Monthly Archives: February 2010

SHOULD WE KILL THE GREY SQUIRRELS?

Grey squirrels are vermin.  They eat baby birds and eggs.  They kill trees by gnawing through the bark and making them susceptible to infection and fungus, so in conservation areas they are often killed.

Red squirrel numbers have reduced because the grey squirrel is out-competing them.  They are larger and stronger than the red squirrel

At the moment I daily see grey squirrels in among the trees near our garden.

They are coming onto the birdtable again and roaming round the garden.   They don’t seem to show any fear and leisurely leave the garden if I appear.

It is estimated that there are three million grey squirrels in Britain.  They must cause so much damage  to the bird population – and what good do they do?

Surely if they are left to grow unchecked they will do more damage – as well as eating more bird food they will eat more bird’s eggs and kill more young birds.

Grey squirrels must reduce the number of songbirds in Britain. By killing young birds and eating eggs they must reduce the number of birds.  I have been watching a squirrel leap from branch to branch, run down a tree, run up a tree.  They do this with such ease.  How can a small songbird escape. They can’t.

If we say that one squirrel only eats one bird’s egg a year – that is 3 million birds eggs that have been destroyed.  Three million birds that will not live.

It is perfectly legal to kill grey squirels.  I believe the only law about killing grey squirrels is that if they are caught in a live trap they must be killed humanely and not released

Mmmm.  I will give it some thought

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Please Feed Fat to Birds

Guest Post – which is in reply to a comment made on BBC Breakfast site that fat should not be fed to birds. 

I would like to make a clarification in the hope that we do not confuse and therefore stop people feeding birds.

Solid lard wether bought or produced from cooking such as beef, lamb etc should be fine just remember not to leave them for days if the birds don’t consume them.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have lots of birds visiting their garden butby putting out a little fresh food each day you will see more and more birds visiting your garden/patio.

If you don’t have any bought bird food please do put out what lefovers but make sure

  • they are not left for long,
  • put them on a tray so it can be cleaning off regularly
  • and replace with fresh food stuff

If you do this  you should find you are rewarded with the sight of birds feeding regularly.

Also please don’t forget those of you who own cats please put a bell on their collar.

Cheers L

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Thanks for that.  It is really clear and useful advice. Cheers.

CHAFFINCH TRYING TO ATTRACT ATTENTION BY PECKING AT UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTARIS WINDOWS!

For the last two years we have had a male Chaffinch coming to our windows and pecking on them as if wanting to attract our attention.

Strange thing is he only pecks at a window if he can see us so if we are not in one of the downstairs rooms he flies to the upstairs windows till he finds us then starts pecking away?

If we go towards the window he flies off but comes back almost immediatley.

Have you heard of this before?

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Hi, thanks for getting in touch.  I have never, ever heard of such a thing!

I’m amazed.  This chaffinch is using it’s brain and realises that it can see you through windows.  It is following you round the house! 

I’ll never call anyone bird brain again.

Do you put bird food out.   Could it be that it is trying to attract your attention because the bird feeders are empty.  Maybe it is starving and wants food.  That is the only explanation I can think of.

Many years ago I forgot to put bird food out for two days when it was really snowing.  I was walking towards the gate and a bird was perched on top of the gate ‘spitting’ and ‘chirping’ frantically.  As I walked towards it it just kept looking at me and ‘spitting and chirping’.   That is the only way I can describe it.

I suddenly remembered I had forgotten the bird food.  I  quickly put some out and my garden was full of birds.

That is one reason I can think of.

Another reason is that for some unexplicable reason it has become attached to you and your family.

Has anyone else any ideas?

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12.75kg GUARDMAN NO MESS SEED MIX

I made a note on Bird Table News of the last time I bought some bags of bird food.  Here is the article –

THE DATE I LAST BOUGHT A 12.75 kg BAG OF BIRD FOOD

The date I last bought a 12.75kg GUARDMAN NO MESS SEED MIX – Price £15.49  was on 31st JANUARY 2010!  It is now 21st February 2010.

It has only lasted 21 days!  And I buy other bird food as well.

I thought it would have lasted longer than that.

