trying to attract birds to our garden

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trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby SiW » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:10 pm

I’m after some advice. I’m trying to attract birds to our garden - there isn’t a lot of cover, but there are some shrubs. I’ve tried lots of things with limited success, only managing a few Blackbirds, Robin, Great Tit or two and some Sparrows.

I’ve tried (and continue to try)

- white sunflower hearts (Great Tit used to like them, but haven’t seem him for a while)
- nyjer seeds (nobody eats these, ever!)
- fat balls (robin likes them, but again, not seen him for ages)
- suet block
- ‘All Season Wild Bird Robin Feast’ mix (no interest) - contains wheat, kibbled maize, red Dari, while millet, black sunflower, oil
- ‘Cherish Robin & Finch Mix’ (this went down really well, but you can’t get it anymore!) - contains yellow millet, cut maize, sunflower hearts, red millet, meal worms, nyjer seed

Can you offer any advice please?

Many thanks!
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby Jacksparrow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:09 pm

Welcome to the forum SiW :wave2:
To answer your detailed question we will need a few details of the location of your garden(not your address) such as,is it in a town? or semi-urban or in a village as this helps identify why you are not getting many birds. Do you have many cats visiting your garden or anything else that is likely to frighten them.
I see you have tried quite a few feeding options with mixed results so it may be the way they are made available that is putting off the birds i.e. hanging feeders, ground feeders etc. Do you supply water for them?
We look forward to hearing from you again and genuinely hope we can help as we have all been bird feeding for a good many years in different areas of the country.
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby SiW » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:20 pm

Hi and thanks for the reply and welcome.

I guess I'd categorise us as semi-urban - Kendal, Cumbria. There aren't a lot of big trees nearby, but there are shrubs. I don't think I've ever seen a Finch but I've seen the birds listed above, plus a couple of Blue (or Coal) Tits the other day - they were feeding off the berries in a shrub, sat on a feeder ( ‘All Season Wild Bird Robin Feast’ I think) and flew off again without eating!

There are no cats really - the odd one, but very rare.

Yes there is fresh water. Rain water in a dish that self-fills (Lake District!!)

I've got several feeders: next to a 10ft ish conifer tree; hanging in the tree that the Tits were in the other day (maybe a bit too 'swingy' in the wind?) and hanging next to another small tree in the back.

Many thanks in advance!
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby Placido » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Hello SiW - welcome to The Forum :).
Jacksparrow has asked all the correct questions, and your 2 posts are very informative indeed.

I think all that is possible is to tell you our personal favourites for the birds and a couple of comments.

Comments: sadly, it is becoming increasingly rare to spot any kind of finch other than a sparrow in perhaps the past 5 years (certainly in my case). I used to get greenfinches and goldfinches regularly but not now. Tricho has seen to that :(.

Have you newly moved to your present location ? I ask because you seem to be quite familiar with birds' names so maybe you're not a beginner ?
Everyone will say that time is your best ally. Keep feeding and eventually they will come, particularly now in the run-up to the breeding season.

My best food for them, all year round, is Insect Suet Pellets - all of them will eat those. Also, Mixed Garden Bird Seed and Sunflower Hearts.
Oh yes, and their current passion is for Gouda cheese :shrug:. Strange but true :nod: !!
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby Jacksparrow » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:10 pm

Hi SiW. Thank you for filling in the blanks but please bear with me while I ask a few more questions. You mentioned a hanging feeder. Is that the type with seperate ports where each bird can perch to feed or one if the ones where it is a general free for all? Do you use a fat ball feeder or just hang the netted ones somewhere handy? Do you know if one of your neighbours is feeding the birds and perhaps attracting them away from your offering?
Have you got a bird table?
I'll try to answer a few questions. Blackbirds love dried fruit(sultanas,raisins) year round and appreciate an apple quartered and thrown on the floor in the winter. Only get cheap apples,the riper and softer the better. They will also eat suet pellets and enjoy a few sunflower hearts too. You didn't mention Starlings on your bird list but they will eat almost anything.They are agile enough to use the hanging feeders whereas the Blackbirds are not.
House Sparrows like a good quality seed mix preferably with little or no cereal content(i.e. Barley or wheat). These tend to be more expensive but produce less waste. It is my opinion that trial and error is required to see which they prefer. The internet is a good place to search for the mixes and many companies including the RSPB which they will supply by carrier. Start with small amounts and see how it goes.
The Finches will all go for Sunflower Hearts as will Robins and the Tit family
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby SiW » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:53 am

No problem and thanks again for the replies.

