Setting Up Lighting For Your Aquarium

These days almost any aquarium sets that you get as a package comes with some form of lighting. But if you do have or buy an aquarium that did not come as a set you would then have to get all the different equipment and accessories separately. In this case, you may be wondering what kind of aquarium lightning to get and how to properly install them.

The real question is whether lighting for a fish tank really is that necessary or is it merely a decorative element that you could do away with.

The first factor that determines the necessity of aquarium lighting is whether you have real plants in your tank or not. If yours is a planted tank, the aquatic plants in the water will require light to perform photosynthesis. Without proper lighting at least for a couple of hours of each day, your live plants will begin to wither and die. If your aquarium is positioned in a place that receives some sunlight daily, even if it is not direct sunlight, then fish tank lights aren’t really that crucial.

Even if you do not have live aquatic plants, having a tank that sits in a dark corner of an ill lighted room is not healthy to your fish. Fish like all living creatures live in a cycle of light and dark. Without a distinct difference between the two, they would eventually have deteriorating health and other issues.

In general there are three types of aquarium lights that you could get: normal fluorescent, compact fluorescent and metal halides.

Normal Fluorescent Lights

These are the common types of lighting you can get for a very cheap price in any pet shop. The normal fluorescent lights do provide the basic function of lighting up your fish tank and they do help with providing your aquatic plants the light it needs. The issue about these lights though is that they can be a little bulky. If you do get shorter tubes, the strength of the light might not be sufficient. The same goes if you have a fairly large tank, where you will need to get a couple of tubes together in order to provide suitable illumination.

Compact Fluorescent Lights

These are just like the normal fluorescent ones with the exception that they are much smaller. But don’t let the size full you, they do provide sufficient illumination as much as a longer normal one would. So the benefit here is that you would be able to have more tubes in a smaller space, giving your plants and fish all the light they need.

Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting

These are the latest addition to the aquarium lighting scene. Metal halide lights are able to provide illumination that is stronger and more concentrated. This allows the light to penetrate far deeper into the tank than Fluorescent lights can, making metal halides perfect for really large tanks. The light spectrum that they provide is also ideal for plants and can be selected based on the type of aquatic plants that you have.

The only drawback here is that it is for advanced aquarium enthusiast because it needs proper installation and maintenance. So if you are a new hobbyist and do not want to go through the hassle, this may not be the one for you.

So your task now is to evaluate the size of your fish tank and see which of the three options you would like to go with. They all have their pros and cons, so it is mainly a matter of preference.

The Complete Gouldian Finch Birdwatching Profile

If you are an experienced Australian birdwatching enthusiast, then undoubtedly you have heard of the Gouldian Finch, even if you have not had the privilege of seeing one in the wild. This spectacular bird has gained a lot of media attention in recent years due to its declining numbers, due to reduced habitat. Many birdwatchers agree that this finch is the most spectacularly coloured bird in Australia. There are a number of organisations that have taken to preserving the habitats of this remarkable creature. Recent research has found that there are only about 2,500 Gouldian Finch’s living in the wild.

Description

The little bird gained it’s name from John Gould, the discoverer of the bird. Taken by the beauty of the purple chested bird, he named it the Lady Gouldian. With it’s characteristic purple plumage, yellow feathered chest and green back, this little bird is hard to be mistaken.

Diet

As a grass-finch, the Gouldian Finch main diet source is from the ripe or semi-ripe seeds of native grasses. Interestingly for a few months during the year the bird changes its diet to cope with the arduous task of raising its young. During these months the birds diet consists mainly of small insects, which provide it with the added nutrients needed during this stressful period.

