Squirrel at one of my birdtables!!!
What a waste of bird food
A heartfelt plea from a read of Bird Table News who is trying to feed our garden birds —
This morning I was so angry. My new hanging bird feeder has fallen apart. I cannot take it back as I bought it about a month ago. Also I can’t remember where I bought it from. It hasn’t got any manufacturer’s name on it
I haven’t used it very often but today I filled it with birdfood, went outside to hang it up and the bottom fell off! I ask you – what on earth are manufacturers thinking of making a bird feeder that comes apart at the base. All the bird food fell from the feeder and scattered in a heap on the lawn and I knew the rooks and crows and pigeons, mice and pheasants would soon come and eat it.
What a stupid way to make a bird feeder. The base of the feeder is only clipped on. What a waste of my time and money. Who would make such a bird feeder?
I can’t use it any more.
Maybe I should try making my own.
If anyone has any methods they use to keep rain off bird food please get in touch.
I don’t use hanging bird feeders at the moment because the rain gets inside and clogs the food.
I use ground feeders of various sizes. Some bought. Some home made. I’ve covered them in different ways but nothing seems to work.
I get so fed up of rain wasting the bird food.
Any ideas welcome
HERE IS A QUESTION FROM A READER. PLEASE READ AND SEE IF YOU CAN HELP HER. SHE IS TAKING SO MUCH TIME TO FEED OUR SMALLER GARDEN BIRDS, BUT NEEDS SOME HELP AND ADVICE. IF YOU CAN GIVE HERE ANY ADVICE YOU MAY BE SAVING A BIRD’S LIFE. WOULDN’T THAT BE THE BEST THING YOU HAVE DONE TODAY
I’ve enjoyed reading everyones comments. I love watching the birds feed from my kitchen window and have several hanging feeders with fat balls, seeds (as well as ‘no grow’ mix) peanuts and sunflower hearts and a ground feeder that I put mealworms, suet pellets, grated cheese and songbird mix in and a guardian table (the small birds don’t seem to be very keen on it but the bigger birds are able to stick their heads in and eat all the food) which I fill with similar and a tube suet feeder.
This is all on my small patio!
I attract blue tits, cold tits, dunnocks, and sparrows and I have a robin that appears now and again, 2 pairs of blackbirds, a couple of thrushes, a pair of collared doves and two pairs of wood pigeons that live in a large conifer in a neighbours garden as well as around 12 starlings and also for the first time this year, a magpie (which isn’t common to this area) which has put in an appearance a few times.
My problem is that the pigeons and starlings (and magpie when it appears) snaffle all the food on the ground (especially the suet pellets) and also try hanging from the other feeders! I want to stop the starlings and pigeons stealing all the food and will often go outside to scare these birds away when the small birds aren’t feeding, but still want to cater for the blackbirds and thrushes but don’t really know what to do as the starlings are slightly smaller than the blackbirds so a large mesh guardian doesn’t seem to be the answer.
I’ve noted that some of the comments about feeding the blackbirds have mentioned putting food under bushes and the like but living in a town, the place is full of rats so I also have to put down poison making sure that it is covered enough so the birds don’t eat it. Has anyone any ideas as it’s costing me a fortune in suet pellets especially. Thank you
HERE IS MY REPLY BUT I WOULD LOVE IT IF ANYONE HAS ANY OTHER IDEAS
I know what you mean. It is nigh impossible to to feed blackbirds but not starlings. You can easily feed the smaller birds by putting the food in a wire mesh ground feeder.
One of the things I have done is get some chicken wire that comes in a roll. I make a circle with the wire and use garden canes again to keep the wire upright. I throw the food inside this meshed ‘safe haven’ bird feeder. The wire mesh is big enough to let blackbirds, thrushes and the smaller garden birds in. The pigeons, magpies, crows cannot get into this circle so they walk about outside looking in and looking very annoyed. It can be so amusing.
Here is a link to an article about another way to keep larger birds off bird food. You may not be able to do this – and it does look strange. It means you have to put garden canes round a bird table. The larger birds such as rooks, crows, pigeons cannot fly / balance to get onto the bird table. Blackbirds and smaller birds can. Unfortunately it means that starlings can get onto the bird table
Thank you for getting in touch. I have not had an internet connection for ages, because of the storms. Here’s hoping that things are sorted now, but I don’t think so as I know there is another fault on the line
During this extremely long spell of very wet & very windy weather in the UK, I have been so frustrated at the amount of wet and congealed seed which I have had to throw away when fetching my feeders in every night.
Why cannot companies such as Gardman (who’s feeders I use) design a feeder which is truly weatherproof plus easy to fill and easy to clean. Such feeders are available in the USA (although very expensive) but not in the UK.
I could easily design one myself but have no way of making it. likely to act if others echo my views. Do other bird lovers feel the same about this? Tony
This comment from Tina is in reply to a food list I published which included bread in the list.
Tina said – While agreeing with most of your food list I must take issue with the inclusion of bread. Most human food contains additives/preservatives/too much salt & white bread in particular all three while containing little or no nutritional value. It can fill crops with low energy food when they need high energy esp in cold weather.
