Monthly Archives: May 2009

Covered Ground Bird Feeder – Product Review

Welcome to my product review of a covered ground bird feeder.

THE MESHED GROUND FEEDER

Ground feeding birds are often forgotten.  How many times do you see thrushes, blackbirds on a hanging feeders.  The meshed ground feeder is usually a good way to feed thrushes and blackbirds.

Covered  Ground Bird  Feeders  also give small birds like the chaffinch, robin, blue tit protection from predators including cats and sparrowhawks. 

The cage keeps the larger birds and squirrels off the bird food.  

MESHED GROUND BIRD FEEDER REVIEW

This meshed ground feeder is in two parts.

  • The meshed cover comes as a flat pack.  It is easy to assemble. 
  • The wooden tray with a wire mesh comes complete.
Ground feeder for garden birds

Ground feeder for garden birds

THE WOODEN FRAME WITH A WIRE TRAY  – Measurements:  41cm x 33cm.   12.5 cm high.  It has 8 cm ground clearance.

WIRE MESH CAGE

The secure cage has

  • adjustable mesh sizes
    Allowing the ability to alter the mesh when bird feeding
  • If you want to measure the actual size of the gap in the mesh here is a guide to the sizes of gap needed to keep out pests –
    48mm gap keeps out cats and pigeons
    40mm gap keeps out starlings
    34mm gap keeps out adult grey squirrels
    29mm gap keeps out young grey squirrels.
  • a hinged door
    I have found this useful.  Thrushes and blackbirds couldn’t get through the mesh.  I tied the door open slightly with some string and these birds found their way in.
Meshed ground feeder

Meshed ground feeder

This feeder is BTO and BSA approved

  The birds are  attracted to this feeder  all year round, but in winter I made a special effort  to keep an assortment of food on the tray.

WINTER
Last winter this feeder was invaluable.  It was always a hive of activity during daylight hours

 

SPRING
I bought this feeder in May 2007 and a variety of birds have used it every day.

The first visitor to the meshed ground feeder in May 2007 (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  

Very first visitor

Very first visitor

I cannot leave the cage door open too much because larger birds were getting in.  

I altered the mesh and also  the door. The cage now allows the smaller birds to feed in safety.

SUMMER AND AUTUMN
I use this bird feeder all year round.

PROS AND CONS – LOOKING AFTER THE BIRD FEEDER.
This feeder is out in all weathers.  In winter, if I can I bring the feeder tray into the back porch on an night.  It keeps the tray clean and dry. 

I have given the wood tray a coat of clear varnish to protect the wood from the rain, sleet and snow it has to put up with

It is easy to clean the wire mesh tray with water.  This is sometimes needed if rain has ‘gunged’ the bird food on the tray, or if it the wire mesh just needs a general cleaning.  The wire mesh allows the rain to fall through.

This is a good bird feeder and a little care means it will last me years.

WHICH BIRDS CAN GET INTO THE MESHED FEEDER
In my garden I have a problem with larger birds getting all the bird food. 

At the moment if I open the mesh too wide or leave the feeder door open a little then starlings, pigeons, moorhens and even farm hens try and get the food.  This would leave  the smaller garden birds such as the wren, blue tit, sparrow and robin without any food. You may not have this problem.

So at the moment I have to keep the wire mesh small and the door closed to keep out the larger birds.  Unfortunately this means the blackbirds and thrushes cannot get in. 

I like feeding thrushes and blackbird. It’s annoying that because of larger aggressive birds it’s difficult to feed them.  Blackbirds and thrushes come every day. 

I try and get round this problem (which has nothing to do with the bird feeder) by –

  • Leaving the meshed door open for part of the afternoon.  I find the larger birds come early morning
  • Putting grated cheese and other food under a bush nearby
  • Throwing waste water on a patch of ground ( to help them get worms if the ground is hard)

 NOTE: I think the arrival in my garden or rooks, crows, ravens, pigeons is something that is happening all over the country.

SQUIRRELS
This feeder certainly keeps squirrels off the food.  My daughter and her friend watched a grey squirrel trying to get into this feeder.  It found the weak link – the string keeping the door closed.  It could not manage to get in though.  They said it looked funny walking round.  (They never thought to take a photo).

