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Enjoyed by Caged & Wild BIRDS
(also the Benefits for Human use)

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Links to Weeds>> Blackberry Campions





Dandelion Common Dock Elderberry
Eucalyptus Grass (Rye) Hawksbeards Hawthorn Ivy
Lettuce Meadowsweet Mountain Ash 


Plantain (Ratstails)
Plantain (Ribwort) Privet Ragwort Shepherd's Purse Teazle
Thistle Watercress Willow w w

BLACKBERRY (Bramble)  (Rubus fruticosus)Free Animations

Some people believe that when Satan was cast out of heaven, he landed in a prickly Bramble Bush! For this reason, in some English counties, the Bramble fruits are not picked after St. Michael's Day (29 Sept)
because the Devil curses them!

  • One of the most useful fruits of early autumn.  As soon as the berries show signs of ripening - around Aug. 
    • - the native birds begin their annual feast!
  • Wild birds : Bullfinches, Hawfinches, Blackbirds and lots of other song birds relish them.
  • Most cage and Aviary birds love them, even Canaries.
  • Softbills, thrive on them.
  • Blackberries contain a medicinal property that has a marked astringent action.
  • They are an excellent stomach tonic for birds.
  • They are of great value, when ripe, as a safe colour-food.
    • To help the quality and colour of the plumage at moulting time.
  • It's rich in vit. C. (As the "Ribena" manufacturers tell us!)
  • They can frequently have fruits of 4 different stages of maturity on the same spray.
    • Green > red > red-purple > Black
  • The Blackberry bush, is often called the 'Bramble', because of the way it grows.
    • > weaving its way through other plants and trees.
  • Farmers used to plant Blackberry in amongst Hawthorn hedges. 
  • This helped to bind the Hawthorn together and make a stronger barrier.
  • The tough stems of the Blackberry are armed with hooked thorns which serve two purposes.
  • They deter grazing animals from eating them.
They also help to support the plant by latching onto other vegetation as it grows.

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CAMPIONS  (Lychnis) (11129 bytes)

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  Pink Campion                           White Campions
  • Campions are a great favourite with many of our native Finches.

  • Their seeds are greedily eaten by :

    • Bullfinches; Greenfinches; Linnets; Siskins + Canaries.

  • Campions are a close relative to the Chickweed

    • altho they are of no use as a green-food

    • The seeds have similar nutritional values as Chickweeds.

    • Their Seed Capsules are unusually large and abundant.

  • The Best known Campion and most useful is the White or Evening Campion.

    • So called becos it's pure White blossoms open and become fragrant towards dusk.

    • The White species is found in ploughed fields, where it often towers above other plants and the crop itself.

  • The Stems can reach approx 2ft high.

  • The leaves on the lower parts may be as long as 5 - 6"

  • The upper leaves are only about 3"

  • They always grow in opposite pairs.

  • They are rather narrow and pointed + hairy.

  • During the sunny part of the day the flowers often remain closed

  • They tend to open towards dusk and are even open during night-time.

  • When they have almost luminous properties.

  • The Red Campion differs only in colour.

  • Found mainly in hedge-banks and dampish woodlands.

  • There are male and female plants

  • There is very little difference to the eye

  • But only the Female plants produce the Seed

  • The Male plants merely drop away after flowering without leaving any capsules.

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CHARLOCK  (Brassica Sinapis)

  • Charlock is one of the most abundant of British Weeds.

  • It grows mainly in cornfields and ploughed land.

  • It is very closely related to the cultivated Mustard.

  • Both Charlock and Mustard seeds are very similar in their properties

  • Charlock seeds are smaller and much darker than mustard seeds.

  • The seeds are a great favourite with wild birds 

    • : Greenfinches; Linnets; Twite; Redpolls and many more.

  • Charlock seeds are good to create "heat" and therefore are beneficial during cold weather.

  • They can help keep asthma and chills and related symptoms at bay when the weather is bad.

  • The Charlock plant has branched stems

  • They reach a height of 1 - 2 ft.

  • The flowers are bright yellow and about 1 - 2" across when fully open.

  • Seed pods are approx. 2" long, Squarish or angular with an awl-shaped beak at the top.

