Pastry for birds…


Many people may be wondering what does an artist know about wildlife conservation. Well before I became an artist I was a professional wildlife conservationist for just under 20 years. Much of my work involved people and wildlife issues such as wildlife gardening. It is still a passion of mine and much of my work is inspired by this love and experience of nature.

Its cold outside and the birds in your garden are struggling to find food in this awful weather we are experiencing at the moment. Shorter daylight hours give them less opportunity to feed as well and without enough food they die. Simples! And this is where we can help them as many people put out food for the birds in their garden, peanuts and seeds being amonst the most popular. There is a huge array of food available to buy from pet shops, supermarkets and garden centres and these are all great to help birds in your gardens right now. However there are lots of items in your kitchen that can be used to supplement available food. For example leftover christmas cake or pudding is full of energy giving fat and raisins and is fine to put out on the bird table. Bread is not the best food because of its lack of nutrients in the bad weather. High energy foods are the best leaving the birds to forage less and risk themselves less.

Grated cheese, raisins,friut, seeds are also great foods available in the kitchen. Is an apple or pear past its best..chuck it in the garden and watch the blackbids enjoy its sweetness after you have lost the will to eat them. Old stale cheese after the christmas festival? grate it and pop it on the bird table and watch to see who loves the cheese!  All of these can also be added to pastry and mixed with it to provide a highly nutricious home-made food that children love making. Just take some animal fat  and rub in the flour as you would normal pastry or add more fat and less water to make an extra special pastry, mix in the bits you have, roll into balls and pop onto the bird table. Wait and watch and see you turns up. Long tailed tits in my garden go absolutely crazy for this pastry and we love watching them as they arrive in their chattering groups busy as they fill their tiny tummies with delicious home-made food. This is easy and quick and you can even freeze some to keep for another day if you make a big enough quantity. Go on give it a try and enjoy helping out our lovely garden birds who have to brave this weather when we are tucked up warm indoors.

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