“We grow flowers for the bees and butterflies, too, you know,” my father said as I commented about the profusion of life in his garden. The lavender and heather that grew so richly in his gardens drew them here and it was a joyous sight.
The rowan tree in the front garden attracted the birds, who swooped down to carry off the orange little berries.
“I love these birds,” my niece said defiantly, “even though people think of pigeons as rats of the skies.”
A few summers ago, she was making pellets of different colours (with vegetable dyes) to see which colour was favoured most by the birds.
“Aren’t they colour-blind?” I asked dumbly. “Because I know for sure that dogs are colour-blind.”
“My dear Auntie, birds can see more colours than human beings. They have cones that are sensitive to ultraviolet lights, don’t you know?”
I roared with laughter, somewhat unkindly, when I saw a dead pigeon under the tree where she planted her colourful pellets. She took the bird away and did a post-mortem.
My niece also told me something startling: don’t feed bread to birds, as bread has no nutritional value, and worse, mould on the bread can be dangerous to their health.
Yesterday, on impulse, I decided to make some fatballs for the birds.
- 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup grated cheese
- 1/2 cup dried fruit, soaked overnight in water and drained (these have to be soaked overnight so that they don’t swell up in the birds’ stomachs)
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
- 1 cup lard or beef suet
Melt the fat on slow heat. Cool slightly. Blend everything else together in a blender and mix into the fat. Shape into tight balls. Cool in the fridge and then hang out in a bird feeder in the garden.
*Don’t used salted peanuts and don’t use cooked fats.
My daughter ate one by mistake. “It’s good,” she said. . We decided not to tell her what it was. Big smile, happy summer, all ❤