We are a Johannesburg based family living in a house in the suburbs. We have always had a small bird feeder out regularly filled with bread scraps and a handful of seeds. Weaver birds and Doves often visited and that was nice to watch.
Then one day during winter 2021, I made a Minestrone which requires streaky lard. There was a lot of surplus fat that I wasn't going to use in my recipe. Remembering growing up in France and my mom always putting a big chunk of lard nailed to the wall for the birds, I thought I'd add the lard to the bird feeder and see what happens.
Well, 2 hours later we were graced with 3 beautiful Green Wood Hoopoes cackling away and scoffing all the lard up. We were so happy with the new guests that we had to expand the feeder to accommodate more menu items.
This family project got out of hand really. We bought more feeders, then water dispensers. I started making my own suet balls which attracted an even greater variety of birds. I just loved having my breakfast and watching the feeding frenzy outside my window.
My friend then advised me to also put fruit out and see what happens. I put a paw-paw out and an apple and patiently watched through the window. A few hours later, a stunning Crested Barbet flew in and devoured the fruit. Then it called its mates and the whole tray was gone in a few hours.
We are still learning a lot about birds and their feeding habits.
If you have any ideas or recommendations on how to improve our Bird & Breakfast feeding station, let us know please. We always strive to learn and improve your viewing experience.
Now we had a problem. The feeding space was getting too cramped and we had to move everything to a bigger space in the garden. The issue was that no-one could really see the beautiful birds anymore unless we went outside to visit their new spot.
So in December 2021, we bought a big security camera and hubby mounted it on one of my old photography tripods and linked it to our network. The kids are Twitch experts and created us a channel with some nice design work so we could all watch the daily feeding frenzy taking place in our garden.
Being Live on Twitch, we had to also create a YouTube channel. But the feeders were not looking so pretty for public viewing, so we picked wood sticks from the parc nearby and built our own feeder to accommodate the full daily menu.
From a handful of bird seeds in a small feeder attracting a couple of birds to an extra-large homemade feeder serving a full a-la-carte daily menu, we now sometimes have over 20 birds at once. We never thought we could attract that many birds in the middle of a big city, but it is so rewarding and so therapeutic to watch and listen to the cacophony of sounds coming from my garden.
We haven't told the neighbours yet ;-)