RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH

  
This week we were asked if we would like to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch & help nature find a home in our garden…

We love all things nature and couldn’t wait to get involved so we signed up.  

  We received a pack from the RSPB with all we needed to know about getting involved which was full of fun information on how we could simply turn our garden into a haven for birds. (In addition we also received some ingredients to help us create our haven-these can be purchased via the RSPB website)

We decided we were going to make a birdcafe and fill it with some fatballs following the easy  instructions to temp the birds.   

The kids soon got to work researching how to make them with a fab Guide.. 

 They were really easy to make… 

 Everybody got involved… 
 we popped out fatballs in the fridge to set.. 

 …and we cracked on with making our bird cafe sign to let the birds know we were open! We used cardboard and some permanent marker pens for our sign. 
 we filled a bird feeder with feeder mix to hang in our cafe… 

 and made some binoculars with toilet tubes to help us with spotting our feathered friends.. 

 we also made our own handy bird spotting guide. 

 After a bit more research on the  RSPB website we hung our bird feeder up in a quite spot in the garden amongst some bushes where the birds were most likely to visit.. 

   and we attached our cafe sign so birds knew it was open! 
 Then we just had to wait and watch…Our binoculars came in handy. 

 It wasn’t long before our customers started arriving…

Our first customer was a Robin!… 

 shortly followed by lots more.. 

 We used our handy spotter guides to identify them and logged them with our stickers..

 We also hung our fatballs up and waited and waited…

We had some birds visit that hung about in the bushes for a while.. 

 and some perched on some logs.. 

 None of our feathered customers seemed to want our fatballs….and then, finally, we had a fab customer!!! 

 
We had so much fun getting involved in The Big Garden Birdwatch and are looking forward to lots more birdy customers booking into our cafe during the Big Birdwatch weekend! 

More than half a million people from across the UK are set to take part by counting the birds in their gardens over the weekend of 30-31 January, 2016. They’ll also make a record of the other wildlife they see throughout the year, providing a vital snapshot of UK nature…

You too can play your part in giving nature a home this spring, why not get involved and Feed the birds!.

Find more RSPB Family activities here.

How to make birdcakes here.

Order a pack here.

You can also follow more of our family fun both indoors & out on our Facebook page.

RSPB BIG WILD SLEEPOUT

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This week Family Days were contacted by the RSPB…which is fantastic to of been thought of.
We were asked if we would do a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ specifically for the RSPB & post how we got on. We accepted this with pleasure….Eeeeeek.

We were not given any specific guidelines or needs, the only ask was that we have a ‘Big Wild Sleepout’…. So, how we did this, was entirely up to us.

Apart from checking what I was getting myself into I didn’t do much homework for the job, but it was decided that it should signify a lovely time that is achievable, affordable & reasonably effortless & something that would show what we have under our noses when we think about it a little…
I could of chosen the location as the mountains, a field or wood, or just generally somewhere beautiful but I wanted to show what can be done in your own back garden and more so to the point in a small back garden with limited shrubbery & astro turf…wildlife is everywhere, & here at FD we are no strangers to making use of our surroundings whatever they may be we always find nature.
I didn’t weigh too heavily on my plans of what we were going to do and wanted to keep it simple but very effective both in memories, a little educating & the adventure….. our ultimate goal was family fun.

Initially I decided to throw up the pop up tent but after putting more thought into it I also wanted to show that you actually don’t need a tent….. We used the kitchen table to show versatility and fun in den building but also at the same time used it as a tool to open discussion with the kids about animal homes, our kitchen table then became a ‘snug as a bug lair’…..(the table, a curtain thrown over, an air bed underneath, cushions & blankies)….we did throw a pop up tent next to it as rain was forecast for the early hours of the morning….our kitchen table tent was by no means waterproof.

We used a sheet blacked out with paint just leaving a moon which we hung on the washing line to become a ‘moth attractor’, it also doubled up to play a game of shadow charades and dancing in the moonlight… I painted this myself purely to save on time because our sleepover was on a school day……A simple sheet hanging & backlit by a window was so much fun, versatile and mega effective once it got dark but also great in the sunshine!
We made a Moth restaurant using a water filled milk carton and a torch, we watered down treacle for the moths to sup on but you can make a really delicious treat for them with a moth food recipe and make your restaurant a’la carte (Details on the RSPB website)…we also hung jars in the trees with battery operated tea lights inside to attract the moths, you could spend more time decorating these.
We made some simple bird feeders by hanging pretty porcelain cups from the charity shop with string in trees and filling with bird seed or water, we went on a twilight & nocturnal bug hunt, read stories & chilled. The smallest members of the family were fooled into thinking an owl was in the garden whilst mr FD stood outside the tent throwing his voice with owl hooting hands.

For food we cooked pop corn inbetween two sieves over the fire using kernels and had the obligatory cheese and pineapple hedgehog….. along with a takeaway curry 🙂

It was a good evening, everyone went to sleep and the rain came around 3 in the morning, this didn’t really bother them much as they were all still sleeping like babies but the kitchen table tent was not designed as a boat and feet were sticking out of the end too so I woke them up and moved them to the living room inside.

After a couple of hours kip I relocated the pop up tent into the living room in time for them to crawl back into when they awoke to eat breakfast.

As part of our ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ we’d intended to go for a walk as the sun came up to watch everything around us waking up & enjoy the dawn chorus. As there was no sun to keep us company we plan to do this when the sun returns.

We would like to thank the RSPB for contacting us & we hope they enjoy our FD Big Wild Sleepout as much as we did….

We would very much appreciate to hear any thoughts, comments or views you have regarding our camp out, and I’m sure if the RSPB are sat on the sidelines they would like to see what you guys think too.

That’s our exciting news, & is certainly a step in the right direction for us and makes us feel proud that we’ve had the opportunity to inspire more people with our grasping what’s around you & making simplicity magical ethos.

Sleep outs rock, raining, cricks in the neck, slugs and all…

Anyway…here’s how we got on…20140607-201101.jpg20140607-201114.jpg20140607-201124.jpg20140607-201134.jpg20140607-201146.jpg20140607-201201.jpg20140607-201215.jpg20140607-201224.jpg20140607-201237.jpg20140607-201244.jpg20140607-201252.jpg20140607-201318.jpg20140607-201332.jpg20140607-201343.jpg20140607-201353.jpg20140607-201415.jpg20140607-201425.jpg
After our bug hunt we made our tea cup bird feeders..20140607-201558.jpgAnd then gave the popcorn a go..20140607-201630.jpg20140607-201637.jpg20140607-201651.jpg20140607-201657.jpg
Mila read wildlife stories to the dinosaurs..20140607-201805.jpg
20140607-201855.jpgThen we had tea in our snug as a bug lair..20140607-201943.jpg
We put out our moth attractors20140607-202025.jpg20140607-202107.jpg20140607-202114.jpgInvestigated a rustling in the bushes..20140607-202223.jpg
Once it started to get dark we played shadow charades..20140607-202421.jpg

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After playing charades it was time to with hot chocolate..

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Before climbing into our outside lairs to settle down..

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We had loads of fun and can’t wait to do it again!

The RSPB Big Wild Sleepout takes place from the 16-22 June & anyone can get involved. #BigWildSleepout
Find more info at http://www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/sleepout/