Feeding the birds

Since we lost our lovely old cat, Izzie, last September, Mike and I have started to try to encourage birds back to our garden. It started with a very cheap bird table that we bought on the internet, followed closely by Mike’s masterpiece, a nesting box that he designed and built in the garden shed.

He placed them both in our tiny garden, we put some bread out, and we waited, and we waited. Meanwhile we bought a fat ball feeder and a peanut feeder, and hung them on the shed. The fat ball shrivelled and died, and the nuts went mouldy.

Now this might sound silly, but I started to feel very rejected. Why were the birds not coming to eat the food I’d lovingly cooked?…Well OK, not exactly cooked, but still, thought had gone into it. I’d walked outside in the cold without my coat to put food out. Soon I was taking the dustpan and brush out with me to clean off the bird table so I could put more food out, only for it to be rejected once again.

Meanwhile, every Thursday I’d go and clean for an elderly lady, and watch with amazement as squirrels competed with dozens of birds for the food she put out. One day I watched a young fox eating bread that had been put out for the birds. The garden was visited by a pair of ducks, seagulls, and pigeons, as well as a whole host of garden birds, and every week I was treated to the sight of a beautiful red and black woodpecker, who visits just for the fat balls.

One Thursday I came home and Mike told me he’d seen a blackbird on the bird table. Even more exciting was the news that a pair of blue tits had been checking out the nesting box. …and a robin was regularly visiting the garden.

I felt like a Mum with a fussy child, who had suddenly started to eat the food so lovingly provided. I was keen to get them to try new things, so suddenly garden centres, which up until now had been interesting for plants and stone ornaments and nice coffee shops, became places to go to to look at birdseed and meal worms. I found myself looking through the kitchen cupboards for suet, and currants, anything the birds might like.

The blue tits use the seed feeder and the peanuts and the fat balls. The robin loves the mealworms. And me – I’m like a very proud mum. “Do you know? All the food I put out has gone…I’ll have to refill the bird table.”

Soon, I hope to be a grandmother…those blue tits are very definitely interested in moving into the nesting box.!


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