruit and berry bushes.

Download some Apps

Here are two Apps worth downloading to your phone. First the “BirdTrack” App. This allows you to enter your sightings as you go on your days outing. It will pick up the GPS location and also  gives a list of birds to choose from. It saves your locations and give you the choice of entering a list ( every bird you see on the day) or a casual sighting (Just one species) . It saves your information as you go and then when you get home (or to a wifi location) you can review your data before submitting. It is available for both the Android and iPhone platforms.
The second app is the “Irish Road Kill reporting” App. Again the app will do all the work all you have to do is select from a list and the app will pick up the location. This app will also store your information until you are in a wifi location. This information is automatically sent to the database.  You will be surprised how often you will use these Apps!

BirdTrack - Android | iPhone
Irish Road Reporting App - Android

Do some page flicking

Now is a good time to bring you bird identification skills up to date especially if you plan on taking part in the Garden Bird survey starting on December 2nd. You will get many hours of enjoyment from  indentifying who is at the bird feeder and this is a great way of getting the younger generation interested and involved. Remember the saying  “Teaching a child not to hurt a creature is as beneficial to the child as it is to the creature”. There are many good books out there so have a look to see what suits your requirements. I believe Santa has a great selection of wildlife books and even pocket ones that fit perfectly into stockings.

Surrender a few square feet

Now that the garden is bare it’s a good time to decide what little section you might allot to nature for 2014. Believe me when I tell you this will bring you hours of interest and satisfaction over the coming year. Just a little patch where nettles, thistles, and all other weeds are allowed to grow. It will become a haven for Butterflies, larvae, caterpillars, and lots of other creepy crawlies that you have never seen before, Also Gold Finches and lots of other winter birds that don’t usually visit the bird table will visit the wildlife patch. When selecting a spot perhaps it’s a good idea to let nature decide . Find a nettle that’s already taken up residence and place a boundary around it . All the hard work you have done in the garden is seldom noticed but everyone will notice your nettle plot.

By Fred O'Sullivan

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