Hi there, it’s Maisie Walsh here again with another innovative new editorial feature.
Here at WLOV we simply love the wildlife that we see all around our beautiful village. We love to see foxes and even the odd dormouse around the place but it’s our feathered friends which are probably more familiar to us than any other creatures.
WLOV is very lucky to have enlisted the help of popular local villager and expert on birds Charlie Robertson. Charlie has studied the behaviours and habits of British birds for over 13 years all around the country. He studied for a degree in Ornithological Behaviour from the University of Kent, whilst studying at one of their satellite Campuses.
Charlie has grown to love the many species of bird native to Britain and has watched the skies of many locations across the country including the Devon moors, West London and West Yorkshire.
Charlie moved to the village a few years ago as he said he needed some time to himself away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We all know how quickly Charlie has settled in although he likes to keep himself to himself, he was even too modest to have a photo of himself in the corner of this article. His modesty was such that when he saw an initial draft of this arcticle with his photo on it, he got very angry indeed and even asked ‘has anyone seen this?! Has anyone seen this?!” in a very loud voice. Calm down Charlie! We know you’d much rather a picture of a Chaffinch adorned this article and not your mugshot!
In this first article, Charlie will tell you a little bit about how to attract birds to your garden as Summer approaches and how to keep them healthy and happy.
It’s Charlie Robertson here. I love the birds, I do. Very pretty they all are. And they bring so much beauty into our lives, not just through the plumage and their little chirpy songs, but through the gift of flight that we see them do all the time.
We can take their flying for granted, but the freedom of the skies is a beautiful, beautiful thing that must not take for granted. It is so precious. And I get the feeling that if you said to a Chaffinch or a Siskin or a Blue Tit “would you rather lose your wings or lose your best friends?” they would not even have to think about it. They would ditch their friends for freedom every time. And who wouldn’t?
Sorry, I digress.
Now then, as I have said, I loves the British garden birds that we get in this country and this village is blessed with more than its share of them. We need to look after the little fellas or else they may die. We must never forget that death is an ever present danger in the world of nature. Indeed in the world at large and we have to be careful we don’t hurt each other.
Now, we can look after our garden birds in many ways. We can make our gardens, into habitats rich in the plants which provide them with food, or attract the insects which in turn will provide our birds with food.
In future weeks I will tell you more about the ways you can provide the flora that will make your garden a haven, a sanctuary to all sorts of birds from the little wren to the sparrowhawk. Not forgetting that the little wren will attract the sparrowhawk - such is “The Circle of Life.” The strong survive as do those with a little bit of nous and are able to cut themselves a deal, like a cockney sparrow might.
But first of all I am going to give you some advice about feeding birds at this time of year. Everyone likes to feed the birds don’t we? I have spent many, many hours marvelling at the antics of the blue tits, thrushes and finches as they acrobatically peck away at food that has been left them on bird tables, in coconut halves or in wire mesh containers. In fact according to the RSPB over half the households in the UK leave food out for the birds. Which is great. But we must be careful, because birds are tiny, delicate little things and we cannot simply chuck any food at them that we like.
During the Spring and Summer we need to be very selective about the foods we leave out for the birds. At this time of year birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting.
Black sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, mealworms, mixes for insectivorous brids, good seed mixtures WITHOUT loose peanuts are all good food to provide. Do you get the picture? We don’t want to go bombarding our little visitors with a few slices of white Tesco value bread. They need quality stuff. Nothing can survive on slops every day.
You also might want to think about cutting some soft apples and pears in half or bananas and leaving them out.
But please avoid using peanuts, fat and bread at this time!! These can be harmful if adult birds feed them to their little babies or nestlings. Please don’t do it! I will be very angry if I see anyone who does leave this stuff out. It would be like making a small child swallow a ball of wool. Or forcing a ball of rags soaked in petrol into the gagging mouth of a fully grown adult who is tied to a chair with his hands bound behind his back. And screaming at him ‘You want this?! You want this?!’ and then getting a cigarette lighter out and threatening to ignite the ball of cloth.
Not a very pleasant thought is it?
So, plase don’t feed peanuts, fat or bread to our little garden birds at this time of year.