Habitat Location

It really is a tragedy when one considers the vast habitat that the Gouldian Finch once lived in, contrasted with the small areas that it occupies now. Many birdwatchers initially thought that the numbers of the Gouldian Finch were plummeting in the wild due to individuals capturing the birds for pets. Research has since shown that reduced habitats, and irregular fire patterns are primarily to blame for the reduced habitat. Nowadays the finch can only be found in the wild in the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia. Mike Jarvis, one of the most respected birdwatching guides in Australia, regularly takes tours through the Mary River district and South of Pine Creek in the dry season, with great success with regular spotting’s of this endangered bird. If you are able to explore this region, keep an eye out for the finch in open woodlands near water sources. There is anecdotal evidence that they are often sighted near native spear-grasses.

How To Help The Gouldian Finch

Many kindhearted volunteers regularly monitor local waterholes in the Gouldian Finch’s native habitat to keep an eye out for the sightings. The more information that organisations can gather from volunteer birdwatchers on the habitat of the Gouldian Finch, the more that they can help protect that environment. Additionally individuals can take active steps to ensure that the current habitat of the bird is protected, and report any activities that are harming the area.

There have been new spotting’s of the Gouldian Finch in the Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia. Research has shown that this is not a population of birds that has moved to the area, but a population that has previously been undiscovered. This breeding population shows the importance of amateur birdwatchers reporting any sightings of the Gouldian Finch, as this area is now a protected area. With ongoing care and public awareness, generations of Australian will be able to enjoy seeing this most remarkable bird in the grasslands of Australia.

Riding on the Road: Safety First

I live on a large farm with a lot of land, but even so, I like to trail ride out on the road. Some people have never had this cool experience before, and many find it strange, but it is actually a lot of fun! Where I live, there are many, many, miles of country back roads, and the amount of cars coming by are not bountiful, we are lucky to get six in one hour. These are the best kind of roads to ride on, you definitely do not want to be on a public road with cars whizzing by every few seconds… safety FIRST!!!

If you take your horse to shows, he is probably used to noise, vehicles, and a variety of sights, but he may not necessarily be used to the idea of a car passing in close proximity to him on a road, or zooming by; most people slow down when they see a horse and rider out on the road, but not all do, and these are the ignorant people that you have to watch out for. Some people think it is cute or funny to honk their horn as they pass you and your horse on the road; as riders, we know that there is no humor in this situation; it is extremely dangerous. A startled horse has a tendency to run or act up, and you must be prepared to cope with the situation.

As I train my young horses, I ride them on the road to desensitize them, but only after I know that they are far enough along that they will listen to me if something happens to scare them. I train them to ride out on the road, as I know that they will be ridden on the road in the future. But, if you have an older already trained horse, and you want to make him comfortable on the road, lead him out there for a couple hours a day and let him graze along the road. As cars pass, see how he reacts. Even if he is eating, how he reacts to cars while on the roadside grazing will give you almost a perfect example of how he will react when being ridden. I also advise that he not startle and spook easily, as some people who do not know better WILL honk their car horns as they go by and alarm your horse. Do some spook training with him on noises BEFORE riding or leading him on the road.

Gear for road-riding will be slightly different than for regular riding. For you, it would be wise to wear a body protector, a reflective vest, and a helmet, along with your regular riding gear (jeans or breeches, boots, maybe chaps or half-chaps, a riding friendly shirt, and gloves). A spill while riding on the asphalt is definitely going to cause more damage than an accident in the field or arena, and you don’t want any injuries that CAN be prevented. For your horse, you may wrap his legs or put tendon/brushing boots on him, outfit him in bell boots, or use knee protection, all to keep him safe should he slip or fall.

After he is used to cars, take him out for a short hack and see how he does. Always watch AND listen for oncoming cars. Coming around a turn, a car will most likely not see you. I advise staying on the outside shoulder of the road when encompassing a long turn that you cannot see around, going against the flow of traffic. If you horse does well riding on the road quietly, does, you can go for a longer ride each time, until you are riding to a friend’s house if you want to!

