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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feed the birds!

People all over the world put out food for the birds in winter. In Britain, we have the traditional "bird table" and these days a range of other devices that hold peanuts or seeds that can be suspended from poles or branches. In Austria (and probably elsewhere in Europe) a popular method of offering food is by means of a Meisen-ringe ("tit-ring") which is a circle of fat in which is embedded seeds of various kinds, and can be bought ready-made in shops.

The Meisen-ringe, but will British tits recognise it?

I was keen to discover how long it would take for our British tits, unfamiliar with the device, to become accustomed to this novel presentation of food. At first, they were suspicious....

...and then a Great Tit investigates

A Blue Tit looks interested...

A Coal Tit takes a peck...

And at last, the one I am waiting for, a Marsh Tit tucks in! You can see the coloured rings on the leg which reveals that this bird was ringed on 4th December.

In winter, our small birds can survive the cold only by generating heat from within by metabolising the food they eat. In cold conditions, providing food for our garden birds will help them survive these freezing conditions.

Please feed the birds!


Anonymous May said...

That's a good idea. I don't have seeds with me right now but I'll try with bread crumbs.
[Feed the humans, too]

11:55 am  
Blogger donsands said...

My wife loves to feed the birds.

She uses different feeders. One is for finches, and the other for Cardinals.
She also lays out nuts for the Blue Jays.

We haven't lately, since we just had 23 inches of snow, but I think we shall take your advice to heart.
Thanks for the post.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Jenny Holden said...

Ah, but is it food or bait Jim?!
Mine are costing me a fortune at the moment. Count this afternoon, all present in the garden at one time, was 15 house sparrows, 26 chaffinches, 3 great tits, 2 blue tits, 1 coal tit, 1 green finch, 5 blackbirds, 3 collared doves and a hooded crow. And next door got the ruddy brambling!

7:56 pm  
Blogger Jeff Higgott said...

Are you colour-ringing the Marsh Tits, Jim, or are they wanderers from another ringer's 'patch'?

9:13 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Thanks May and Donsands.

Jenny: Bait? BAIT? What d'ya mean bait? You runcible thing, you!

Jeff, yes, part of my 8 year RAS project. Have colour-ringed about 250 to date.

9:19 pm  
Blogger simon said...

merry christmas Jim! I have a couple a good bird feeders at home. Get all sorts of interesting birds.

10:20 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Simon, yes I've seen your feeders and the parrots they attract!

Happy Christmas to you and your family too, mate.

10:43 pm  
Anonymous Ted M. Gossard said...

Nice pics. Deb is down here avidly looking. Deb saw a woodpecker a couple times in front here at our house. Usually the bird feeder has food here, though it is scarce at the moment Deb says.

Merry Christmas, Jim.

8:09 am  

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