Monthly Archives: October 2011


I live in N. Dorset and I too have noticed fewer Swallows this year. 

We have had them nest every year in our car-port but the very hot summers have caused problems and this year I don’t think any survived from 2 hatchings.

They built their nest high in the roof where it got extremely hot and the chicks fell from the nest, several not surviving; some persevered after we put them back lower down in the roof where there was more ventilation but ultimately I think it’s the extreme heat that is causing the problems. 

Maybe they are going further north to nest.  We had House-Martins last year (2010) the chicks that I saved after their nest fell off the wall the year before (2009); that was very satisfying but they did not return this year.  I feel sure the extreme heat is to blame and they are searching out cooler regions.


Thank you for sending these details.  I think of climate change as being more a worldwide problem, I never think that local weather changes could have an impact on birds.  But of course it can.



Hi Trisha, 

does anyone recommend the use of an adjustable caged ground table feeder to keep predators and the like out?

I just wondered if the birds inside would panic and not fly out easily if threatened by a hawk etc. I am thinking of purchasing one thats adjustable to let thrushes etc in but not bigger birds such as the pigeons but don’t know anyone who has or is using one at the moment. Any help will be much appreciated.


Hi,  I find ground caged bird feeders really useful.  I’ve had one for years. 

In winter I put a ‘cover’ over the cage and that keeps the snow and rain off the food inside.  My garden birds have their own little igloo!

My problem is that blackbirds cannot get into bird feeders.  I like blackbirds and have a few in the garden hopping about.  To solve that problem I’ve put some canes in a small circle and then put wire round the outside of the canes.  I put bird food inside this cane circle.  The canes get narrow at the top and this means that all types of birds, including blackbirds, can fly in and get the food from the top.  Pigeons cannot get through the wire and they don’t have the sense to figure out a way to get in from the top.  Blackbird problem solved!

I now have my camera back in action – so photos to follow

Cheers for getting in touch

Has anyone else got any tips and advice?



Sparrowhawk attacks – I’m hunting for ways to stop these attacks also. I’ve read all your posts here and I’m feeling a bit deflated, but will not rest until I find the right solution!

I’ll try not to bore you all – Yesterday I opened my patio door for the cat to go out and straight away a greenfinch landed on the ground, fluffed it’s feathers-up and went to sleep. Needless to say I shut the door and kept the cat in.

I watched the bird a while and it was very happy. A young one. It woke up a little bit later and had a swim, a drink and some food and then left. Today it came back. It was happily drinking from the bird bath. A big bird swooped in. Immediately I thought it was a clumsy wood pigeon.

Of course it turned out to be a sparrowhawk and as far as I can tell it got the young bird. The young one was so dopey it would be very unlikely to have got away. Such a waste of a happy little soul.

Like a previous said about the number of birds they used to have – we used to have 50+ tree sparrows every day, feeding, bathing and drinking. Amongst others like the tits and finches. Now we’re lucky to 10 of any variety.

I’m wondering if I just stop encouraging the birds to come to our garden for a while and stop feeding them …



Hi Ashley,   It is a problem when sparrowhawks descend on a garden.  I think there are more around than there used to be.

I don’t know what to say about stopping feeding the garden birds for a while.  It would stop them visiting your garden and so save them from the attacks. But would the sparrowhawk attack them somewhere else?

What with cats, hawks and freezing winters where food is scarce – our garden birds do well to survive

Have you thought of this Hawk Deterrant Balloon.  Here is the link –

 We’d love to know how you get on with this problem.


Hi, I also have the sparrowhawk problem in a medium sized garden in chorley lancs. I was congratulating myself that we had only lost one bird(sparrow) this year until we lost three more in the last week or so.

My problem is that I have a flock of 40 odd sparrows and another of 20 odd goldfinches. Along with a few tits that makes for a noisy garden and inevitably attracts the sparrowhawk.

For a number of years I have used plastic garden mesh, 50mm hole size, on trellis’ around the feeders. Have seen the hawks splat themselves a couple of times on this. I also use a circle of the mesh around the feeder, hung from an inverted metal hanging basket.Until now this has worked a treat and I have witnessed numerous unsucessful attacks, in one case four in a couple of hours. My feeders are near to thorny cover.

However I am considering building a large cage of plastic mesh in the bushes at the back of the border and putting the feeders inside it. At least then the birds wont be caught napping. I havnt tried canes but it seems a good idea. As does spreading the feeders out. Any good ideas anybody esle has I would love to know. Regards billm


Hi Bill,

thanks for getting in touch.

First of all here is a link to Song Bird Survival  They are trying to save songbirds and are doing a lot of work.

I think it’s right what you say about a noisy garden. I hadn’t thought of it before.  Of course sparrowhawks will be attracted by bird song.  I also have a lot of noisy birds in my garden.

the problem is that no matter how many bird feeders you try to make safe – the birds still have to fly to and from the feeders.  I think your ideas and what you are doing are great.  You deserve a medal.  Maybe we all deserve medals!

At the moment I have stuck canes into the ground and put old boxes etc round the canes to fill in the gaps between the canes.  The only way the garden birds can get in is through the top.  this makes the area safe when they are feeding on the  bird food and also means that blackbirds can get in to get at the bird food.  This seems to be similar to your plastic mesh idea.  As you say at least the birds won’t be caught napping when they are feeding

There is also the idea of balloons to keep sparrowhawks away

Here is the link

and here is a photo


Thank you for getting in touch.  I’ll be writing more about this, but have to go and feed the birds now

Bev, thanks for reminding me about the Hawk deterrant balloons



Autumn and winter are  approaching fast which got me thinking how much bird seed I have lost over the years in windy weather.

Not only is it expensive but the seeds get every where causing weeds to grow.

Thinking cap on and I thought in places with earthquakes and hurricanes tall buildings have a large weight which can swing when the buildings sway in bad conditions which counter acts the sway.
So a simple question can it help with swinging bird feeders.
I looked at my Niger seed feeder which seems to be the one that losses most I found a small drain hole on the bottom in the centre. Through this I put some plastic coated wire and hung a couple of fat balls tied to bottom of the wire.(please see attached photo).
It seems to work and I don’t lose much seed so a simple trick that may help other people.
It’s not foolproof  maybe other people have a better idea they may want to share