As you go though, please remember to keep an eye and ear open for cars so that YOU are aware of approaching traffic even if your horse is not. In most cases, the horse will hear the traffic even before you do, and flick his ears and listen as it comes. If he happens to spook because of a loud engine or horn, sit calmly, and relax yourself as much as possible to let him know that it was just a noise; most times, the horse may jump forward a few steps, but once he realizes that you are unafraid, he will settle to just flicking his ears around, and then becoming placid as his usual self once again.

Starting Out With a New Hanoverian Sport Horse

The Hanoverian horse has been a consistently popular breed of sport horse for a long time, and for good reason. Hanoverian horses are incredibly lithe, agile and sportive. Hanoverians are renowned for their good temperaments, which makes them easy to train to a great extent. These horses are also highly intelligent and generally form very harmonious relationships with their riders. Hanoverian sport horses are famed worldwide for their awe-inspiring grace and beauty – they possess an infallible combination of muscular limbs, a robust body and an enduringly strong back. Any horse lover, or potential investor in a sport horse would truly be wise to choose a Hanoverian sport horse.

Hanoverian sport horses can be seen at all levels of competitive games, from local horse shows to the Olympic games. In fact, statistics show that the Hanoverian breed is the most successful of all warm blood horse breeds – not surprising when their athleticism and excellent temperament are acknowledged.

Question: I have invested in a fantastic Hanoverian Sport Horse. What is my next step?

First of all, congratulations on your successful investment in a Hanoverian, anyone who has the pleasure of owning one of these horses is guaranteed many years of satisfaction and enjoyment from seeing their horse continually succeed. However, their success does not come automatically. The most important first step to take, once you have purchased your horse, is to organize its training.

High quality training with an experienced trainer is imperative to guarantee your horse’s success in competitive games. It is recommended to conduct ample research on the type of training you wish your horse to receive. Training based on classical teaching principles has proven widely popular. In many cases, the classical teaching principles are applied during training, while the trainer simultaneously forms a specific program based on the unique needs of the horse undergoing training, taking their personality traits and physical strengths into close consideration.

When researching and deciding on the right horse trainer for your Hanoverian horse’s needs, inquire as to the success levels in competitive games of horses that have been previously undergone training with them. This will give you a fair idea of how well the trainer works with horses and caters to their individual needs. It is also very important to introduce your horse to the trainer, and even allow them to take the horse for a ride to gauge how they collaborate with one another. Additionally, it is just as important for you, the horse owner to mesh well with the chosen trainer.

Hanoverian horses are highly intelligent and if they sense any weakness, their training may not be as successful as it could be. In the long run, it is extremely important that your Hanoverian, you and your trainer all connect well to ensure your horse’s maximum success.

Suitable Betta Fish Tank Decor

Betta fish are probably among the most popular fishes to breed these days and it is easy to see why. These fish look absolutely stunning with their vibrant colors and long gorgeous fins, it is hard to imagine that they actually originate from the murky waters of rice fields in Southeast Asia. Apart from how beautifully they look, another plus point of having the Betta fish as a pet is how tough they are. These fish come from some of the most dank and poorly aerated waters and have evolved to be extremely hardy. You can easily keep a Betta fish in a tiny little water container with no filtration and no aeration and they would still survive well. This is because it is one of the few fish that is actually fine with taking in atmospheric air if the oxygen concentration of the water is low.

But the downside to the Betta fish is that they are extremely territorial. In Southeast Asia, they are better known as Fighting Fish. When two male Betta are placed in close proximity, they would battle to the death, a brutal sport that the local kids partake in. You can easily tell the male and female apart, the male being the colorful ones and the females generally plain and unattractive. The female Betta also tends to be a little less aggressive. This would mean that you would only be able to keep one Betta in your fish tank and have no other fish in there or it might tear the other fish apart.

When choosing suitable fish tank ornaments for your Betta fish, you would have to take into consideration their aggressive nature. You would need to ensure that your fish tank decor does not injure the Betta in any way.

