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bird watch.

Byline: with Alan Davies

SOMEONE once said the simple things in life are the best. One simple thing we can all enjoy is feeding the birds and today is National Feed The Birds Day.

Watching birds from your window is great fun and very relaxing. I can wile away many hours with a cup of tea enjoying green finches on our garden feeders.

You don't need much to attract birds to your garden -- just a simple seed feeder hung in a tree or on a bracket. Our own garden is very small with just one short hedge and a scrap of lawn, yet it can still be busy with birds. The more you watch, the more you see. Highlights here have included wintering black cap and chiffchaff searching for leftover insects.

Greenfinches are often joined by chaffinches, house sparrows and occasional goldfinch. Both blue and great tits come daily with rare visits by coal tits. With all this activity, it is inevitable that a sparrow hawk has learned of this abundant food supply and makes raids on the feeders. To see this hawk close up is a real treat as it dashes through in the hope of catching a feeding bird unawares.

Sparrowhawks are a good sign as they indicate a healthy bird population locally.

The British have a tradition of feeding the birds and long may it continue for it ensures the survival of many birds each winter. Other nations have followed our example. In the Americas, people put out special feeders for humming birds that contain sugar water. These tiny gems hover by the feeder and drink the liquid with long tongues. Bananas attract wonderful multicoloured tanagers close to forest lodges. Other bird tables are a bit more ambitious and whole dead cows are laid out to provide poison-free carrion for vultures in several countries.

Closer to home, here in Wales, we have some big feed the birds projects with our red kite feeding stations in mid Wales.

Come to Conwy RSPB reserve this weekend for a whole two days of fun devoted to feeding the birds. Guided walks are at 11 am today and tomorrow and there's family fun between 2pm-4pm, as well as loads of information and tips on feeding the birds in your garden. Plus a host of feeding products and food.

For latest news call Birdline, 09068 700 249 Report your sightings on 01492 544 588
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2004
Words:402
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