Category Archives: Bird Feeding Problems


It’s all been worth it.  All the searching in the old sheds for ‘something’ that would keep the bird food dry during this continual snowfall has been successful.  As soon as I put bird food out it is covered by the falling snow.  This is bad for the starving birds and bad because the bird food that I have bought is wasted in the snow.


I found an old plastic box about 3 foot by 4 foot – without a lid.  I turned it on it’s side.  Now it has a floor, 2 side walls, one back wall and a ceiling.  The opening leads into this covered space.  The snow cannot fall on the birdfood.  I’ve put some birdfood inside this ‘bird shelter’ and it’s been lovely to see the blackbirds, sparrows and other birds concentrating on eating the bird food that is inside it.  It was only there a few minutes and my feathered friends were taking advantage of it.


I have lost my camera, so I cannot give you a photo to show you exactly what I mean.


I have also managed to cover my meshed ground feeder with more bits of wood, plastic and other bits of rubbish.  Now the snow cannot fall through the mesh (well not much can fall through the mesh). Again it’s been worth it because from my kitchen window I have seen a robin and some other birds I could not make out.  Again they were intent on eating the seed and peanuts.


It must help them survive the freezing nights.


It was freezing cold being out in the snow, wind and freezing weather, and at one point I wondered why I was bothering.  But I’m glad I did.


Now I’ll have to get to the shops somehow over the next few days.  Food for us, food for the dog we are looking after and food the these garden birds.


A mixed flock of birds is using my garden as a feeding area.  I see and hear so many as they fly inside or along the hedge.  When I say a ‘mixed flock’  I mean so many different birds seem to unite as one flock and work in harmony getting the bird food.  Blackbirds, blue tits, sparrows, chaffinches, starlings and many more unite together in one colourful flock.


It’s a good job I’ve been here all day today.


 Bev has some ideas for us

Hi Trish,

Just read about keeping bird food dry in wet weather and winter.

I too find it a challenge and am looking to use a few things in winter that I have done in the past few months.

For the last few months I have bought and used two large 1mtr x 1mtr greenhouse potting trays from a garden centre and one from e-bay.

  • I stand them on the ground in 2 different parts of the garden and place one mesh ground feeder in one for the large birds, jays pheasants even a duck and that seems to collect spilt food and easy to clean if theres any left at the end of the day!
    Of course I cant cover that but the large birds eat wet food and if the feeders are wet that day I tip that food in and put fresh out in dry feeders. 
    The trouble is its expensive but the food isn’t wasted. I only put it out that day as wet food isn’t good left out!
  • In the second tray I put the caged feeder in at the moment but am going to get another tray . The kids are saying we know what you want for xmas mum ! How sad am I !!
  • I have tried out the following two ideas.IDEA NUMBER ONE
    Put the tray or food on the ground (I always use a mesh tray feeder so the food drains if wet) ,then put two large garden pots one on either side and place a larger wider plank on the top high enough for blackbirds to go in but not too high for the rain to blow in too easily. This works ok if its not too windy!


Idea number two to follow tomorrow!

Bev, your’re not sad, you’re brilliant!  I’ve had so many different birds, all different sizes and colours at my bird feeders today.  It’s been like the M62 in my garden!  But I know such a lot of bird food gets wasted in bad weather.  It means the birds aren’t getting as much food and I’m wasting my money!



It’s brilliant when a problem is solved. Sandy has solved her problem this way  –

Will it help you?  Do you have pigeons eating all the bird food all the time.

Here is what Sandy said –

Hi Trish,
It works! I put the glass containing the sultanas/raisins on the lawn covered with an upside down hanging basket. The pigeons were very clever and managed to knock over the glass to get to the food, so I’ve secured the glass with tent pegs!

The pigeons poked their heads through but could not get to the food and have now given up. I’ve tried to get a photo of them trying in vain but they kept flying off, I have however got a lovely photo of the blackbird inside it, and also a very clever squirrel on a “squirrel proof feeder”! Kind regards, Sandy

It works. It keeps pigeons away

This is from a 2009 article I wrote on Bird Table News called KEEPIN PIGEONS AWAY FROM BIRD TABLES!  It’s great people are still picking up on this.


I have found it so difficult and frustrating feeding the birds in this wet weather.   


Inside the hanging bird feeders the seed gets wet at the  bottom of the feeding ports and is wasted, because it clogs together and forms firm clumps.   These clumps are no longer any good for birds to eat.


Seed that has been spoilt by rain is unhealthy for birds


This wet bird food clogs the feeder ports and is so difficult to clean.  It takes so much time to bring the feeders in on a dark evening and wash them, clean them and get them dry for the following day.Wet bird food is bad for birds  – and bad for us as well, because it means we have bought bird food just to watch it go mouldy, and then have to throw it away..


