But this post is about our lovely garden birds …
“Many of us finish the Christmas period with a fridge full of leftovers and an overflowing box of decorations to go back in the loft, but you can transform much of this excess into a festive gift for garden birds. Insects and berries can be scarce at this time of year, so extras on the bird table will be welcomed, while nesting materials will come in handy from late January onwards.
photo credit Nataba
Birds will happily tuck into broken-up pieces of this festive favourite. Pastry, whether it is cooked or uncooked, is a good energy source for birds as long as it is made with animal fats (butter or lard), as vegetable fats don’t provide enough for cold months. Dried fruits, such as raisins, sultanas and currants, are popular with blackbirds, song thrushes and robins. Soak dried fruit in water first to make it softer.
There’s no need to ditch your Christmas wreath come Twelfth Night. If it is made with natural foliage, so much the better, but even one made from synthetic materials can be transformed into a DIY nesting kit for birds. Wind some straw or dried grasses around it, and push in moss, undyed feathers and pieces of sheep’s wool picked from fences. You can even snag combings of pet hair onto the twigs. Move it from the front door and hang it from a tree in the back garden where birds will use the contents for nesting materials when the breeding season starts in February.
If you’ve made your Christmas pudding in the traditional way, then use any leftover beef suet to make fat balls.
• Gently melt it in a saucepan and add bird seed (two parts seed to one part suet).
• Pour the mixture into moulds (empty yogurt pots will do) and leave to cool in the fridge.
• If you decorated your hearth with pine cones, then roll these in the mixture and hang from trees outside (just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with paint or covered in glitter, as both can be toxic to birds).
DON’T use any fat left in the roasting tin after cooking the Christmas turkey or Boxing Day beef – cooled solidified fat, combined with meat juices, can easily smear onto a bird’s feathers and interfere with their waterproofing and insulation.
photo credit Andrew Howe
Of course, it is a rare occasion that any roasties are left uneaten after the roast dinners, but the birds will happily snap them up if any are available. Jacket potatoes (broken open) and mash will also go down well. Chips will most likely be left on the lawn, but if you have an excess of rice from the turkey curry, they will gobble that up, too.”
As always thanks for reading.
All the best Jan