Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Feeding Frenzy on Niger Grass

I’ve used Niger seeds now and then, without actually having a Niger feeder. These tiny seeds get lost easily, of course, which is why I’ve been mixing it in with the peanuts when making peanut cake for my feathered visitors. Still, many a seed had escaped already, but you tend to forget about these once spring moves into summer and then late summer, where we are now.
Weeding the planter, which as a birdtable, sees a lot of spilt (sunflower/mixed)seeds over time, has been necessary almost daily at some point. I started to notice that it was getting harder to get clear pictures of my birds and that these were getting lost among the many seedlings, so I’d take time in the early morning when putting food out, and sit there quietly for some time, pulling out grasses, and other germinated seeds. I might have destroyed many Sunflowers’ chances of growing up and setting seed for my birds, but with a very large Fennel in my planter, it would have competed too much for root space probably. Also, a large Sunflower would have easily blown over, as the height of the planter would have added an extra 80cm. to the Sunflower at least. And living at the Atlantic coast has meant disaster for many tall objects already {our homemade and very sturdy birdtable, rising up from the planter, was blown of its perch after 2 heavy storms, last winter.}
However, one of the Grassy types had managed to escape me, and grew up among or behind the Fennel, and when taking pictures of the birds, I started to notice Grass blades in the Fennel. It grew and grew, and I started to get used to the leaf among the Fennel stalks, so I just left it.
. And It had started to set seed a few weeks ago, and I loved the structure of its seedpods, so I’d watch it regularly, swaying in the wind. Apparently, the Sparrows had noticed it too, as these were quick to take advantage of these seeds and I saw the Sparrows fight in the Fennel where they would even try and sit on fronds; anything would be tried out, in their attempts to reach the seedpods hanging in-between their favourite Climbing frame. There was a lot of squabbling too among the Sparrows and many would peck at each other, in an attempt to get hold of that {single? multiple?} seed within the seed pod.

I’m almost convinced that it was Niger, but it could have been any germinated seed from the Mixed seed Mixes I use.. It doesn’t really matter what it was but I do think about sowing some Niger seeds, next spring!


  1. Wow, what a lot of birds at that "grass". I have the same problem with grass and other seedlings growing up in the platform feeder. After it rains, if there has been seed left in the feeder, it doesn't take long for stuff to pop up. By the way, can I ask how you make the peanut cakes. Maybe I could make some. I do bang stuff together for the mesh bags like oatmeal, bread crumbs, raisins, oil etc. The peanut cakes might be something different I can try.

  2. Thanks, Crow.

    I'll do on a post on the menu in this 24 hour diner.

    So if you can wait till tomorrow, local time?

    I need to make some more one of these days, only hoping I can get lard. Francis did not manage to get to town this week; usually I have spare in the fridge, but not now.

  3. No problem, I can wait. Thanks.

  4. Well, the birds need to wait for peanutcake too.

    Having no lard, the shop had none, which often is the case.

    Discovering that Eddie, shopowner, has bought the shop next door, he proised me he'll have lots of it in the new shop.

    {I'd best bring the peanut cake indoors and keep it back in the fridge so I can dish a little out tomorrow and on Monday.
    {otherwise Jackdaws might wonder off with this remainder and disappoint the Fluffers.

    Plus loads of room to whizz around the new shop to get to it too.
    I'll have Francis get a few packets of it for in the fridge.

  5. Carin FuchsAugust 03, 2008

    Servus Yoke,
    admit it! You grow the sparrows on that fennel! LOL I am sure that fennel had a few weeks ago some strange looking capsules and after a while from every capsule popped a sparrow out! What will happen when the sparrows are ripe I wonder! Ehm, what kind of fertiliser do you use?

    Hi Crow,

    there are quite some different recipes for peanut cakes around, here is one someone gave me when I started birdfeeding. It is quite a success in my garden:

    "250g lard or suet
    340g jar of crunchy (unsalted) peanut butter
    2 handfuls of peanuts
    1 handful of raisins or sultanas
    liberal sprinkling of whatever seeds you have, or sunflower hearts.

    Melt the lard in the microwave
    put peanut butter jar in microwave for about 30 secs to loosen it up, and add to lard.
    Chuck in the rest, and mix together.

    I use whatever is to hand as a dish for the cake. It could be the bottom of a milk carton or recently I've been using the plastic punnet that grapes come in.

    Leave to cool for a few minutes, and then place in fridge until it sets."

    I hope it will also prove a success in your garden .

  6. Carin, you're giving the game away, LOL.

    The fertiliser? Sparrow dung of course. I don't even have to add anything, the birds do it all themselves. it only gets a few litres of water, but that is it.
    I used to grow Dill in there too, but Snails & weather got it first.
    I love the texture of fronds, flower/seed heads which the birds don't eat, but which I use for tea or cooking. I might sow some in a seed tray next spring.

    Funnily enough, my Fennel was a baby, sprouting up in the pot of a Large Bronze Fennel. Well, not one bronze frond on this one since.

  7. lol carin, I think your right about yoke growing the sparrows on the fennel. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Hi Yoke,

    They look like wild oats to me, or some sort of oat/wheat, I have them all over my garden too, lots of different types. some are definitely barley, wheat etc.

    At least part of that family, niger plants look like small sunflowers :)


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