Even if Iput the hanging bird feeders in among the  branches the rain still hits the bird food and the money I put aside for buying bird food has been wasted.  But, more importanty there is no food the my garden birds


I saw a really complicated idea on a Bird Forum.  The idea was a way to keep bird food dry by using old tubs, but it was too time consuming and seemed complicated, so I haven’t tried it. 


Any ideas?


Birds will have a much better chance of surviving the winter if they don’t have to spend hours using energy searching for food – so lets feed our feathered friends!

If we get bird feeding into our minds it will be second nature to us!

A few top tips – Food and Water for our garden birds in winter.

  • UNFROZEN WATER is really essential for drinking and bathing.  Birds need to bathe in cold weather to keep their insulation in tip top condition.  A ball or a piece of wood in the water may help stop the water freezing over.
  • GRATED CHEESE on a lawn or under bushes helps many birds including wrens, dunnocks, robins, blackbirds and thrushes.
  • FRUIT – such as cut up apple helps thrushes.  Redwings will die if they cannot find fruit.
  • FAT AND SUET BARS give energy for every bird
  • SEEDS on the ground or on birdtables help many birds
  • KITCHEN SCRAPS –such as bread, stale cake, chopped bacon find will feed blackbirds, starlings and many more.
  • BIRD FOOD – any type of bought bird food will help.  There are many to choose from.

Cold weather in winter can be a killer for birds so lets FEED THE BIRDS

I’ve just bought some more  bird food.  I say it will last me a long time, but I know it won’t.


I find it so difficult to feed the birds when the snow is falling or when it is raining, or when the wind is blowing!   It wastes such a lot of bird food.  I’m going to do something this year to make things easier – I don’t know what yet though.





I’m going to use this idea of Sandy’s.  It seems a very good idea.  Thanks Sandy for taking time to tell us about it.

I think this week I may have sorted out the pigeon problem by putting sultanas/raisins in a small glass on the lawn with a hanging basket over it. 


The pigeons are very clever and keep walking around it pushing their heads through the cage but they can’t reach inside the glass and it’s driving them crazy!


 I have to wait now for the blackbird to come and see what he does…….



Let us know what happens.  I’d love to see the pigeons walking round and ‘scratching their heads’ so to speak






Pigeons and Magpies

This question from John is in response to  HOW TO KEEP PIGEONS AWAY FROM BIRD TABLES

Trisha, Like you I am inundated with pigeons and magpies which are eating all the food and keeping the smaller birds away.

I put sultanas and raisins out for the blackbirds and I have a table and a feeding station. The magpies have eaten all the fatballs and coconut suets and the pigeons have eaten everything else.

They can’t get to the food on the bird station but they stand underneath waiting for seed to drop from the feeders when the sparrows, dunnocks and bluetits come. How can I stop them on the bird station please


  • Hi John, I’ve had the same problem as you. I don’t know if you will stop birds from standing underneath a feed station.  You could put canes round the feed station – but they would have to be so close together that they couldn’t get through.
  •  One of the answers is to put the food in caged feeders. Hanging caged feeders or a ground feeder. with a ground feeder the mesh is small so only small birds can get into the feeder. The problem is that blackbirds can’t get in.

    To help the blackbirds and thrushes I’ve put some garden canes into the soil and made a small circle with these canes.  I then put some large sized wire mesh around as well.   I put bird food inside this circular, tent shaped bird feeder!  The larger birds can’t get in but the smaller ones and the blackbirds and thrushes love it. Photo to follow


    I have become abit of an anorak since retiring last summer, about the greedy crows and magpies gulping back my expensive bird food from the table/feeders.


    I have an elaborate system of string tied around the table now, which works pretty well.


    However! I have just received a BB gun I sent off for online! It was only around £25 including 500 pellets, and is pretty rubbish power and aim wise, BUT the crows/magpies seem to be getting the message. They do NOT like it!


    I (sadly!) wait inside my upstairs bedroom window, gun fully loaded, and wait……….( if I load the gun when they appear, they hear it and vamoose! Quick learners, them darn crows!) Think I hit a magpie the other day- he hopped across the garden, turned to where he had been- his face was a picture! Shock/horror! And flew off pronto. So there’s an idea for you.


    Cheap, effective, harmless……and Fun! (Oh, yes it is!) Get the rifle form- better aiming. Mine is spring loaded, no need for gas cylinder refills



    Hello Anita,
    I agree – we can waste so much money buying bird food for the garden birds only to see it eaten by crows / mapgies / rooks – and so on!

    A BB gun. I’ll have to find out more about them.

    I think that everyone who puts bird food out has a ‘bird feeding clock’ that they go by, so I can understand why you wait for them to appear.  they are birds of habit and if they know what is going to be waiting for them they should surely stop visiting you.

    Farmers use a loud ‘banger’.  I’ve forgotten the proper name for it.  It is on a timer and lets off a very loud noise every so often.  It does it automatically so it can be left without human help and automatically frightens crows and rooks away