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This Guardman No Mess Seed Mix can be fed on the ground, on birdtables and in bird feeders.  It is a useful, good quality bird food.  I suppose that is why I have used to much – I have been putting it in three places every day.

I suppose it works out at just under £1 per day.

But it still begs the question is it right that wild birds rely so much on my bird food.  Also I won’t always be able to put bird food out as I do now.

Yet on the other hand – when I see small  ‘flocks’ of a variety of birds doing aerobatics round the bird feeder and frantically pecking at this bird food on the bird table  and in the feeders I know I must be doing a bit of good. 

Seeing these birds so close together the different colours of these garden birds often amazes me.  The blue tit, the chaffinch, the robin, the sparrows, blackbird, thrush.  There is blue, white, orangy, black, brown, red, yellow (beaks) all flitting before my eyes.  They do leave a trail of colour near the bird feeders

As I live in the countryside the fields and scrub areas nearby provide a habitat for many birds.  And these birds just have to flit over the fence from the field to my garden.

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Another bag of bird food that I bought on 31st January was 

12.75kg OF NATURE’S FEAST FEEDER SUPREME.  Price £10.99
It is a seed mixture that includes sunflower, dari and millet.  It is for seed feeders.  This bird food  attracts a lot of birds including  Great Tits and Coal Tits, blackbirds, chaffinches, greenfinch, goldfinch, doves, starlings, tree sparrows and house sparrows

This bird food cannot be put in bird feeders, but I do put it on the bird table and ground feeder every day. 

I also like this bird food as it is blended to feed a lot of birds

I still have a lot of this bird food left as I don’t put it in the bird feeders.

As I’m writing this there is a chaffinch on the bird table.  It’s been there for a few minutes pecking away – now a female blackbird has taken over the bird table and a sparrow has now joined it and the chaffinch has flown away.  I wish I had my camers as  watching a sparrow and blackbird  close together  you get a good view of the exact difference in size.  It’s a bit like Little and Large

Have a good day.

GARDMAN CAMERA NEST BOX

I have never been able to afford a camera nest box as I seem to spend enough money on bird food and don’t have any left for such a luxury

If you would like to treat yourselves to a nest box that also have a camera in why not try this reasonaly prices Gardman Camera Nest Box

Gardman have a good reputation in bird food and bird care

NEST BOXES DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR

It isn’t too late to put up nest boxes in your garden.

Putting out bird food brings birds to a garden.  Putting up a nest box makes it possible for birds to breed in your garden.

It is best to buy a nest box that does not have a perch outside. Perches attract predators. As birds perch on the perch this gives a predator (cat or bird of prey) opportunity to attack the birds as it is perched outisde.

Here are two low priced yes reliable bird boxes that you can have delivered to your door.
They will give you enjoyment throughout the summer as you watch the comings and goings of birds nesting inside.

Why not give it a go?

Keeping Feeding Sites Clean

It is important to feed birds, but it is also important to realise the importance of keeping feeding areas clean to stop any chance of diseases being spread near the bird feeders.

Diseases such as trichomoniasis can kill birds and as birds gather and meet at bird tables it is important to keep these areas clean.

The disease trichomoniasis is passed to other birds  by

  • bird droppings,
  • saliva and,
  • in the breeding season, birds regurgitating food to give to their young.

Some of the signs of the disease are –

  • signs of tiredness and  birds do not fly away.
  • Plumage is puffed up
  • breathing difficulties

It is important to clean bird feeders, bird tables and make sure sites where birds feed are clean.

I pour boiling water on my two bird tables and have a scrubbing brush just for that purpose.

I clean the meshed ground feeder and any other dishes I use.

I slightly vary the places I put the bird food in the garden, so that one area is not used all the time.

I’m lucky in that I have fields and open countryside nearby and birds don’t seem to mess round about the bird feeders much.

I always make sure there isn’t any bird food left laying around.

Birds rely on the bird food we put out and it dosn’t take much to keep the areas clean.

I watched a blue tit, robin, chaffinch, sparrows and blackbirds the other day.  All within a few feet of the bird table.  How colourful they all looked so close together.