Feed the Birds - 4 th November 2006
Today we started by guessing which species were in the top 20 birds of the 8.1 million birds spotted in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch survey. There were over 80 different species spotted in gardens and parks. These were:
Then we moved on to see what types of food are good for birds to eat. There were peanuts, sunflower seeds, niger seed, cat food, fatballs, raisins, and fresh fruit all of which were considered good to feed the birds. These were all nutritious and energy giving. We found that bread, as long as it is soaked, is okay for them but some things such as salted crisps, dry rice, desiccated coconut are not good as they are not nutritious and can swell up inside the bird making it feel full but not of anything which will give it energy.
Chris S provided some Owl pellets for the group to dissect and discover what the Owl had been eating. Everyone was given a plastic cup, a pellet and some warm water with a drop of washing up liquid. These were left to soak for a while and then they were taken from the water and placed on paper towels to be examined. This was done by using cocktail sticks to poke gently at the pellet breaking it open to find what the Owl had had for supper. We found lots of little bones and skulls and jaws of small mammals such as shrews and mice. It was quite an absorbing experience for all.
Everyone was then given a yoghurt pot which had a piece of string attached through a hole we'd made in the bottom. We then filled it with seeds, peanuts and raisins all mixed up into a solid mixture with lard. This turned out to be a messy half hour.
All too soon it was the end of the session and the bird feeders could be taken home, placed in the fridge overnight to help it set more solidly and then hung in the garden for the birds to munch.
Jan BuckleyWatch Leader