Green Goddess: Treats to entice wild birds to your garden

Long Lunch 22/05/2018
Photo:Getty

Green Goddess: Looking after wild birds by Wendyl Nissen

During the winter, food becomes scarce for visiting birds, so if you are fond of avian visitors (and, like me, have cats that make simply throwing bread out on your lawn unwise) you may like to put up a bird feeder.

Your local garden centre should stock kitset feeders that stand off the ground, safely out of harm’s way from cats.

Experiment with different foods, you might try bread for the sparrows, apple halves for the blackbirds and lard for the wax-eyes. Tui love sugar water and if you put it in a red bowl or cup, this apparently makes it even more attractive.

I set up a tui feeder a few years ago and absolutely nothing happened for two weeks. Then one day I was sitting outside in the sun eating my lunch and watched absolutely spellbound as two tui popped by for their lunch. It was so rewarding and they visited every day for a week or so.

Wax-eye cake
1 cup fat (lard or dripping is best)
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups bran
1 cup sugar
5 cups water
Melt the fat and add the rolled oats, bran, sugar and water.
Pour into a roasting dish and place in freezer.
As it freezes, cut it into pieces (it’s impossible to cut when completely frozen).
Put pieces into an onion bag and hang it in a tree where you can see it.

Tui sugar water
1 cup sugar
1 litre water
Mix the sugar into the water.
Place in a red container on a bird table or hanging from a tree, and wait for the tui to come.

Seed cake
1 cup fat (lard or dripping is best)
5 cups wild-bird seed (from the supermarket, pet shop or bulk-bin store)
Simply melt the fat and pour in the bird seed.
Follow the directions for the wax-eye cake above for pouring and cutting.

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