The first thing to avoid is having any decor with a reflective surface. Avoid mirrors like the plague. If the Betta sees its reflection in the mirror, it will assume that there is another male in there with it and will go into attack mode. It will keep hitting itself against the mirror until it eventually bleeds and dies. You might find an aquarium toy sold with a mirror that is supposedly meant to keep Betta fish stimulated but it is not a good thing to have for this kind of aggressive fish, so I would recommend not getting it.

You would want to get an ornament that provides the fish with a small cave to go into. One great aquarium decor to get is a floating Betta log, which is a plain hollow log that floats at the surface. Since Betta fish breathe in atmospheric air as well, having them close to the surface during their rest time is a good idea. Betta do need a secluded place to go into and rest from time to time.

If there is space constraints in your tank and a floating log would consume too much area at the top, you could opt for one that is placed at the base of the tank. Or you could also get soft artificial plants that would allow the fish to swim in between and hide when it feels a need. Do not get artificial plants that are stiff and hard, or they would scrape their bodies against it too much and cause sore to appear.

Try your very best to ensure that the ornaments you get are natural looking such as rocks, plants and logs. You can put normal fish tank decorations if you want such as sunken ships and castle, just make sure there are not sharp parts that might injure it. Being aggressive, Betta fish have the tendency to dart into the cave especially if spooked, so you do not want them injuring themselves against a sharp part.

Should You Diaper Your Pet Duck?

Owning any pet can be all kinds of work to try and domesticate your pet. You want to try to get them to learn how to use the bathroom, eat from their food bowls as well as get them to do things in a proper manner so that they won’t ruin your home and just generally create messes all over the place to which your home will just be ruined.

People have now even started owning a domestic duck as pets because they love animals and even want to have ducks be included in the family. I know this may sound a little strange, but it’s true, people even own ducks that they keep in the house and train just like any other pet that they might own. Since this is the case people will have to be able to do certain things in order to get their ducks trained well so that they won’t ruin homes they live in.

Putting a diaper on your duck is something that you can do to allow your duck to be able to go all around the house without you having to worry about it making messes all over the place and keeping your home clean. The great thing about having a diaper on the duck is that you aren’t going to always have to worry about finding surprises left and right in your house and that will take a lot of worry off of your shoulders when or if you decide to get a duck for a pet in your home.

Some people are in the market for breeding ducks and a diaper is a great way to tell your ducks apart if you need to do that. A diaper needs to be the right measurements for your growing duck so that you won’t have any kind of restrictions that may be unforeseen as well.

There are plenty of reasons to get diapers for your ducks because you can never be too careful when it comes to your home or your ducks. The ducks are just like any other creature and they can leave a huge mess just like the best of them.

In order to properly use the diaper, you are going to need a diaper harness which will securely hold the diaper in place, allowing your beautiful pets to run around freely and safely while also keeping your areas of the home perfectly clean. You are going to get the best of both worlds when you order diapers along with the diaper harness for your domestic duck. You are going to feel like it was one of the best decisions you have ever made when it involves your new baby duck keeping him clean all of his life.

The Best Food to Feed a Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons make wonderful pets. They are active during the day, and when adult are large enough to be allowed to roam around the house for limited periods (that is, until they start getting cold) without any fears of them disappearing in small hiding places – obviously they need to be supervised at all times. They also have the advantage of almost being born tame and are happy to sit on their owner and will put up with a cuddle.

They are attractive and have great personalities, and make excellent pets for people who are allergic to fur and cannot have any of the more common warm blooded pets. In captivity with the correct husbandry they should live for up to 10 years or even more. The oldest I’m currently aware of is 12. To reach their potential live span they need to be fed the correct foods.

I am often contacted by people who would like to own a bearded dragon, and who want to know if there is any alternative to feeding them live food. The answer is a very definite NO. Although many pet shops stock dried food which is supposed to be for bearded dragons, I have never heard of one that actually will eat this. I’ve tried to feed it to mine but I think they would rather starve!