The hanging feeders are cheapo plastic ones with 2 ports (1 each side) and a little peg for them to sit on. The fat balls are in a fat ball feeder, not in their mesh nets.

Our neighbour does feed too but I don't think they have that much success either - saying that, they do have some big feeders out so must think it's worth it. The food doesn't go down very quickly though (not that I'm spying... honestly!).

No, we don't have a bird table.

Thanks for the tips - will try them. Haven't seen any Starlings.

Perhaps it's the cereal content that's the issue then. I'll look into some alternatives. Is there a reasonably priced brand that anyone would recommend?

Seems strange that the Robin has disappeared. He was out every day - very friendly. Now's he's simply vanished.

I've several feeders with white sunflower hearts. In the beginning Great Tits used to like them, but like I say - they're now gone too.

We've been living here for 6 years. I did try in the first year to attract birds but with no (even less!) success.

Part of me wonders if it's the locations of the feeders, but then I also think that moving them all the time is not going to help, so maybe I should just stick with them where they are.

Many thanks
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby Jacksparrow » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:05 pm

Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. :yes:
firstly I think it will be worth your while investing in a couple of bigger and better more robust feeders. A minimum of 4 ports to start with designed to hold seed mixtures. But the best you can afford as they last for many years.
The seed mix I use is this one http://www.johnstonandjeff.co.uk/wb_the_blends.php which is not available direct from them but can easily be purchased from Ebay or some pet suppliers. On the same website is loads of info on feeding wild birds you may find interesting.
I think a good bird table is worth having as some birds are happier on one rather than on the ground. Avoid the cheapo flimsy ones as a gust of wind will blow them over :nod:
Sadly some garden birds like Robins and Tits have short lives. For some only a couple of years is judged to be normal :(
It is difficult to advise on feeder location without knowing your garden layout. It is generally advised to hang them near to cover but not that near so that cats can leap out and surprise them :eek:
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby SiW » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:19 am

Hi and thanks again.

I'll look into some better feeders. Has anyone had any success with the adapters that clip onto the bottom of plastic bottles to make a feeder?

Got some suet pellets with insects in yesterday - will see how that pans out.

Will look for a decent table.
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby Placido » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:24 pm

Jacksparrow's point re the siting of feeders close (but not too close) to cover is very valid - they feel safer with a shrub or some planting handy for an emergency escape from marauding cats or sparrowhawks.

Be interested to hear how the suet pellets go - top of the pops here but as with all bird foods, Time is the secret. Patience will bring them .... eventually :nod:.

No, have never tried the gadget on a plastic bottle.
Actually, I don't use a seed feeder at all. I put the seeds, and suet pellets !, on the ground inside a ground cage feeder 'cos I like the blackbirds to get their fair share. I use one of those because of a recurring nightmare with feral pigeons :doh: :grumpy:.
The only feeder is a peanut squirrel-proof feeder for the tits which is very popular too.
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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Postby SiW » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:38 pm

Okay, so update.

I've bought a table. It's not amazing but it'll do. Pic attached. It's about 4' high I think.

I've also bought 4 feeders. Pics attached. I was thinking about splitting the 'volume' feeders into 2 compartments so I can put two different sorts of food in them? What do you think?

Is it better to hang the feeders from the table, or elsewhere? I have a couple of feeder stations. One about 6" from a small conifer and the other about 6" from a shrub. Both about 4' from the ground.

I was thinking of going for suet/insect pellets, sunflower hearts (white as that's what I have) and some mixed seed.

Any thoughts?

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