Bird feeding has gone bananas

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By Mick Jensen

There are bananas hanging from trees at Paulette Clark’s house, and the birds love them.

The Allenton resident is doing her bit to feed birds like fantails, waxeyes, chaffinches and even tuis over winter.

Bellbirds are a bit more choosy who they eat with and feast in the back garden.

Paulette buys discounted bananas, part peels them and hangs them out for the birds to snack on.

Some 60 fresh bananas were hanging when The Ashburton Courier called, making for an unexpected sight in suburban Ashburton.

While the birds come fluttering down to enjoy the fruit and to supplement their diet, they are watched by some of Paulette’s cats.

The cats climb the short trees and sit bemused.

Paulette’s been feeding birds for 65 of her 78 years and usually concocts lard, fruit,and oat meal balls.

“We need birds and bees and butterflies and my garden is friendly for all of them,” she said.

A volunteer at Mid Canterbury Animal Welfare Centre for the last six years, Paulette also loves her cats and dogs.

She has six cats and a dog and other regular feline visitors.

A cat named Teddy was born just two minutes after her own birth, and was a close companion in Paulette’s younger years.

In the aftermath of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, her beloved puss AJ went missing for 17 days, but eventually turned up alive.

“AJ hasn’t slept indoors since and that’s why I’ve set up the covered outdoor sleeping area as an option for my cats.”

Another stray kitten from Christchurch adopted by Paulette also likes to sleep outside on one of the two sheepskin beds that are well protected from the elements.

“I’ve always been around animals and I always will.”