Wednesday 29 December 2010

Bird-food Bonus

Is this a House Sparrow?

During the Winter months I make a special effort to feed the birds that come into my garden. They normally get:-

Any leftover / stale bread, biscuits or cake
Scraps of raw or cooked meat, such as the fat from our Boxing Day ham (particularly popular with the Magpies)
Sunflower kernels bought specifically for the purpose

Today they are having a special treat. Last night I was sorting through my collection of seeds, deciding what to buy for 2011 and discarding any old, probably non-viable ones, and those for veg that have proved unsuccessful. Instead of throwing the seeds in the bin, I emptied-out all the packets into a plastic basin, and the seeds have now become bird-food. I hope those birds like carrot-, beetroot-, parsnip- and tomato seeds!

Of course, I may live to regret this decision. The birds will eat most of the seeds, but they will inevitably miss a few. I'll probably end up with a lot more "volunteer" plants than usual in my garden next year, but that's a risk I'm prepared to take in order to keep my birds happy.


  1. Customised bird food - very gourmet, Mark! Yes, it will be interesting to see what sprouts...

  2. Very nice! I would like to try it for using all the extra seeds I wont be needing anymore.

  3. This is such a good idea. I'm such a seed hoarder -- the idea of tossing them in the garbage when they're old or unwanted just horrifies me. I think I could trim my seed box out a little if I had a project like feeding the birds to use them up with.

    I want to add that your recent parsnip post looked delicious and I'd love it if you'd consider submitting it to the new issue of How to Find Great Plants. The deadline is December 31st and the guidelines have changed a bit, here's the link:

  4. That is a good idea. and if the birds poop out the seeds with a little 'fertilizer' attached you may even think about letting them grow...I think they would deserve the chance.

  5. Hi Mark, i'm enjoying your blog over the holiday season. Kelli

  6. Lol, I think that's hilarious Mark, kind of a gourmet mix for the holiday season!

  7. Great idea!
    I have noticed that birds don't miss much seeds while they are eating them. They will leave the feeder and land in the snow if some seeds fall down.
    And that is a house sparrow - they have big colony in our attic.

  8. A great idea Mark - keep us posted as to whether they like them! After we had kept the bird population well supplied over the freezing period they are now going elsewhere for their food. Not very loyal are they?

    The top photo is a female house sparrow.

  9. Yes, the birds are fickle aren't they - they go wherever they can find the best deal.


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