SUMMARY

This ground feeder is very useful and versatile.  You can have the mesh and the door open differently to suit the type of bird that is visiting your garden

With a little care the feeder will last a number of years.  I have had mine since 2007 and have used it every day.

The ground feeder attracts a lot of birds and gives them a safe place to feed.

 If you are interested in the ground feeder tray click on this link Soar Mill Seeds.  After you have clicked the link type in Ground Feeder Tray into the Search tab.

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Click here for the –

ADJUSTABLE GROUND SECURE SAFE CAGE

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Click here for the – GROUND FEEDER TRAY

The above items are sold by Soar Mill Seeds

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 There is a choice of meshed feeders.    

GARDEN BIRD SUPPLIES OFFER A  

CHOICE GROUND SANCTUARY

Do you have any comments you want to add?  Please let me know.

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Sparrow taking over a nest that has young robins in

A Robin built a nest under my eaves through this spring.
I watched her sit on them and apparently they hatched as I found blue egg shell in the garden beneath. 
However, today…a male sparrow has taken over the nest and appears to be picking at something in the next or taking food out of the baby birds’ mouths. 
I can’t tell what’s going on. 
He sits on the edge of the next chirping away.  He flies to a fro the nest. 

What do you make of this?
Also…I haven’t seen the Robin come to her next in a couple of days.

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I received the above question the other day.  What do you make of this?

 Here are two other times when sparrows seem to have thrown other birds out of nests. Click on these links if you would like to read about it.

 SPARROW EVICTING A MARTIN

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SPARROWS PLOTTING

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 Here is my reply to the comment :

Thank you for sending this.  I will do an article about it.  I have a reader called Jennie who has told me about sparrows sabotaging a nesting box that had wrens in it!  It is on birdtable news on 29th April.
There is also a story from 1912(!) about sparrows evicting a martin from it’s nest.  That is on my blog dated 31 March 2009. 
I have never heard of such a think until I started birdtablenews.  From what you saw and what Jeannie and the 1912 Gent saw it does seemthat sparrows can get nasty sometimes.  Maybe it is when food is scarce – I don’t know, but will see if I can find out more.
Birds do attack other birds.  Sparrowhawks eat sparrows and other birds, maybe this is a continuation.  I do not know I am only jumping to this conclusion because of my other notes.  Trisha from Bird Table News

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Please contact me if you can think of a reason for the above, or if you have have heard of robins being aggressive with other bird’s nests – or robins being aggressive at all.  I’d love to hear. Trisha

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Short Video sent to BBC Springwatch!

I’ve managed to upload this clip to the BBC Programme SpringWatch!! It’s brilliant being able to join in with Spring Watch. 

I know this short video  of mine will be one of millions that SpringWatch receive and I know it is not the best by a long, long way, but it’s my video and as I said, it’s brilliant to be a tiny part of Springwatch.

I’ve seen a rook eating a blackbird so no wonder this blackbird seems a little wary. I love the close up (near the end of this video )of the blackbird’s face showing its yellow eye ring and beak. I’m sure it looks a bit nervous.

Have you seen a white tailed bird like this

CLICK HERE TO SEE A PHOTOGRAPH OF A WHITE TAILED BLACKBIRD

 

Below is the link to my new Bird Table News Forum.  I have just started it so we can chat birds, bird care and bird feeding

Bird feeding and bird watching can be a solitary hobby so we can get together here – from all over the world and chat.

http://birdtablenews.com/forums/

Caged Bird Feeders For Sale

Caged Bird Feeders are a brilliant way to keep large birds like pigeons and rooks of bird food.

Pigeons and rooks can so often take over the bird feeders and the smaller garden birds don’t get a look in so Caged Feeders can provide part of the solution.

Here are two ways to keep large birds away from bird food –

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Banqueting Hall and Round Sanctuary Bird Feeder

This can be used as a hanging feeder or a ground feeder

Banqueting Hall and Round Sanctuary

To buy now or to find our more click this link  

Banqueting Hall and Round Sanctuary Bird Feeder

 

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Choice Ground Guard

Has adjustable mesh andcan be secured to the ground

Choice Ground Guard

To buy now or find our more click this link – 

Choice Ground Guard

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Both these feeders are sold by Garden Bird Supplies

I have bought different types of bird food and bird feeders from Garden Bird Supplies over the years and they have always given good quality service

Chris Packham, Co-Presenter of the BBC programme Springwatch recommends and works in conjunction with Garden Bird Supplies.

