Sunday, 19 December 2010
Etiquette At The Bird Table
"Dear Mr and Mrs Blackbird
You, your family and friends are always welcome to dine chez us ; a bird table and other perching posts are available for your convenience along with the ground.
On the menu please be assured of finding a selection of seeds (mixed and sunflower), dried mealworms, nuts, cocofat feeders, bird - cakes as well as fresh and dried fruit. From time to time chef will provide specialities such as moreish cubes of cheese for you to nibble on.
In return, please observe these simple courtesies :
~ Mr and Mrs Blue Tit are valued customers ~ do not allow your boisterous behaviour to spoil their enjoyment.
~ Separate containers are provided to segregate the various tit -bits, please do not allow your party to mix these, or spread viable seed on the ground where unidentified seedlings could sprout next spring. Any spilt food should be collected forthwith and either returned to its container or eaten.
~ Appropriate toilets facilities may be found elsewhere ~ please do not despoil the new fence, the washing line nor mess over all the food. Other diners have complained that they find this sort of behaviour somewhat off - putting.
~ From time to time when it is warm enough, complimentary slugs, aphids, vine-weevil grubs etc. and other such delicacies will be provided. Please feel free to eat your fill of these. Indeed we insist !
~ Please feel free to elbow any squirrel who may pester you or use any other form of dissuasion whether it be fair or fowl.
Assuring you of our best service at all times (service charge at your discretion)
G.Ullible (Head Gardener)"
Firstly I should explain that the above are not my own words. I came across the above letter on the internet in the middle of 1999. I printed it off and came across it recently in my ongoing de - cluttering. Unfortunately I am unable to credit it to its author, but I am sure that other folk will appreciate it, especially at this time of year when the bird station is a great source of amusement. I have amended it slightly in places. In particular the original letter was addressed to a starling - now for some reason we do not get any visiting our garden and the squirrel advice is my addition. Have fun watching your bird table on these oh so chilly winter days and please remember to vary the menu. Some excellent advice on what to feed the birds and on hygiene can be found here on the RSPB website.