We have been doing our bit to help the birds with a bit of extra food this winter. Bird Pudding is on the menu and is now hanging from a tree on a long cord. We chose to hang it from a particularly slender branch so that the neighbourhood cats could not climb out and make a meal of the hungry birds. Our recipe is one suggested by the New Zealand Forest and Bird Society. It is a mixture of beef dripping, toasted bread crusts, honey and birdseed. Mixed all together and contained in a mesh onion bag, it is proving to be irresistible to the native Silvereyes, also known as Waxeyes. It is so lovely to sit and watch them daintily pecking away at the fat ball. According to our Readers Digest Book of Birds, Silvereyes did not arrive in New Zealand (from Australia) in large numbers until the mid 1850s. The Maori people had never seen this bird before and called it “”Tauhou” meaning stranger.
Silvereye feeding on the bird pudding
We have also noticed Fantails taking quite an interest in the climbing vine on the garage. They have been making a real racket as they dived in and out. Fantails feed on insects which they catch on the wing, so there must have been quite a collection of juicy insects that took their fancy. These birds like to follow people walking along bush tracks and swoop around catching the insects that the walkers have disturbed.