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Science/nature/environment

Feathered friends.

(68 Posts)
rubylady Sun 04-Jan-15 19:32:55

I have just bought a bird feeding stand with three different hanging bits on it. I have bought one feeder for seed, one for peanuts and one for fat balls. I need some advice on what type of food to buy to attract which birds?

I miss my birds who visited me in my old house and it would be lovely to have some new friends. smile

rubylady Sun 04-Jan-15 19:34:56

Tried to find my old pictures I have on this laptop but can't find them and then this picture came up! (Not that computer literate, lol).

Anyway, a penguin is a bird, lol. And you never know, we might see some if that snow comes again. grin

ninathenana Mon 05-Jan-15 00:02:21

Have you tried the RSPB web site ? I'm sure they would have the info your looking for.

Liz46 Mon 05-Jan-15 07:30:48

Blue tits love meal worms and I have seen a squirrel running off with a fat ball under his arm! I haven't had much success with peanuts.

loopylou Mon 05-Jan-15 07:35:41

I find the birds love peanuts but they go mouldy quickly if it's wet weather, fat balls or blocks disappear very quickly!

NfkDumpling Mon 05-Jan-15 07:56:44

I think the birds around here have different favourite foods in different gardens. You need to experiment to see if yours is a peanut, seed or fat ball area. The bluetits coming to our garden turn their beaks up at peanuts - even when I crushed them - but a few houses away take nothing else. Ours is a sunflower hearts and fat ball bar.

Don't forget to put the feeders where there's plenty of cover. People complain of sparrowhawks taking their birds. We have a pair of sparrowhawks which visit the garden most days but the feeders are next to a thick hedge and have shrubs underneath so they rarely make a kill.

shysal Mon 05-Jan-15 08:27:35

If you have a tray on your feeder, a pile of robin mix including mealworms, and sultanas for the blackbirds are popular, as they do not use the hangers. Chunky dumplings are expensive but attract many birds. I also have a special feeder containing nigella seeds for goldfinch - they appeared within minutes of putting it up for the first time.

Iam64 Mon 05-Jan-15 09:26:09

I've been putting food out for the blackbirds, all the other bird food is in "squirrel proof" hangers. Hah - the dogs did their usual squirrel patrol from the patio windows yesterday. There was a large grey squirrel, with it's paw through the squirrel proof hanger, pulling out chunks of fat balls to eat. I've been bringing the hangers in at night to discourage rodents, so the fat balls aren't frozen.

I resent the grey squirrels because they eat eggs from any nest a bird builds in our garden. But, they do make me laugh, cheeky, clever blighters. I'm reliably informed they're also aggressive but haven't got close enough to find out. Neither have the dogs, despite concerted efforts smile

hildajenniJ Mon 05-Jan-15 09:27:45

We have Nature's Feast No Grow Blend. All the birds seem to love it. Our local pet shop sells fat balls which is easier than making them yourself.
We still put out old, dry bread. Pheasants visit our garden and eat it up with relish. smile

shysal Mon 05-Jan-15 11:52:54

This is my squirrel-proof feeder!

loopylou Mon 05-Jan-15 12:04:17

Crikey shysal, brazen creature! We once took an injured squirrel (probably fell out of nest(?) during those awful gales years ago to a vet. It was vicious to say the least, and flea factory too! Vet not impressed when it bit through his thick gauntlets, as vermin it wasn't supposed to be re-released but we took it home and cared for it before setting it free, highly ungrateful creature as I recall!
Round here they are able to get in to and so called squirrel proof feeder angry

anniezzz09 Mon 05-Jan-15 12:32:49

I shall watch this thread with interest as I have had to stop putting out food for the birds because of the local grey squirrels who eat EVERYTHING. Not just the bird food but all our soft fruit, apples and plums on the trees and they strip our hazelnut tree before the nuts are even a quarter ripe. It drives me mad, I can't bear to look out in the garden if they are there. Nothing has defeated them. I put out some bread when the weather is very bad and hope the birds get to it before the squirrels do.