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CHICKWEED (Stellaria Media) (26462 bytes)   

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Close-up of Chickweed Plant  

Clumps of Chickweed

  • This is a name given to many plants, some of which are not really Chickweeds at all.
  • The true CHICKWEED (Stellaria Media) is one of the very best of all our wild green-foods.
  • You may use it at any stage of it's growth-life.
  • When it is mature it is a favourite food with most hen-birds for their nestlings.
  • Almost all our British Birds love it :
    • Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Chaffinch; Bullfinch and Linnet all eat it as do Blackbirds, Skylarks and Yellow Buntings.
  • The green leaves and shoots are rich in vital vitamins & minerals, incl. iron, which are essential for good health.
  • The seeds are also edible.
  • The plant can be dried for storage.
  • Chickweed Vitamins & Minerals :
    • Vit. C : It is particularly high in ascorbic acid and mucilage properties.
    • B. Vits :  Niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1),
    • Vit A : Beta carotene
    • Minerals : magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, selenium, and silicon.
  • Medicinally, Chickweed is useful (for both Birds and Humans) as :
    • Chickweed is delicious and fresh-tasting, as a salad "vegetable" for us humans.
  • Properties include
    • A tonic, diuretic, demulcent, expectorant, and mildly laxative.
    • It's often recommended for asthma, bronchitis, or congestion.
    • It's also said to help control obesity and is an ingredient in some human herbal weight loss preparations.
    • Externally, chickweed relieves itching and inflammation and is generally soothing and moisturizing.
    • It can be used for any minor skin infections or irritations, and is an ingredient in a number of commercial skin care products.
  • Common chickweed is a very common weed.
    • It is extremely variable in its appearance, but generally it has a very slender tap root and greatly branching leafy stems, which lie along the ground.
    •  Many small, white flowers are produced; the stamens have reddish-violet anthers.
    • Chickweed is just about always flowering, except in the dead of winter.
    •  The flowers close at night and open in the morning.
    • They also close when it's about to rain.
    • Possibly they respond to changes in air pressure.
    •  It does seem that the flowers don't open at all when a low pressure system is lingering.
    • Chickweed also reacts to nightfall by folding its leaves over the growing tip to protect it.

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COLTSFOOT (Tussilago Farfara)

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  • Coltsfoot is one of the earliest of all our Spring Flowers.
  • They are about 4 inches high at first growth.
  • The yellow flowering heads are often to be seen before the end of January.
  • March is the main month of growth though.
  • Coltsfoot grows abundantly on moist and heavy soils.
  • They look like a smaller relation to the dandelion flower.
  • They differ from the Dandelion by their scaley stalks and smaller flowering heads.
  • When the flowers have withered, the heads droop down and remain in that position until the seeds are ripe.
  • They they become erect again and often grow to a foot or more in height, until finally opening into a globular ball of silvery pappus, which is eagerly sought by many birds as a lining for their nests.
  • In the photo above  we get a good comparison of the size difference between the first flower stage (4" approx) and second (seeding head stage) of growth (approx 1ft). 

  • Coltsfoot is a Food and a medicine combined  (Both Birds & Humans)

    • It is one of the finest of all natural remedies for any trace of Wheeziness or Asthma.
    • Improvement which follows its use is often fairly obvious.
    • Wild Birds seem to relish the flowering heads - esp. the Chaffinch.
    • The leaves of the coltsfoot were used as an ingredient in herbal tobacco, which was smoked as a cure for asthma. (- that's a bit of a contradiction in terms - inhaling smoke to help your breathing - don't u think?!)

    • Coltsfoot tea, sweetened with honey, was used for colds and asthma. 

    • Even the flower stocks of the coltsfoot were used to make "syrup of coltsfoot", which was recommended for treating chronic bronchitis.

    • Birds do seem to eat the stems and enjoy them.

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DANDELION : (Taraxacum vulgare)

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 Dandelion Flowering Heads The Seeding Heads or "Dandelion Clocks" Dandelion Close-up + growing on gravel 
  • The Dandelion may be found in bloom in almost any month of the year.

  • It is probably at it's best in the Spring when the leaves are young and tender.

  • It is generally conceded that the Dandelion is the best "Blood Purifier" in Nature's medicine Chest.


There is hardly a finer tonic for your Birds, 
amongst all our English weeds. 
Here's a pair of Fife Canaries enjoying young Dandelion leaves,
with bits of Fresh, young, Spring Grass mixed in
                                                       Click on picture to enlarge >>>

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  • Birds Love these parts of the Dandelion : 

    • Leaves, flowers. 

    • and the seeding heads before they open out into the "Dandelion Clock" 

    • To Feed : part the closed Seeding Head and if the seeds are dark brown. 

    • - cut off the white fluffy end bit .

    • Push the dandelion head, with the ripe seeds in between the bars of your Birds' cage.

  • Canaries, in particular, love these seeds (fed as above) and they are very good for them.

