Friday, 9 November 2007

Apples grow on Obelisks

It’s Friday and I thought I’d have a bit of fun feeding the birds. I do enjoy feeding the birds that visit my garden with different foods to see who tries them and if these foods will bring in new species of birds. I am pretty sure it was a Fat Cake that brought in a male Blackcap on New Years Day this year – what a surprise that was! A female was seen a week later but they weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the Fat Cake and the invasions of Starlings that followed probably cost us the Blackcaps as they left at the same time.

Yesterday, I began some tidying in my front garden and removed an obelisk from my border. I put it away into my shed expecting not to use it until next year. Today I bought some fresh apples. My fruit basket had a few apples that were starting to go past their best so I decided not to mix them. I could probably have used the best bits of the older apples for a fruit salad but instead I decided to be a bit more creative with them! Can you see where this is going?


Why on earth did I do this? Well, this is just a variation on a theme really. Many birds do enjoy apples that drop from trees when they are left on the ground and begin to go rotten. A couple of years ago I tried something that I saw in a gardening magazine, Gardener’s World I think. They suggested making a garland of apples and hang it out for the birds who would eat them when they began to go soft. You used thick wire and threaded the apples through it to make the garland.

The garland didn’t get the interest of my visiting birds at that time. However, now I have many a wide variety of birds visiting my garden. My daughter also spotted a squirrel two days ago although I only put out peanuts at night for the hedgehogs so I don’t know if the squirrel got any food or it was just following the birds to investigate my garden. So will anyone be interested in the apples this time?

Perhaps, the birds will just ignore them as they aren’t on the ground or on a tree. I have sited my obelisk next to shrubs and beside a tree so the birds can see them from there. I cored all the apples and expect they will go soft quite quickly – this also made it easy to push them on to my obelisk. I also put another three apples through small branches of my small Acer tree just under the canopy. You can see the small feeding tray here too. This feeder is deliberately away from the others – a secret quite feeder used by Dunnocks, Blackbirds a robin and the occasional Blue Tit.

Finally, I have to add I have absolutely no intention in attracting rats – although I don’t actually know if they would be interested in fruit. I will not leave these apples until they are very rotten – before that point I will lift them and put them in my compost bin. Do I feel lucky with this experiment? Mmm not sure really but it is fun to look out on to and hey, it adds a bit of colour to the garden! If any bird did show interest I would take a guess that it would be one of the many blackbirds that visit my garden.

The photos above were taken in my garden on November 9th, 2007.

6 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Such a creative way to serve apples to the birds. The birds really work on the apples on our apple tree but I don't see them eating apples that I put outside when they become overripe for us.

Some people put out oranges for the Orioles and I have seen warblers feed on them. I hoever have never had luck with oranges in our garden. They just sit there and rot with no bird activity around them.

Good luck with your experiment. I hope to hear the results.

Barbara said...

During two winters I tried to attract birds also with feeding apples....but the apples were ignored. I guess, it was too cold and sometimes the apples even froze. Perhaps I have another go this year. I just took all my birdhouses and feeders out of the cellar and I will place them tomorrow. Weatherforecast announces snow for tomorrow. You are right indeed when saying the apples give some colours to the garde. They really do...I like your way of presenting apples to the birds...it looks like "modern art"....Have a lovely weekend, shirl!

Tim said...

You mention hedgehogs. Our daughter is eleven, and her nickname is Hedgehog. Coincidentally, she loves birds. When she was little, she used to ask us to prop her up against a tree in the backyard (we’d put upholstery pillows out there for her comfort), cover her with a blanket, and get her binoculars so she could watch the pigeons, starlings, and seagulls that visited our birdfeeder.

A few years later we bought her a digital camera, and she snapped hundreds of pictures (some were actually in focus) of birds leaving, birds arriving, birds eating, birds preening themselves.

Your apple sculpture is certainly striking and the birds have only themselves to blame if they don’t take advantage of such a scrumpteous feast.

My wife Sara and I garden on Gabriola Island off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. We chronicle our gardening adventures in a detailed blog that we’ve been publishing over a year now. Please come and visit.

Tim , Sara, and the kids

Vanillalotus said...

What a great idea. I hope some birds go and have a great feast.

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa and Barbara :-)

Lisa – Thank-you! I have to say my obelisk made me smile this morning when I opened my curtains and looked out on to it. It is raining but it doesn’t look like anyone has taken a bite yet. I have never tried oranges with the birds but I do scatter sultanas on the ground and the Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Starlings enjoy them. How lovely your Orioles look – what large strong beaks too. They look like they could easily tear into an orange – pity you haven’t seen that yet. I will let you know the results of my experiment :-D

Barbara – As I said my garland of apples didn’t work either but recently I did leave one apple on the ground near the feeders recently and spotted a Blackbird take some interest in it. As I write this they are too busy searching for sultanas to notice them so perhaps I need to stop putting out sultanas for a few days and they may go to the apples. Modern Art – what a wonderful description although I have to say this is in my back garden in an area where only we, and the birds, see it. I don’t know what my neighbours would think of it! I wonder if you will get snow in Switzerland – the North of Scotland may get a little too. Putting up birdhouses and feeders – what a nice job for the weekend, Barbara. Enjoy your weekend too :-D

shirl said...

Hello, Tim and Hi again, Vanillalotus :-)

Tim – ‘Hedgehog’ what a wonderful name for your ‘Bird- watching’ daughter. I hope she is still taking photographs. What a lovely story thanks for sharing that :-) My apple ‘Sculpture’ is only one of many feasts that the birds have in my garden – although I do hope they will discover it. Yesterday they also enjoyed some bits of cheese that was a bit dried out – it never last long I don’t think there is any way a mouse will discover that! Thanks for the invitation to your blog – I enjoyed my visit. The work you do in your garden is detailed and it is good to see photos too. You must take time on your blog too – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do mine I particularly enjoy e-meeting people from around the world :-D

Vanillalotus – Thank-you! I was putting away my groceries and the idea just came to me :-D