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Does anyone feed birds in the garden? Advice needed.

17 replies

Tunt · 02/06/2019 14:59

I’ve got very into it. I have a nyjer seed feeder, a fatball feeder, a seed mix and a mealworm mix hanging up. Getting lots of lovely birds coming. Blackbirds were nesting in the hedge but the magpies have had all the eggs today ☹️ so I’m thinking about putting up bird boxes. Should they be away from the feeders? Is it worth putting them in the hedges? What are the best types/spots for them to avoid magpies? Any advice or specific recommendations would be really appreciated x

OP posts:
grupple · 02/06/2019 15:06

On a tree trunk, quite high, facing North always worked for me, not too close the feeders.

floraloctopus · 02/06/2019 15:24

We have ones made of some kind of woven material, we hang them in the hedge and bluetits and blackbirds use them.

GarethSouthgatesWaistcoat · 02/06/2019 16:52

Get ones with the metal plaque/ring protecting the entrance so predators can't work their way in. The metal bits can be bought separately from the RSPB or on ebay to allow access for small birds (surprisingly small hole!)

GarethSouthgatesWaistcoat · 02/06/2019 16:54
GarethSouthgatesWaistcoat · 02/06/2019 17:01

The RSPB nest box plates are a bit expensive with p&p. You can find them more cheaply on ebay. Check the hole diameter against my previous RSPB link for the size of bird you're trying to attract.

steppemum · 02/06/2019 17:02

away from feeders.

Also, different birds have different needs, so ones with a small round hole are more likely to be used by blue/great tits, and ones with a slit just under the roof by some other bird which I now can't remember.

Not sure a blackbird will use a bird box though.

Allyg1185 · 02/06/2019 17:25

We have a bird box on our wall. The blue tits have nested this year. It's not to far from the food. We put out peanuts, seed mix, fat balls and mealworm all year round

ChristineBaskets · 02/06/2019 17:43

We have a sparrow terrace (a bird box with three chambers, because apparently house sparrows like to nest together) on our wall. The first year nothing used it, then for a couple of years blue tits used one of the chambers, and this year for the first time a pair of sparrows are using it! I'm happy because house sparrows are endangered, although you wouldn't know it to look at our fat ball feeders!

We put out fat balls (never in netting as birds can become trapped in it), suet pellets, niger seed, sunflower hearts, mealworms and mixed seed. Never bread. We leave our garden mostly wild to encourage insects and don't have much hard surface such as slabs and decking or - shudder - AstroTurf.

I love watching the birds and feeling that they exist in part because I feed them. Smile

Cakecrumbsinmybra · 02/06/2019 22:30

If you look up a blackbird box you’ll see that a magpie could still get in them. I just think it’s going to happen and the blackbirds need to work out where they are safest. They have several broods per year so maybe the next ones will be luckier! We have a bird box that blue tits use - it’s just on the back fence at eye level which is great for spotting little chicks popping up to the hole every now and then!

We have so many birds now - blue tits, goldfinches, greenfinches and sparrows mainly.

ChristineBaskets · 04/06/2019 09:24

Where do you all buy your bird food? I get mine from Home Bargains or Wilko but my birds are getting through so much that I'm wondering if buying in bulk from elsewhere might be cheaper. Also I had a problem caused by buying cheap (cheep?) bird seed whereby my bird table began to resemble a small lawn due to all the grass seed in it.

grupple · 04/06/2019 17:13

Christine I buy in bulk from Amazon twice a year, sunflower hearts and peanuts. I don't buy mixed seed, I buy mealworms, and other extras from Wilco's and mix my own. The birds have become super fussy about fat balls, they will only eat Wilco's expensive ones, they also love the suet log things. I always have one feeder for just sunflower hearts with up to 10 goldfinches on it at once, they won't eat Niger seeds, which they're supposed to love.

We have so many baby birds feeding at the moment, it's lovely, but I don't have nesting boxes up though, because the cat takes too much interest.

GarethSouthgatesWaistcoat · 05/06/2019 19:14

I buy food from Wilko and B&M (2 fat squares or coconut halves for £1 Grin plus black sunflower seeds very cheap).

Fortunately my birds love the regular fat balls from Wilko (10 for £1). I buy the 'no mess' bird seed to avoid the germination problem! It's now available in 2kg bags. I don't bother with peanuts or any other type of mixed seed. To be honest when I feed the pricier fat snacks and mealworms they get demolished by starlings and the other birds don't get a look in. A lot ends up on the ground too which I'm trying to discourage due to cats. I like starlings but they're so greedy 😂

Over autumn and winter I refill the coconut halves with my own mix of no mess seeds, oats and black sunflower seeds plus melted lard.

PickAChew · 05/06/2019 19:23

Our birds (and squirrels and mice!) like the more expensive wilko fatballs. We even had a hedgehog bimbling about, underneath, hoovering up any crumbs the woodpigeons had missed, the other night.

Ronsters · 05/06/2019 19:44

I get mine in Home Bargains, sometimes Wilco. I think its the cheapest while still being decent quality. My birds get through a fair bit, I put down seed, suet pellets, peanuts (crushed up in nesting season) and mealworms. They like grapes too so I buy the basics ones for them.
I put coconut halves in the trees for the bluetits.

icclemunchy · 05/06/2019 20:34

I'd love to start feeding the birds but we have a few wood pigeons and a colony of crows in next doors tree (who do delight me with their antics)

What's the best way to encourage the little birds too? Or do we have no hope with the crows so close?

GarethSouthgatesWaistcoat · 05/06/2019 20:55

I have crows in a neighbouring conifer. They seem more interesting in chasing magpies and pigeons. I've never seen them take an interest in the smaller birds.

Do you have much natural cover in your garden - trees, shrubbery etc? I try to place my feeders above 6ft in a tree or shrub - away from fences - where the cats can't get at them Smile

I don't feed birds on the ground apart from inevitable spillage due to cats. I've never attracted crows on the lawn, I not sure if they'd be interested in ground feeders. Maybe?!

A tall bird bath is also a good bet. I've heard birds need a water source more than food being put out in summer.

If you end up with squirrels emptying your feeders look into ones with a double cage.

PickAChew · 06/06/2019 08:28

The squirrel proof feeders also discourage jackdaws.

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