Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Triple Rations

Whilst we seem to be the only part of England without a thick blanket of snow, temperatures have not risen above freezing for at least a fortnight and the birds are hungry.

I'm currently refilling the feeders a minimum of twice and usually three times a day, together with trays of fresh water.
This much 2 or 3 times a day.

They're costing us a fortune! Early in December Richard from Birds' Bistro delivered a full complement of sunflower seed hearts, peanuts, hazelnuts and soft-bill mix, I think it was 50-60kg plus a sack of fat balls, and I naively thought 'that was it' for the year. Wednesday before Christmas he brought us a further 30kg of sunflower and soft-bill mix, and today I am expecting a further 30kg of sunflower and 10kg of soft-bill. That's an awful lot of bird food in less than a month.

Just in case you don't know: birds need water just as much as food at present, DO NOT put salt in it to try and prevent freezing, that will kill them.


  1. {gulp} I know just how expensive sunflower hearts are - I stopped feeding them ages ago because it was getting silly.

    I still feed niger from 3 huge 20 port feeders (which reminds me I must top them up) and can get 20-30 goldfinches at a time, although I have yet to see our siskins return since spring :(

    We have the water front covered as we have a pond and the pump's managing to keep enough moving to leave them an ice-free area to drink from.

    Keep warm!

  2. Well done for keeping the pond accessible.

    You are right - gulp indeed, I'm not paying £40 a month any more for Ollie's medical insurance - it all balances out.

    Snow has stopped play at Bag End. My fault for claiming to be the last non-white part of the country {giggle}. Workers have gone back home, digger is staying under its tarp behind the house.

  3. You make it sound like your holding the digger to ransom just to make sure they finish the job before they move on {giggle}

    Hope your cold is soon gone.

  4. Have just put extra rations out & defrosted water. Our bird population, of course isn't anything like yours - the resident pair or robins, few sparrows & couple of blackbirds who make do with a lard/seed block, seed and mealworms.

    Birdfeeding takes place after the cats have been out to play, but as both cats have been happy to make do with the litter tray this morning, the birds have extra rations, extra early.

    Snow at about 4" and still falling this morning - haven't seen as much here (in the town) for some years. Must put a pic on the blog.

  5. You need to buy some bigger feeders Bilbo, then you won't have to go out so often! We bought 2 huge sacks of sunflower hearts, 1 of peanuts, some nyjer, some raisins and a big sack of ground bird food and we spent over a hundred quid when we were up your way last year, I'm hoping it'll see us out the winter, but I'm not betting on it! However, they're not eating many peanuts right now, they're concentrating on the sunflower hearts and fat balls.

    James, the siskins should be back in later this month. You have an impressive count of goldfinches, we usually have a dozen or so on our feeders. I love them!

  6. I'm amazed you've not had snow before now after hearing snow bound tales from other parts of Cumbria. You deserve a break for freak weather, although snow is preferable to ice isn't it.
    Happy New Year Bilbo and long live the birds in your garden :o)
    cheerio, N x

  7. Angela, no need to ransom the digger, they could not get the trailer here today to move it even if they wanted to.

    Hazel, glad breakfast for felines did not include feathers!

    SewAli, I cast much of the food on the ground - keeps the squabbles to a minimum as they all compete for the food.

    Nic, you are right, after the floods we could all do without this. Our alternative routes out of the village are icy beyond belief, not enough gritting, same story as so many other places, if the bridge were opened it would be relatively easy to get onto the A66. hey ho, at least I am in a warm home, just think how awful this must be for those trying to repair flood damaged properties?

  8. We've had our first bullfinch in the garden. There have been a couple at the end of the local lane but they tend to keep away from gardens. It was eating seeds from uncut-down shrubs. It pays to be an untidy gardener!

  9. You have been appointed my resident expert on bird seed.

    I need to run down to Lowe's to get more before the new wave of cold hits.

  10. Hehehe, oh so that's where all the birdies are - Bag End!!!

  11. Oh Bullfinch, lucky Flummery. We had a pair here not long after moving in. One day I found the female dead - window strike I think. No sightings since.

    Penny, I'm not an expert but I know a man who is. Too far to deliver to you, but lots of good information at

    not the slickest website in the world but if you click on each link there is great information about the different foods which Richard supplies

    Lesley - quite possibly! too many blackbirds and chaffinches to count today.

  12. it's blizzarding here at the moment, tonight it's supposed to be -20 to -35F--and that doesn't include the wind chill, it's howling! Deep snowdrifts. My deck is 4 foot off the ground, and the snow is past the bottom. I think all our birds went south. They did if they're smart!

  13. Now you've reminded me I must get out and feed the robin!

  14. That's a lot of bird seed. Lard seems to be fairly cheap = they would appreciate the extra calories!

  15. Excellent idea Matron, it will supplement the fat balls. We're off for a big supermarket shop tomorrow so I'll sling a few packs of lard in the trolley.


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