What to Feed the Birds in Winter...

Some  "customers": a couple of disgruntled woodpigeons reluctantly share the table with blackbirds

I have not been feeling my usual energetic self this last week or so (hence the irregular posts) and not creative in the kitchen -or indeed anywhere- at all; but now I'm starting to feel better, so today I had planned get back into the kitchen and see what I came up with; but then, last night came the SNOW- and all day today (Friday)! As usual, life in the UK came to a near standstill after the first couple of centimetres of the stuff, let alone after 8cm plus...The kids were sent home from school, my husband had a hard time getting the car out of the drive to go to work and I noticed that there was a line of birds waiting expectantly along the fence, their feathers all fluffed out to try and keep warm. How miserable they looked! Snow may be fun for us, but can mean death for small creatures like birds, who cannot find food easily in the snow, and need a relatively large amount of calories just to keep warm enough to survive. My heart melted! -But the snow didn't, so we set about trying to make life a little easier for our feathered friends...
 First, we scraped off the layers of snow from the bird table, and put on a pot of hot water, to warm the area a bit and keep the snow from settling on at least one patch. (We realised later that had we used a shallower container the water may not have stayed warm for very long, but the birds could have got a drink too...) Next, we put out some stale sev mamra (fried chickpea noodles, puffed rice and peanuts), sunflower seeds and a pile of stale wholemeal bread. The cafe was now open, and the effect was awesome! In no time the food was polished off by a succession of woodpigeons, magpies, blackbirds, starlings, a couple of sparrows and a cheeky little robin that flew round our heads as weI put the food out. We decided to  top up the table regularly, making sure the birds had a good supply of calories to get them through the cold night.
After looking at the RSPB website we learned that birds love cheese- their systems can cope with dairy if it is fermented like hard cheese- peanuts, cooked rice, sesame and sunflower seeds. Unlike us, they need plenty of saturated fats to keep them going.
This is what we gave them for one meal, which is our bird-friendly "recipe" for today:

Rice with grated cheese and peanuts

Vegetarianism is about compassion, and I believe that means actively being good to animals as well as not harming them. If you want some more information about encouraging wild birds to your garden and what to feed them, look at this website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/whatfood/index.aspx
And just to finish, here are some more pictures of the birds we are getting in our garden:

Spot the magpie!


  1. Good to know your feeling better now, I never realised that with snow it may be diff for birds to get their regular meals!
    A nice post and loved that bird friendly meal!


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