The amount and type of live food they need changes as they grow from hatchling to adult. When first hatched they are almost totally carnivorous. When adult they are 80% vegetarian. At all stages of their lives they should have the correct balance of vegetables/fruit and live food.

When a juvenile is purchased and brought home from the breeder or pet shop it is important to always offer finely chopped vegetables/fruit. The rule of thumb when feeding bearded dragons is to make sure no food offered is larger than the gap between their eyes. This goes for the size of live food offered, as well as the green stuff. If a juvenile has been properly fed from hatching it will be used to always have a bowl of veg in its enclosure, which it will peck at if there’s nothing better on offer. Juvenile bearded dragons are often similar to human toddlers – seemingly allergic to anything green! But if they’ve been used to it they’ll often continue to munch on salad and vegetables throughout their growing period. Some beardies refuse to touch vegetables – some (including mine!) have been known never to eat it when their owners are watching as if by pretending they are starving they’ll be offered something more tasty. But eventually they all succumb and eat it and, when adult, it will be their staple diet.

If you have a juvenile who won’t touch the stuff, don’t worry. He’ll get there in time, and though it’s disappointing to spend your time chopping food that’s not eaten, you must persevere. It’s best to try and variety of different vegetables and fruit – some beardies like some things, others don’t. Cabbage, mixed salad leaves, curly kale, peppers, sweet potato, grapes, apples, carrots are all foods which might appeal to a beardie. Experiment with items that you eat and see what yours likes.

Bearded dragons should never be fed avocado, and avoid items with a high moisture content such as iceburg lettuce, cucumber or tomatoes which will cause diarrhoea.

These reptiles have an astonishing rate of growth – they grow 4000 times in size from hatching to adult, and should reach full size between 12 and 18 months. To support this tremendous growth rate they have to have copious amounts of protein which can only be supplied by a main diet of live food. When deciding whether this is the pet for you, you need to factor in the cost of their food. During their first year of live they cost as much as a cat and some dogs to feed. There is also the problem of obtaining live food – but if you don’t live near a suitably stocked pet shop mail order is very efficient, and you can set up a regular order with most online suppliers.

The basic live food diet is crickets. These come in two types – brown, and black. Black are supposedly silent, but you’ll still get the odd one that will chirp all night. Both are nutritious. Crickets, as other insects, come in various sizes called instars. As a cricket grows it sheds its skin. First instar crickets are the smallest, and then they increase in size through various sheds until they reach adult size. Don’t feed crickets which are too big for your bearded dragon (remember the gap between the eyes rule), but conversely, if you try and offer crickets that are too small he might not be interested in them.

All live food should be gut fed – this simply means feeding them the same vegetables that you are offering your beardie. Hence even if he isn’t keen on vegetables, he’ll be getting the goodness by eating the crickets.

When growing rapidly they should be fed live food 3 times a day up until the age of about 4 months – as many as they can eat in a 10 minute session each time. This can be reduced to 2 feeds, and then to 1 when the beardie is a good size – around 6 to 8 months. It is difficult to give any definite ages as all bearded dragons grow at different rates. As they are such voracious eaters crickets are recommended as they are the cheapest to buy.

Bearded dragons need calcium supplement – daily until they are adult, and then about weekly thereafter. Calcium powder is sprinkled on their food. Without extra calcium they are likely to develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which causes deformities in their bone growth, and is often fatal. Prevention is far better than trying to cure it.

It is perfectly possible to feed crickets and dust them with calcium powder without having to touch them by using a Cricket Keeper. You empty the crickets from the tub they arrive in into the keeper, and put vegetables and water into it. Pots of water are not recommended as the crickets are likely to drown in it, instead you can buy Bug Gel, or simply put in cotton wool balls soaked in water. Cricket Keepers have four black tubes. The crickets go up the tubes as they like being in the dark. When it’s feeding time you simply lift out one of the tubes, spinkle some calcium supplement down the tube, put something over the top and shake vigorously. This coats the crickets evenly with calcium powder, and also slightly stuns them which makes them slower and easier for the beardie to catch. You can also slow down crickets by putting them in the fridge for a few minutes before feeding. Most beardies can catch them anyway, but some have difficulty at first, so slower moving crickets can be beneficial.

