Last evening saw the first of a week's programmes called "Winterwatch". These programmes come from the Inverness area of Scotland and are really set to show us how animals and birds cope with the wintry conditions. The answer is, of course, that they cope very well by and large, although extreme weather does tend to wipe out the weaklings. We don't like that but really Nature is all about the survival of the fittest - as it was with man too before the days of modern medicine.
We do give a helping hand, here on the farm, as far as we can. And this does not just apply to the birds. Hedgehogs hibernate in the hay in our hay barn and the mice have a jolly time with our various sacks of feed (sheep feed, hen pellets, corn etc.) Wherever we put the sacks seems to make no difference - they find it.
But it is the birds that we help the most. You ask how we put out the food I make. I purchased a cone-shaped basket full of fat some weeks ago and when it became empty I saw it was lined with plastic, so I brought it in and every time it is empty I re-use it to pour in a mixture of melted fat mixed with seeds, grated cheese, suet, chopped apple and anything else I can think of. We all need to do our bit to help wild things I think, although I know the birds will not repay me on Bird Garden Bird Watch day (the end of January) when we count the birds in our gardens for an hour for the R S P B. I lay a pound to a penny that they desert me on that day, as they usually do, so that I get a feeble list to send in. Here in the U K it is called Sod's Law.
Here is an up date! At 4 this afternoon the farmer was in our fields walking the dogs on their last walk of the day, when he saw a dozen or so waxwings in the ash tree in the pasture. How I wish I had been with him. I have scattered chopped up fruit round the bird table so that if they are still around in the morning they might drop in and give me a sighting too.