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COOKING FOR BIRDS (article first published : 2005-01-5)

Diane Ward’s Cooking for Birds offers fun recipes to entice birds to your garden.

Any bird lover will enjoy this whimsical and beautifully illustrated little hardcover book which is a pure enchantment.

The Contents page is titled “On the Menu” which is a delight in itself. It includes Dining out on the Wing which features the attraction of “Lekker Laces”; strings threaded with unsalted mixed nuts, pieces of fruit and popcorn. There’s a “Moth Broth” which will appeal to nocturnal birds such as owls and dikkops. It consists of a paste of mashed up a rotten banana, peach or pear and brown sugar. This can either be left outside at night where you can see it or painted onto a tree so that you can sneak up with a torch to see the moths eating the broth … and in turn see who’s coming to dine on the moths!

It’s also a good way of getting young children to know and understand birds because they can eat the same food – like Tea Time Treats.In the Baking for Birds section – you can feed both human and feathered visitors with items such as Beaky’s Biscuits which have a strong peanut butter flavouring. For Sunbird Nectar – you colour nutritious ProNutro, honey and Bovril with a small beetroot to attract the sunbirds. Children will delight in painting pots in which they can grow millet to attract many garden birds who enjoy greens.

There are simple instructions to make your own feeders from such mundane items as coffee tins and cool drink bottles or string onion or orange bags.

Diane Ward is a mother of four children and an alternative therapist, practicing reiki and therapeutic massage. She and her family lived on a farm for eight years and that is when they became interested in feeding birds and attracting them to their garden.

Family and friends persuaded Diane to create this book and the recipes she devised can be used anywhere from large gardens to the balconies of small flats.

In her Acknowledgements Diane thanks Shaun Wilkinson, curator of birds at the Monte Casino Bird Gardens, Fourways, Johannesburg as well as the staff and volunteers of the Free-Me Centre for rehabilitation of Wildlife, Paulshof, Johannesburg. She makes a wry and amusing comment in that the birds in her garden are now under the care of Weight Watchers!

Published by Struik, Cooking for Birds retails at R79.95 ISBN 1770070761 Working out at about R1 a page, it’s stunning value! – Cherry MacIldowie




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