As beardies grow they can move on to locusts or roaches. A roach colony can be kept at home, and so you can breed your own live food and make feeding much cheaper though not everyone wants to do this. Locusts are much more tasty to a bearded dragon, and also more expensive to buy. If you start feeding these too early you may find he won’t go back to eating crickets, and hence it will be far more expensive. For that reason I recommend staying with crickets as long as possible. As adults they will only need livefood two or three times a week. Once they are fully grown too much protein will overload their internal organs so if you overfeed you will be killing them with kindness.

Meal worms should not be given to bearded dragons. They do like them, but their skins are high in chitin which is hard to digest, and they are not as nutritious as crickets or locusts. Morio worms are a good substitute, but I’d still stick with crickets as a staple diet. Silk worms can also be fed daily, but again are more expensive. Wax worms are only to be given as a treat as they are very rich. They do love them in the way we like chocolate!

Remember, feeding your bearded dragon the correct food for each stage of its life is important, but equally so is having your vivarium set up correctly. The basking temperature should be right as it helps them digest their food properly, and a strong UVB light is necessary so they get sufficient vitamins.

The Right Way to Take Care of a Pet Parrot

Getting a pet parrot may turn out to be a highly worthwhile investment, in terms of time and money. Such a pet proves to be very fascinating to some people, especially with the numerous abilities they have. One can simply be entertained with the gesture of teaching their parrot a bunch of tricks, and a ton of time is to be dedicated into providing proper care for this type of bird. There are so many things, though, that one has to make sure of, such as cleaning its cage properly, changing its water supply as well as ensuring that it’s always provided enough company. Below are some additional things to ponder upon when it comes to taking care of a pet parrot.

  1. One has to decide carefully if they really want to have a parrot as a pet, and this includes looking into their cage’s size and getting it a perch, since it’s quite a sociable creature to have. One should also realize that its most unique trait is the ability to mimic any sound it hears, including how the owner talks. Owners should have enough time spent on schooling it and ensuring that it gets the proper training in order to develop into a well rounded pet that everyone can have fun with and appreciate.
  2. Getting them the right kind of food is also essential. Parrots are often fed seeds which contain a lot of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, all of which can help them grow and acquire healthy bodies. However, this isn’t always the most appropriate choice. Considering that most seeds are being commercially manufactured, and may even include all those various nutrients, there’s also a lot more freedom in choice. One can simply purchase pellets which these birds can chew on, and the owners won’t have to worry about husks of seeds scattered all over the cage.
  3. It would also be essential for the owner to take it out of its cage and be properly groomed. There needs to be utmost caution when doing so, since these creatures can be very fidgety, thus increasing the risk of injuring them. Their beaks must be properly cleaned in a delicate manner, toe nails should be trimmed carefully with the right sized trimmer, and wings have to be clipped properly to avoid nasty falls during flying play sessions.

A pet parrot may not be the least complicated type of birds to handle, yet they are pretty fun to have around the household. It also teaches owners how to be responsible in taking care of fragile creatures that will end up leading to a whole new experience.

Protecting Garden Birds From Magpies

Magpies can be desired and detested in equal measure, depending on the person and situation. On the one hand, they’re uniquely intelligent birds, with a well developed social system accompanying their well developed appetites. Unfortunately, they’re not only incredibly hungry, but predatory to boot. A small flock will happily devour an entire rabbit left gutted in the garden, so it’s no surprise the ease with which they crack open eggs waiting to hatch, or even kill the live young of other birds around the garden. If you want to keep the other species safe you can read on for a little info on deterring the creatures.