Dew Pond

We have been repairing a Dew Pond

A Dew Pond gather its water from rain, mist and dew  but there is also a certain mystery about as to why Dew Ponds  never dry up even in the dryest weather.

The Yorkshire Wolds is chalk based and water seeps through the chalk so providing water for livestock was difficult.  THIS IS IN THE TIME BEFORE MAINS WATER WHEN VILLAGES AND FARMS HAD A WATER PUMP.

So dew ponds were built on the Wolds to water livestock. Without dewponds livestock would not have been able to graze for as long on the Wolds. 

Dew Pond being cared for

Dew Pond being cared for

This Dew Pond in the photo abvoe was so overgown by plants and full of mud it had to be cleaned out.  This was a big  job.  I so wish I had taken a photograph of how it was before it was cleaned, but the photo shows the Dew Pond nearly cleaned out.

I was always told that a dew pond was built where 4 fields met.  They were built so that livestock from 4 fields could use the same dew pond.  How clever is that?

I would love to know more about the people who built  dewponds.

I don’t even know when this dew pond was built, but a lot of knowledge has gone into building it. 

By building a dew pond and lining it with clay the men who built it knew that the water gathered in the clay lined dew pond and would not seep away as it would in a chalk based pond. 

Here is a photograph of the original clay base that was put there many, many years ago, by who we don’t know.  But as I say a lot of knowledge has gone into building this Dew Pond.  This picture of the original clay base is very rare as Dew Ponds are, of course, usually full of water

Clay Base of an old Dew Pond

Clay Base of an old Dew Pond

Other names for dew ponds are 

  • ‘Sheep Ponds’ or ‘
  • Ship ponds’
  • in the Sussex dialect.
  •  ‘Mist Ponds’, ‘
  • Fog Ponds’.

This dewpond became full of mud and choked with overgrown plants.

We knew it would be fatal to the pond if we pierced the clay lining as the water would seep through the Wolds chalk and away into caverns deep underground
 
It took a lot of time and effort over two or three weekends to clean out this pond.  I was going to help, but nearly slipped in the mud so gave up before I started as I knew they would be better off without me.

A lot of the work was done by bucket and shovel!

Can you see the tools used

Can you see the tools used

Royal al Commission on Historic Monuments Dewpond:- A shallow pond, often artificial, fed by the condensation of water from the air, occurring on high land which has no other adequate water supply

At the moment it is so good to see clear water in the dew pond and see it is not choked by plants any more

Hard work done - Dew Pond  Refreshed

Hard work done - Dew Pond Refreshed

 

This Dew Pond is home to a lot of wildlife.  We get ducks landing, stopping and taking off again.  They waddle from the pond to the field without a care in the world.  There is sometimes a rustle in the undergrowth as you walk by.  

This dew pond is not used at all for stock now.  It was ‘repaired’ for the benefit of wildlife only So farmers aren’t all that bad are they?

Please contact me if you have any more information about these magical and mystical dew ponds. I would like to put together any information I can get including photographs and any knowledge on what does make a dewpond.  

Please remember the country code and if the dewpond is on Private Land please do not trespass or disturb livestock.

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Corn on the Wolds 15th May

Growing Corn - 15th May

Growing Corn - 15th May

If you compare the two photos you can see  in the photo above how the corn is changing colour and the heads of corn are coming.
Field of corn 4th May

Field of corn 4th May

In the photo  above of 4th May the corn is still green and ‘grass’ like, as the seasons progress it will become the golden field of corn that we all recognise.
We all depend on the seasons and the harvest of crops . 
We are the same as birds and wild animals in that respect
We are lucky we can save time and get a ready made meal, but in the first place this ready made meal had to be grown by a farmer.
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The two photos below show  Early April 2009 and  15th May 2009
Early April 2009

Early April 2009

14th May 2009
Our future food on 15 May 2009

Our future food on 15 May 2009

It’s great that the countryside is lush and green – sorry there aren’t any birds in these photos.  There were plenty of birds flitting about and singing when I took the photos though.

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