Sad and upsetting!

ninathenana Mon 05-Jan-15 13:02:46

We don't see squirrels but we have a big problem with feral pigeons and blackheaded gulls that dive bomb down and grab anything dropped on the lawn by the other birds. We have even had the occasional herring gull land on the roof of the bird table !

anniezzz09 Mon 05-Jan-15 14:00:35

I put out food yesterday because it was frosty and horrible first thing. I was out but my daughter said she saw a magpie holding the fort and driving off everything else that tried to eat, mostly a seagull and a pigeon apparently.

Tegan Mon 05-Jan-15 14:11:35

I think the squirrel in my garden is digging up all of the bulbs. An apple that I put out for the blackbirds disappeared far too quickly for it to have been the birds. On the subject of birds [and my new obsession with Game of Thrones] they were saying that the easiest creatures to train for the series [probably including the humans as well]were the ravens, except for the fact that when they were being used for a scene everyone on the set had a sandwich ban because they would be far more interested in stealing sandwiches than acting.

ginny Mon 05-Jan-15 18:34:56

If you have a pound shop or poundland near you, buy bird food there. Things that cost £3 -4 in garden centres and the like are of course £1. The birds in our area seem happy enough with their cut price meals.

janerowena Mon 05-Jan-15 19:01:40

Our rabbit died and I was left with loads of food, seeds and vegetable flakes and so on. I have been soaking it in stock and making it up into fatballs with the bits left after stripping various xmas joints of meat this afternoon - no complaints so far! The feeders were mobbed. No squirrels here thankfully.

Tegan Mon 05-Jan-15 19:10:14

Someone I knew used to put bird seed under a sheet of glass a few inches off the ground; the small birds could get under itt o feed but the larger birds and squirrels couldn't. I'd imagine it took them a while to get used to it, though. I've never tried it myself.

whitewave Mon 05-Jan-15 20:22:05

I whizz the peanuts up into tiny bits and feed it with seed in the feeder. That way it doesn't go mouldy

Ana Mon 05-Jan-15 20:26:57

The peanuts in our feeder don't have time to go mouldy! I fill it every morning and by teatime it's empty.

annodomini Mon 05-Jan-15 21:16:59

They have been leaving the fatballs on my feeder to go mouldy. They used to scoff them almost as soon as I put them out. This time I have bought them in Waitrose to see if there's a difference in quality. hmm

janerowena Mon 05-Jan-15 23:06:33

grin But we can't overhear what they are saying!

rubylady Tue 06-Jan-15 01:03:14

Thank you for all your wonderful comments and insight. At my old house I just put out seed and bread on the table, got no squirrels but a cat did get one bird. Hence buying a stand so that the cats cant get to them. will this be ok? As it is a new area I don't know if squirrels are around and seen one cat. I have ordered the stand off Ebay and feeders plus food from Wilko. I can't wait for them to come.

Plus might do some growing own veg/fruit this year. Any tips on this would be useful too, thanks.

I've come a little late to gardening but I love it, I threw some wild flower seed down on bare soil patch when we came here and now we have seedlings. It's very exciting. grin

NfkDumpling Tue 06-Jan-15 08:17:43

A friend with a squirrel problem used the glass over a tray - with a hefty brick on top - and it works well. We have visiting cats. I think they take more birds than the sparrowhawks. We didn't have a problem when we had our own cat as he was very territorial - no other cat would dare to set a paw. He was also into fur, not feathers - mice, rats, moles, rabbits and squirrels were all on his menu but he completely ignored the birds in fact one blackbird was quite his chum.

Re fruit and veg gardening - Having encouraged birds by feeding them they are quite keen to expand their diet and think the raspberries etc are for them. I use old net curtains to protect fruit bushes and greens when they're too big for cloches as it saves having to untangle sparrows from ordinary netting.

NfkDumpling Tue 06-Jan-15 08:19:05

Shysal. Love the squirrel proof feeder. Have you sent to to the RSPB magazine?