First up, a very simple a cheap system for deterring magpies from your garden. Oddly enough, these socially advanced creatures absolutely cannot abide being looked at by other animals, particularly those they can’t identify. In Australia the birds have been known to attack children in the street, who then took to strapping paper eyes to the reverse of their caps. The magpies see the false eyes, spook easily and are quick to back away.

This is an easy method to adopt, and there are a few ways to expand upon it to make it even more effective. Start off by making a few sets of paper eyes at home. Once you’ve got a few pairs start posting them up around the garden. Trunks and walls are best, a nice flat surface where they’ll enjoy a lot of visibility. Fasten them on with sellotape for longer-lasting results.

The tape actually plays into the best way to improve the technique. Magpies are more likely to spook from objects which reflect light well. Not only are they bright, but they better represent the glistening effect of an actual eye. The best value for money solution you’ll find requires two types of object. A thread of string and any loose CDs and DVDs you’ve no intention of keeping. String the CDs together into long hanging ornaments, then affix them to walls, trunks and branches. They’ll turn in the wind, reflecting randomly while also resembling a circular eye, complete with pupil.

In small domestic gardens these techniques will prove successful enough at scaring off the pesky, predatory birds. So long as you maintain good lines of sight so a pair of eyes or reflective CDs are constantly in view the magpie population should quickly begin avoiding your property. In larger areas setting up a large number of these items tends to be an inefficient use of your time. Instead consider a scarecrow with reflective eyes. They’re an old standby, and the appearance of a conscious human does wonders deterring these birds.

Francesca has been writing about UK wildlife and garden birds for years, from providing them with shelter to keeping them safe from predators. Now serving as a featured contributor to Garden Bird, a premier supplier of bird feed and care accessories, she hopes to expand her audience even further.

The Best Spring Feed for Your Birds

Spring is certainly an important time for bird feeding. Many migratory species will be passing through your garden on their way back home, and you can expect to see new nests and hatchlings springing up around your area when mating season kicks off. Birds have specific nutritional needs throughout the period, however, so it’s worth taking the time to note just what you should be providing.

Mealworms

These are an old standby, and an excellent source of live feed. Unlike their larger, crunchier brethren, mealworms are both protein heavy and moist. They benefit smaller birds the most, and you can expect to see them surge in popularity during mating season. Adults will bring them back to the nest to sustain their young, as they’re one of the most nutritious and edible feeds out there.

Remember, they can easily go off if left outside for too long. Consider soaking them in water for a little extra moisture on hot days, as long as they’re all eaten quickly. As always, be sure to clean up any uneaten remnants to prevent disease.

Fruit

If you grow a variety of plants in your garden, there’s every chance you have a few apples and pears going spare through spring. These large, meaty and moist fruits are particularly suited to feeding larger birds, capable of digging in more effectively. The high water content will certainly benefit them in hotter weeks, and slicing up a few to leave on the feeder will keep a lot of birds happy.

As an interesting idea for presentation, consider slicing a fruit in half and impaling It on the branch of a tree. This will move larger birds into the canopy, while producing a pleasant natural appearance. Just be sure not to leave any sliced fruit out for longer than a few days. In the heat and rain of spring it’s quite easy for them to rot, so dense trees and covered feeders are a nice touch.

Seeds and Nuts

As ever, nyger seeds make for a great investment, and are extremely popular among the majority of finch species. They’re very fatty for their size, but will need a specialised feeder to hold them in.

Peanuts are a regular feature of any feed mix, but will require special attention if you intend to leave them out in the spring. They’re heavy in fat and protein, but be sure not to make the mistake of leaving out salted nuts, birds can’t process the salt and will suffer for it.

Remember, whole peanuts can easily choke a newly hatched bird, so either crush up your nuts or leave them in a mesh they cannot be removed from whole. Any other small seeds and nuts will suffice, sunflower hearts being another high nutrition treat.