All the qualified & experienced groups & people warn against this. If there are people out there unable to afford a mix or proper bird food they will, believe me, put out only bread thinking they have done the right thing as it’s in your list.
I replied – Hi Tina,
It would be interesting to see what other people think
Sorry its been a while but at last ive managed to catch up with bird table news again.
As you know we have too had a major problem with sparrowhawks for a few years now – in our rural garden and reading the latest readers comments and problems made me realise that the sparrow hawk population seems to be increasing still.
From our point of view I would like to pass on the following info for any one interested; so far this year (the first time for 3 years)we have not had the same amount of visits and attacks from a number of hawks. I can honestly say its been wonderful to see the huge amount of fledglings successfully reared by the following, Bull finches 6, spotted woodpecker 5 sparrows 23 at least,Starlings 30+,blackbirds15+,goldfinches 8,siskins Song Thrush 2,great tits and blue tits too many to count plus dunnocks 4 robins and 4 coal tit fledglings. Why i am writing this is because last last year at this time it was a totally different story. Lots of our birds were picked off one by one by a sparrowhawk family of 4!!!I have mentioned the problems in my previous posts.What have we done?
Well the following has happened
1-we surrounded our feeder pole with 2″X4″ wi re mesh.
2-we also put it under and intertwined in a lot of shrubs as the hawks were powering in after the birds before. This size mesh means the blackbirds,thrushes and starling size birds can also escape into cover as well as the small ones . The hawks hate it and i have witness the female particularly flapping to try and get in to no avail.
3-Ground feeder cages and feeder cages in general have helped a lot too and feeding the birds close to cover.
4We tried the owl deterrent and balloon deterrents but to no avail.
5Well, also another the thing thats happened is really amazing. There are 2 buzzards that have taken up residence in our area close to where the hawks nested. Also would you believe we also have seen 1 red kite !!!My neighbours saw it a couple of times lately too as i thought i had imagined it!! Along with the jackdaws, crows and the swallows (they are back and mobbed the hawk last year)
I hope the sparrowhawks have been driven away to a new area as we havent seen them or heard them calling at all for a few months now-touch wood!
It really was very distressing Trish as you know from my comments in the past to see the garden birds being killed.I believe that the combination of the wire etc defences in our garden and the arrival of buzzards in the area is helping to keep the hawks away. The buzzards don’t appear to come after the garden birds hopefully voles etc but my friend is a vet and lives nearby. He says the sparrow hawk in his opinion looks upon the buzzards and kite as a predator to them so has either moved on or been predidated on by them.Whatever way we are so happy to see life in the garden in great numbers again.
What I would say is the wire mesh 2″x4″ (sorry I still work in inches) has literally in our opinion been a life saver for our birds so if people with the same problems as we had want to try it I suggest they look on ebay as its so much cheaper a roll than from
garden centres and DIY outlets.
Our hawks had no fear of me at all and it really was distressing to loose our birds daily! One time last year we had 4 adult song thrushes each one picked off by the hawks.As song thrushes are on the red list I find the RSBP attitude to hawks being protected shocking!
Anyway I hope this helps some of the people with the same problems we had because it really is so sad to see the birds killed off in our own gardens.
Only time will tell how long it lasts but for now we are making the most of the abundance of bird life once again in the garden and I hope other readers are finding the same. Of course we cant invite certain species to take up residence when we want them to but for all the people that agree with the life style of the sparrow hawk I am sure there are many like myself that say about the jackdaws swallows, buzzards etc mobbing the hawks. Thats nature too!!!
Good luck and we will keep you posted and look forward to seeing other people ideas on dealing with this problem.
kind regards Bev
As you will see I received this from Bev. She has solved her longstanding struggle against the Sparrowhawk. I think she has solved a lot of other people’s problems as well. I think she has also saved the lives of a lot of songbirds. WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA. I put cane poles round one of my bird feeders, but the birds still have to fly to the feeder. Having the bird table in some shrubs (or a hedge) makes it a lot more safer for the birds. After reading this I thought of putting some wire along part of my hedge, but i would have to put it on both sides and as it’s a long hedge not sure it would work.
Thank you Bev. Lovely to hear from you again. Happy bird feeding and happy bird watching. It’s brilliant you care so much and have taken the time to sort this out. Thanks for passing it onto us. I’ll put another post on with a shortened version of what you have done
This is from an article that started it’s life in 2010. I hope the ideas have helped people who have a problem
From 2010 Ways to Stop http://birdtablenews.com/2010/03/ways-to-stop-sparrowhawk-attacks-in-gardens/
Could there be a sparrowhawk in the area? Have you seen one?
It’s strange that you have so many different types of birds missing from your garden.
Strangely, I had a woodpecker in my garden today. We have an small, old tree and it was merrilly ‘tapping’ / ‘drilling’ away at it. So it is strange that your woodpecker has gone and that the others have disappeared.
Has there been any building work nearby? I ask this because my garden was so quiet one day and all the birds had disappeared. It turned out that there was some work being done just outside the garden. The work only went on for one day so the garden birds were soon back.
Let me know if you see a sparrowhawk in the area or if there is any building work going on
I’ll put your question on Bird Table News in case anyone can think of another reason