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I’m determined to encourage birds into my garden this year -any tips welcome.

80 replies

QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:03

So I have bought a bird feeder hanger which I’ve put a few feet away from a little apple tree where I sometimes see sparrows sitting.

I’ve bought a seed holder which has three chambers for three different types of seeds. I bought niger seeds and also some”no mess” quality mixed bird seed. I’m now thinking the Niger seeds was a mistake as I’ve never seen finches before……but maybe the Niger seeds will encourage them.?

the feeder holder has a mesh flat tray part so I was thinking of putting suet or maybe mealworms on this.

I see blackbirds in the garden sometimes, also sparrows, wood pigeons. There are crows on the house roof most days.

what else would be good to put out?

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CalistoNoSolo · 19/03/2023 08:08

Shelter, ie shrubs so the little birds can get away from sparrow hawks etc.

Water - a raised water bowl near shelter.

Sunflower seeds, meal worms, fat balls are the lost popular things in my garden.

Squirrel and corvid proof feeders so the little birds stand a chance.

Cat proof your garden as cats kill millions of small birds every year.

CalistoNoSolo · 19/03/2023 08:09

The rspb is an excellent resource for information, identification etc

spidereggs · 19/03/2023 08:10

We have had great success with the clear window feeders. The kids love watching the birds and the bigger ones can't get in, like crows.

megletthesecond · 19/03/2023 08:12

Thinking long term, sunflowers. Keep the dead heads and some stalk next winter and tie them into trees or top of a shed. The blue tits will love you when it gets bitterly cold.
Teasle take 2 years to grow and can be monsters (easily weeded out though) but like sunflowers, the bees will feed from them over summer and the birds take the seeds from the dead heads over winter.

QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:12

Our garden does seem to be a cat free zone, we have a small dog who doesn’t go outside often but seems to deter cats I guess?

I’ll check the rspb website out, thanks for that. Also get some sunflower seeds.

I’m surprised about the window feeders, I’d assumed birds would be too scared to get that close but will see about getting one of those.

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byvirtue · 19/03/2023 08:13

Bird houses, the sooner the better as they will be starting to breed now.

If you have a space for plants I planted a lot of sunflowers last year, the bees loved them and then the birds came in and ate all the seeds later in the year. Amaranth (love lies bleeding) is another one you can do from seed. A wild rose that produces rose hips will give them food through the winter too as does ivy, again great for the bees when flowering, then the birds eat the berries.

QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:14

We grow sunflowers every year in the veg plot down the end of the garden and have for about 15 years, I’ve never seen birds on the sunflower heads though! They self seed now and we have a little sunflower jungle every year.

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QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:15

And we do have a couple of bird houses on the outbuilding wall which is about halfway down the garden, never seen any bird use them though and they’ve been there years. We do tend to get wood pigeons nesting in the ivy most years.

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Singleandproud · 19/03/2023 08:16

Plant some hedgerows for future years for nesting.

Bird bath or a small shallow pond for drinking and washing.

Cats seem to be the biggest issue, the house next door had many bird feeders and the garden was always full of birds. They sold up and new neighbours moved in, no more bird feeders and five cats and now I never see birds.

I hang suet coconuts in my hedgerow out of reach of the cats and they eat it but I never see them.

MisgenderedSwan · 19/03/2023 08:17

We have one of the window bird feeders and get all sorts! We put meal worms and berry suet in it and have goldfinches, blue tits, robins - even a black bird managed to squish into it. We have a squirrel that visits intermittently and likes to stand on the window sill with his belly squashed against the window helping himself 😆

We also have a feeder that we fill with high energy bird seed mix, we have had magpies, blackbirds and pigeons pecking under that. Fat balls and suet filled logs don't seem to last very long. We've loved watching the birds all winter!

ChardonnaysBeastlyCat · 19/03/2023 08:18

A water bowl for drinking and bathing. It needs to be shallow so they won't slip. I put pebbles in mine.

Hedonism · 19/03/2023 08:20

QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:14

We grow sunflowers every year in the veg plot down the end of the garden and have for about 15 years, I’ve never seen birds on the sunflower heads though! They self seed now and we have a little sunflower jungle every year.

I would love a sunflower jungle in my garden!

The fat balls seem most popular here. The feeders in the tree get emptied first - the one on the fence which is more exposed doesn't get much attention.

piedbeauty · 19/03/2023 08:22

Birds need shelter: if you hang the feeder in a tree so they can easily get to it then hide again.

Have a source of water, to drink or bathe.

And see

megletthesecond · 19/03/2023 08:22

Don't forget to have water out all year round and melt it in winter.

LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 19/03/2023 08:23

My garden is full of birds and I have two cats. And to be fair I’m on the edge of suburbia so there are woodlands not far away.

Shelter and consistent, mixed feeding is what works for me. Feeders are near bushes where the birds can hide while they are waiting their turn and there is a very successful window feeder. All my feeders are squirrel (ie rat) proof; they are also anti-big-bird. I feed sunflower hearts, dried mealworms, fat balls and flutter butter and they get topped up weekly, more in the winter.

We have a visiting pheasant who does an excellent job of hoovering up everything that falls to the ground; if not the pigeons do the job.

jazzandh · 19/03/2023 08:25

I have several water bowls and baths and they attract birds of many varieties as much as any feeders. They wash and splash and drink. They even queue sometimes!

Fantina · 19/03/2023 08:27

I love birds too but we have a small garden and were told the rat run along the neighbouring gardens was because the garden we back onto has so many bird feeders/treats etc out.

Bemyclementine · 19/03/2023 08:29

I've done the same this year after noticing less birds than usual. Sunflower seeds, fat balls, meal wormsxare all popular. I don't have much luck with peanuts but bought some chopped nuts which seem to work better.

It's taken a while but I regularly see blue tits, great tits abd chaffinches now, along with the usual sparrows and Robins. A couple of collared doves and a few fat pigeons.

GuyFawkesDay · 19/03/2023 08:34

To prevent rats, use fat balls and food that doesn't fall, and use a squirrel baffle on the feeder pole.
Nyjer seeds are more for goldfinches than other breeds. But despite millions of them in the fields around here, they refuse to come into my garden for an easy meal!

QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:42

I’ll try hanging some fat balls in the apple tree as well, it’s the weakest ever looking tree with thin bendy branches so it won’t hold heavy feeders I don’t think

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QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:43

and sounds like I need a birdbath of some description

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RedSquirrelRoar · 19/03/2023 08:44

Make sure to empty and clean the feeders every week to avoid diseases - RSPB website has advice.

QuintanaRoo · 19/03/2023 08:51

This is my garden, so I hope I’ve chosen the right location for the feeder in front of the apple tree

I’m determined to encourage birds into my garden this year -any tips welcome.
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TheSandgroper · 19/03/2023 08:54

I’m not in the UK but I would dig over some of that lawn and replace it with meadow plants, allow them to grow tall and set seed. You wouldn’t need much.

Hedjwitch · 19/03/2023 08:55

My elderly mother adores the window feeder and seeing the birds close up.

As well as all the tips above,plant things that will attract insects. Insects will attract birds.

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