Feed the birds, but not much

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

OUR feath­ered friends like to gorge on left­over mince pies as much as we do—and so they should, they need nour­ish­ment dur­ing the cold months. How­ever, warns the RSPB, we should be very care­ful about what we put on the bird ta­ble.

Any­thing with cook­ing fat on it—turkey, goose and so on—can be ex­tremely dan­ger­ous. Birds need to keep clean and dry to sur­vive the win­ter and cooled fat can smear onto feath­ers, in­ter­fer­ing with vi­tal wa­ter­proof­ing and in­su­la­tion. In ad­di­tion, fat from roast­ing tins can go ran­cid, cre­at­ing a breed­ing ground for sal­mo­nella and other bac­te­ria.

‘Only pure fats should be used to make home­made fat balls,’ rec­om­mends the RSPB’S Char­lotte Am­brose, who sug­gests mix­ing bird­seed, nuts and raisins to­gether with lard, squash­ing it in and around a pinecone, then hang­ing it with string from a tree.

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