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Latest posts by Topbird

Came across this ground covering shrub but need help identifying it. x2 photos

Posted: 29/10/2014 at 16:07

Sorry Paul I can't help with ID but I'm posting so I'll get a notification if somebody comes up with a name 

It looks more like a low growing shrub to me and he sort of thing that might go in a corner of my woodland bed so I'd be interested to learn more about it. 

Fat balls in plastic NO

Posted: 29/10/2014 at 13:13

FG - I think it is to do with the levels of salt & nitrates used as part of the bacon curing process - high level of salt are toxic to birds. Some sites say to avoid bacon altogether but here is what the RSPB say - quote:

"You can put out fat from unsalted cuts of meat in large pieces for the birds. Birds, such as tits, can remove morsels from them. Make sure they are well anchored to prevent large birds flying away with the whole piece! This kind of food can attract magpies and gulls, and also neighbourhood cats. If this is likely to be a problem, it's best avoided.

There is a lot of debate about the suitability of bacon rind, since much of it is salted during the curing process. As long as you can be sure the bacon is not salty, you can put it on your bird table. Since bacon can be too tough for many birds to tackle, chopping it finely will allow a wider variety of birds to eat it"

I thought it was also interesting that the RSPB do not recommend using any fat that comes off cooked meat - quote

"Fat from cooking is bad for birds. The problem with cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes is that the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing, not good for birds' feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria, so potentially bad for birds' health. Salt levels depend on what meat is used and if any salt is added during cooking.

Lard and beef suet on their own are fine as they re-solidify after warming and as they are pure fat, it is not as suitable for bacteria to breed on."

The RSPB site says you can feed cheese - but I find that confusing as cheese has high salt levels!

I think I'll stick to fat balls, seeds & nuts - although they apparently like baked potatoes as well!! (With or without sour cream & chives Lesley )

Just hope I haven't poisoned too many birds over the years in my ignorance!


PS I like Alan's point in his original posting about getting some TV coverage about the harm that can be done by the netting on fat balls - I found a dead blue tit with a broken leg caught in one several years ago - absolutely heartbreaking - always remove the net now or make my own.

Fat balls in plastic NO

Posted: 29/10/2014 at 11:55

It's your gold plated feeder & porcelain drinking bowl they love really Lesley! 


Posted: 29/10/2014 at 10:18

Happy birthday Lily 

Dove - thanks for the info re Hefty - it's a lovely story.

We had a hedgehog in the garden this summer & I'm very keen to encourage him & his friends back to eat my slugs. I have left a little nest of twigs & leaves under the oil tank where it is quiet, dark & dry & close to where I found him in the summer & have identified a couple of other similar spots around the garden. Fingers crossed somebody wants a free hotel for the winter! 

Fat balls in plastic NO

Posted: 29/10/2014 at 09:57

Some nice ideas above - has reminded me to buy some suet & seed.

A word of caution if you are making your own fat balls - the RSPB site advises that fats containing salt & other preservatives are potentially toxic to birds & should be avoided.  Any fats from cooking meat should be used with caution.

Similarly, peanuts which are stale may contain aflatoxin. For this reason nuts should only be sourced from a reliable retailer and should be stored in a suitable way.

I'm hoping the links will post here:

That's it - lecture over - happy bird feeding everyone!! 

Hallowe'en Party 31 Oct in The Log Cabin, Verdun's Garden

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 21:55
Forester - As my OH hails from Castleford I wouldn't dare do anything from across the border...

PS What's the difference?

Hallowe'en Party 31 Oct in The Log Cabin, Verdun's Garden

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 19:24
Never too early for toffee Grandma - bring it on....

Hallowe'en Party 31 Oct in The Log Cabin, Verdun's Garden

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 19:17
I'm bringing raspberry gin and parkin, Forester - I'll make sure there's plenty for you!

Lyn offline

Posted: 28/10/2014 at 17:54

Welcome back to the madhouse 


Posted: 28/10/2014 at 16:48

Dove - re your salvias -I have grown these & found they overwintered successfully when it was cold & dry but succumbed to cold and wet. It's a bit late for taking cuttings but it might be worth a try if there are a few bits that look as though they are still growing rather than going into dormancy.

Glad Hefty turned up again - did you do anything to encourage him into the garden in the first place? I'd love a regular hedgehog visitor and am making a couple of hedgehog log & twig piles this week.

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