  • Not many people realize there are, in fact, over 300 similar "Dandelion-like" plants 
    growing wild in this country.

  • The True Dandelion (as pictured above) is the only one, which has all the wonderful nutritional and medicinal properties which are attributed to it.

The TRUE DANDELION's  Description:

  • It has the familiar Yellow fronded flowering head.

  • A dandelion flower head consists of many tiny flowers.

  • It grows singly at the tops of bare and un-branched stalks.

  • Each stalk is smooth and shiny

  • It is always hollow.

  • It exudes a bitterish milky juice as soon as the stem is broken.

  • The leaves always have the familiar backward-pointing lobes.

  • it reproduces asexually

    Below are examples of plants that look like true dandelions but do not conform to the description above.

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    Dandys.fat.sml.jpg (39109 bytes)

    These 2 pseudo"Dandelions"have 3+flowering heads each on fat stems  (click to enlarge pictures)

It is important to remember that those Dandelion-like weeds which bear 2 or more flower-heads on a single or branched stalk, are NEVER proper Dandelions, no matter how much they may resemble them!

Similar plants are the Hawkweeds, Hawkbit and Hawks-beard families.

  •  - all the seeding heads, off the above Hawk.....  plants, are relished by birds 
    but don't have the medicinal properties the true Dandelion possesses.

  • Dandelions' Medicinal  & Nutritional Properties for both Birds and Humans:

    • The leaves are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and iron
    • Carrying more iron and calcium than spinach
    • Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine
    • The recipe usually contains citrus fruit
    • Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. 
    • Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute. 
    • Drunk before meals, it is believed to stimulate digestive functions.
    • Sold in most health food stores, often in a mixture, it is considered an excellent cleansing tonic
      for the liver.


  • Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold as a diuretic 
    • (i.e. it relieves water retention - swollen ankles etc.)
    • It helps to keep the kidneys in good working order.
  • A leaf decoction can be drunk to "purify the blood" 
    • for the treatment of anemia, jaundice, and also for nervousness. 
  • The milk is also applied to warts, 
    • helping get rid of them without damaging the surrounding skin. 
  • The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent.
  • A dye can also be obtained from the roots of the plant. 
  • "Dandelion and Burdock" is a popular soft drink.

COMMON DOCK (Curled) : (Rumex Crispus)

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Ripe Head Green Dock seeds Ripening Seed Heads Well-ripened seeding head.
  • This is one of the very worst weeds for the British Farmer to try and eradicate.

  • But what is the Farmer's Pest is loved by most birds.

  • Wild Birds come from far and wide to enjoy feasts of the Dock Seed  -  The Bullfinch in particular.

  • Most Cage birds inc. Canaries and most Finches relish the Dock Seeds.

  • Some Breeders claim that no other seed has such a good effect upon the plumage.

  • The Dock seeds contain quite a high percentage of oils.

  • This makes it a good Winter food for maintaining condition and helping to prevent chills.

  • Even though the seeds seem to have a high oil content they tend not to cause undue fatness.

  • In fact, the effect seems to be the reverse.

  • The bowels are kept in such a healthy condition that there is no obvious accumulation of fat.

  • For this reason, the Dock seed has often been used as an aid to help correct obesity.

  • This oil also serves as an internal lubricant and helps keeps the digestive tract in order.

  • The Dock seed is easy to gather in quantity.

  • The seeding heads can be dried, just as they are, to be fed throughout winter.

  • Plants are tall and have strong stems, which are difficult to cut/strim thru.

  • The only way the land-owner can get rid of the Dock is to spray with a strong systemic Weed killer, which is absorbed into the root-system and kills the whole plant.


  • Parrot-like birds, inc. Budgies and other small parakeets love Eucalyptus leaves

  • Galahs use them in the wild to line their Nests. 

  • The leaves contain a natural insecticidal deterrent. 

  • They are supposed to help deter mites and mice!


  • A Willow cutting can grow massively over a short period of time.  

  • Most birds love these leaves. 

  • and enjoy stripping the bark off the twiglets the leaves grow on.

  • Esp. in early spring when the buds, new leaves and baby catkins are starting to develop.

  • They will also strip and chew the fine stems/branches that you put in with them. 

  • Willow contains “Salicylic acid” which is the main ingredient in Aspirin 

  • — so it has medicinal properties. 

  • If you have room in your garden, you can strike a Willow cutting very easily,

    • by breaking a piece off the desired tree (approx 1” diameter is ideal) 

    • then plant the cut end 3 — 4” into the soil. 

    • It should strike and start to grow by spring but beware, 

    • they do grow alarmingly quickly.

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