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24 September 2014

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Feeding your feathered friends
A song thrush
Help feathered friends survive the winter
Winter is an exciting time for watching birds in your garden - find out how to make a bird cake to help them survive the winter months. Also see the RSPB seven point survival plan.
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Winter is an exciting time for watching birds in your garden and what better way to attract them than by making a bird cake to help them survive the winter months.

A robin
A robin in the snow
As temperatures fall below freezing in most parts of the country and snow flurries are expected towards the end of the week, this is the time when birds struggle the most.

Caroline Osborne from the RSPB said: "The winter months are a struggle for many of our best-loved garden birds, such as robins and blue tits. Just a little water, food and shelter can turn your garden into a haven for birds in the freezing winter months!"

Bird cake recipe

Boy making a bird cake
A boy making a bird cake
Have a go at making a bird cake with our recipe. Better still - get the kids to help and see how much fun you can have.

Vegetable suet or Lard
Dried Fruits
Suitable container - coconut shell or clean yoghurt pot

Ideally you should mix 1 part of lard/veg suet to 2 parts of seeds/nuts/dried fruit mixture.

You can just use seeds in the bird cake, but any extras are always welcome.

1. Melt or soften suet
2. Pour onto the seeds/nuts/dried fruit and mix well
3. Drape the string into the container and pour in the mixture
4. Cool
5. Hang up with string
6. Enjoy watching your birds!

To see how the bird cakes our made, watch Julia Davies at the RSPB, Sandwell Valley - click here.

Seven point plan

The RSPB has provided a simple seven-point plan to ensure our garden birds win the battle against the cold winter months:
  1. Put up a bird table and use high calorie seed mixes. This could include kitchen scraps such as animal fats, grated cheese and soaked dried fruit.

  2. Put out hanging feeders for black sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, sunflower-rich mixes or unsalted peanuts.

  3. Ensure a supply of fresh water every day. If it is very cold use tepid water but DO NOT use any antifreeze products.

  4. Supply apples and pears for blackbirds, song thrushes and other members of the thrush family.

  5. Food bars or fat hung up or rubbed into the bark of trees is a great help for treecreepers, goldcrest and many other species.

  6. Put up nest boxes to provide roost sites for the smaller birds. They will then be used for breeding later in the year.

  7. Plant berry-bearing plants in your garden, such as hawthorn, holly, cotoneaster and berberis.

More details

If you want more details about feeding birds this winter you can contact:
Colin Horne,
Centre Manager
Sandwell Valley
20 Tanhouse Avenue
Great Barr
Birmingham B43 5AG
Telephone: 0121 357 7395

See RSPB's Time For Birds campaign, and if you haven't got a garden, don't worry, check out our info on Birmingham parks and gardens.

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