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Is anyone else finding that the wild bird seed obtainable in France this winter is very heavy on wheat and maize?  I have tried Le Clerc, 3 different Intermarchés,  a Logimarché, a Bricomarché and a Gamm Vert and they all offer much the same quality of bird food - mostly wheat and with quite a lot of maize.  It is often quite cheap but unfortunately the birds don't care much about the cost,  they eat the seeds they like from the feeders and spit the maize and wheat out onto the ground.  As we don't seem to have very many pigeons or doves around, it generally just lies there.  I am sure that we had a better product available last year.
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[quote user="cooperlola"]

As there are only two of us I always have loads of bread left over.  I cut up the baguettes lengthways, puncture them and hang them up on a bit of string.  The birds love 'em!

[img]http://static.flickr.com/122/316652562_5c7cdcb5d4_m.jpg[/img]

[/quote]

Looks like they really enjoy it and I will definitely do that in summer but I have read somewhere that bread is not too good for them in the winter when they need the better nutrition found in seeds etc. and I believe that dried fruit is good as well.  It seems that the bread is bulky and fills their crops without giving them much of the things they need to survive the cold of winter.  Of course, not everything you read is right but it did seem to have a kind of logic to it.

Thanks June for the "Plum" mention.  I have seen other Plum products in Bricomarché but there was no Wild Bird Mixture.  I think it must have been sold out.  I will ask for it when I shop next week.

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Tis true, bread is not very good for birds, although for most birds it isn't actually harmful, but what it does do is fill them up without giving them the nutritional requirements.

The seed mixture that you have been buying sounds like "chicken feed", it is cheap but no use for most other birds, the ones that I assume that you are trying to feed, which will require fats and minerals that are to be found in seeds, vegetable oils, nuts and animal fats. A good mixture of sunflowers seeds, hazel nuts, walnuts, linseed and other small seeds and something to bond them (animal or poultry fat) would be a good start, but it needs to be remembered that many birds will have different dietary requirements, insects, slugs, worms, grubs, insect eggs and the like, so don't forget to create a habitat in your garden that will provide for all.

Chris

 

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Interesting, Chris.  I used to have a blackbird in the UK who used to appear in the stable doorway when I was mixing the ponies' feeds in the morning.  He used to jump up and down and tweet like mad until I put a bit of pony mix on the ground for him!  He was very partial to a bit of linseed cake in particular.[:)]
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How is this as a start on a habitat?  It is our back garden and there are all sorts of demolishers rubble etc, hidden under the grass as well as fallen branches under the trees and under the bits of stone are lots of slugs and grubs.  Of course, if we feel energetic, we may clear up some of it for a bit of a potager later but as the house is rented, there will be no greater changes than we can do ourselves so most of it will be left to the birds the sangliers, the hedgehogs and occasionally, the deer.

[IMG]http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h15/miggimeggi/IMGP0171.jpg[/IMG]

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That looks excellent to me, Anne, definitely my sort of garden, something for everything. This sort of thing is possible for everybody, it doesn't have to be all like that, but if some of it can be, that's great, even in a small garden it's easy to have a few piles of leaves, a discrete log heap, maybe some stones or rocks in a corner.

I made an interesting find today under one of my log heaps when I was clearing round it a bit to cut a tree down, I noticed that something has chosen to dig a seriously big tunnel underneath it going down into the ground, no obvious "droppings" so as yet not sure what it is, but it does appear "active".

Chris

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As Chris has said bread is not a very good food for birds.

Someone suggested they would use bread in the summer

He and I have different views on summer feeding - he being against, I am for.  The RSPB has also been going through this debate and have finally come to a view that summer feeding is not a problem but that the food must be high quality seed (sunflower is specifically mentioned) - so the stale bagette is definitely a no-no.  And on that I am sure we both agree.

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[:D][:D][:D]

I'm not vehemently against it, Andy, but what I would really like is for more people to see the bigger picture, the fact that relatively few species of bird use the food that is offered by them and that habitat is of greater importance, not only for food but for nesting as well, and then there are all the other environmental issues like pesticides etc which have a detrimental effect.

I'm always extremely pleased that so many people enjoy feeding birds and seeing them close to their homes, I do understand that enjoyment, I get the same from every living thing. I'm also extremely pleased that feeding birds is gaining in popularity with more French people, but you know me, I always want to take it that little bit further.

Best wishes, Chris

 

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[quote user="chris pp"]

I'm also extremely pleased that feeding birds is gaining in popularity with more French people, but you know me, I always want to take it that little bit further.

[/quote]

I managed to shift a dozen bird feeders at Friday's Xmas market in the village and half a dozen nest boxes.  I had to explain about how to fill the feeders with peanuts (NO, NOT SALTED  ONES!!!!) or walnut kernels.  Some children thought I was selling rat traps.

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Our feathered family seem very partial to any left over pasta. I stir in either olive oil or butter,or whatever fat is to hand and it goes in minutes. Regarding bread, same applies , a few splodges of olive or sunflower oil goes down a treat. We had a sparrow hawk a few feet [or centimetres ] from the kitchen window a couple of days ago. Closest I've ever seen one and fortunately he wasn't eating anything, it wandered around then perched on the line for a while before flying off and letting the normal inhabitants back.

Ref peanuts, we have found that we have to bring a big bag back from UK as they only seem to be sold in small bags and quite pricey here.

The weather is causing some confusion as we've seen the blue and great tits going in the nesting boxes?

One version of nesting boxes that suit Brittany--- I have bought about a dozen of the small oak barrels that usually are on a stand with tiny cups, for calvados presumably, without the cups/stand etc., the price is usually only a few euros. I drill a hole in to suit smaller birds ,or cut half the lid out to suit robins and they have been very successful. Obviously like to inhale the aroma!

Regards. 5 mins from ST.Malo.

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Re Barrels. Often find them at V.G's. Braderies or Depot-Vents. Often only 2-3 euros. Now after this publicity I expect the price will increase! I do make lots of all sorts of shapes and sizes out of any odd bits I find in the shed. At the moment I have about 20 in place.

Regards.

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This weeks Amateur gardening suggests using seasonal left overs for the birds:

Do use: Christmas cake and mince pies, unsalted nuts or snacks, dried fruit or pastry and cheese.

Do NOT use: Cooked meats, salty food, stuffing, desiccated coconut

I'm buying a couple of blocks of lard to make fat cakes too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

[quote user="chris pp"]

I made an interesting find today under one of my log heaps when I was clearing round it a bit to cut a tree down, I noticed that something has chosen to dig a seriously big tunnel underneath it going down into the ground, no obvious "droppings" so as yet not sure what it is, but it does appear "active".

Chris

[/quote]

Did you ever find out what was under your log heap Chris?

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Errr, I have to admit it hasn't been a priority but judging by some really nice fresh excrement that I found this morning it may be no more exciting than Grey Rats, but then that's good enough for me.

Todays other droppings in the garden. Stone Marten, Pine Marten, Fox and Weasel.

HNY, Chris

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Interesting terminology - "really nice fresh excrement".  [:)]

If I posted a picture of some mystery poops, do you think there's half a chance you could identify some for us, Chrispy Pea?  I'm serious.  I can't do it tonight as I haven't the photos.

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Why not, Phil? It has to be good for a laugh, I won't be in during the day though as I'll be working.

I can't say that I'm any kind of expert and like many things it's easier if you can see it in situ, where and how it's been placed, what else is nearby and so on, but it is often the best indication of a creatures presence, especially as many creatures only come out at night. It can also be useful if you can "poke" it about a bit to get an idea of the diet.

Enjoy your dinner, Chris

 

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