I see that the National Parks and Wildlife service this week has brought in a temporary ban on the hunting of wild birds due to the recent and continuing freezing weather conditions across the island of Ireland. This measure is supported by hunting organisations also, for good reasons. Wild ducks, geese, waders and other game birds need time to conserve energy and recover hopefully when the milder weather returns.

Animals and birds with even smaller bodies are more at risk from a cold spell. The populations of Aegithalos Caudatus, otherwise known as Long-Tailed Tits (pictured -right- feeding in my garden this week) can fall 80% in very cold weather. This is why they produce so many young and if the young survive, the population should recover to some extent.

Blue Tit The more common Cyanistes Caerulus or Meantán Gorm or Blue Tit (also pictured -left- recently in the James Grieve apple tree) is a real ally to any gardener. No other species destroys more aphids. So a healthy diverse wildlife population helps maintain a healthy vibrant garden.

Birdwatch Ireland warns against giving birds the wrong food like dry bread, uncooked rice and dried cocunut. A bit of common sense and bird food and kitchen scraps will keep vulnerable birds alive. The scraps can include bacon rinds, cheese, suet, raisins, moistened bread, melon seeds, fruit, stale cake, cooked potato, oatmeal, fresh cocunut and uncooked pastry etc.

As less common siskins, redpolls and species from more northerly habitats are driven south to Ireland from even harsher climes, the competition for food among native birds becomes more intense. Just like humans, birds need water to drink and bathe so if you have a pond check it is not frozen over. A shallow dish of water would also suffice.

As Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 26, ‘Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them’. Unfortunately, Jack Frost displays little Christian consideration for our feathered friends.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shaun Hooke on December 13, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Avid reader of your blog and enthusiastic allotmenteer. My family and I always try our best to help our feathered friends. It is essential to help our wildlife though these especially difficult times. The idea however that somehow Christians have some special kind of consideration I find high minded.

    This is a personal blog so you may print what you wish. But I will not be visiting again. A real shame.


    • Sorry to rub you up the wrong way Shaun. I would not claim any high minded notion for Christians. My idea was to remind Christians that their founder considered the welfare of animals and birds aswell as humans. Some Christian writers seem to overlook this, that’s all. Hope you are well and anticipating a good growing season.


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