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Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:30 pm
by SiW
Last question from me (he says)!

Obviously my feeders aren't getting a lot of action. How often do I need to chuck away the food and refresh it? Seems a waste throwing it away when it's hardly been touched after only a couple of days?

Ended up splitting the big wide feeder so I can have 2 types of food in it. It has a wide landing area/tray so hopefully they'll like that.

Was it the normal bog-standard 'Wild Bird Food' that you go for?

Hoping the feeders aren't too low (they are very close to shrubs/heather, but there aren't really any cats).

Cheers as always

Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:54 pm
by Jacksparrow
The new bird table looks OK but how it performs in the Cumbrian weather will be the real test. We have not talked about what to put on the bird table but I would advise against putting any of the seed type food which might get wet and become inedible and therefore wasted. I use my table for small chunks of bread or other stale bakery items plus sultanas. Occasionally the leftovers from a roast joint may find it's way there too. I sure other forum members will have ideas about what food gets eaten best on a table.
I will be interested to hear how well your new feeders perform but be warned your birds will be very wary of them for a little while so don't get disheartened if they're not an instant success. It is my opinion that having a separate feeder for the sunflower hearts is the best route to take and use the other feeder for the seed mix. Suet pellets do not go well in a gravity feeder because they don't flow so either sprinkle a few on the ground or the bird table and see how they go.
I think for the time being it is best to leave your feeders at the current locations to limit the disruption for your birds.
Finally,good luck with everything you're trying. There are no guarantees and certain amount of experimentation will be needed before you hit on the ideal set-up. Do not hesitate to ask if there are any problems :nod:

Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:39 am
by SiW
Thanks again. Really appreciate you taking the time to assist.

At the moment I have some apple, suet and mealworms on the table. Will see how that goes. I've had Blackbirds on the feeder stations eating mealworms and yesterday I missed in some suet pellets and they went pretty quickly. The Blackbirds sometimes do their best to balance on a suet block that I have - I've added some twigs so they can balance! I've also had a Sparrow on the fat balls, but despite the added twigs here, they struggle to balance.

Hear what you're saying re the pellets and the gravity feeder - I've loaded it now so will leave as is and see. The ports are pretty wide so you never know.

Which of the seed mixes do you go for? Just the basic one behind the link that you posted? This? ... bird-food/ they have the ‘superior’ version ‘with fruit’ in our local shop.

Also, how often do I need to refresh the food (bearing in mind it's not really being eaten!). It's in quality feeders now that should keep a lot of moisture out.

I've got feeders hanging from the bird table too but they're quite close to the ground and near a heather shrub. Saying that though, my Dad has a marauding cat at his house and still gets tons of birds, even on low-down feeders.

Thanks again

Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:11 pm
by Jacksparrow
I have only used three of the Johnson and Jeff seed mixes. The basic one(i.e.the cheapest) has loads of cereal in it so I would only use it in emergency.I know I'm a bird seed snob :nod: The superior on with fruit is quite good but I avoid it because the "fruit"(actually raisins and sultanas chopped up) has blocked my feeders in the past. I actually use the supreme mix which contains suet shreds but as you feed suet anyway I would go with the fruit one.
Your Dad's situation may be different to your own but it may be worth asking him what he is feeding to his birds. Local knowledge is good :nod:
As I've already said it is good to experiment with different foods to see what gets eaten. You know they like the treats like suet and dried mealworms but it is expensive to keep buying that rather than the seed type foods. Buy in small batches at first until you know what goes.

Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 2:06 pm
by SiW

It's been about 3 months since I posted last so thought it was time for an update.

At the front of the house I have 2 feeders: one with sunflower hearts and one with J&J Superior Mix. I also have a bird table. I scatter the same seeds on this as well as mealworms.

The feeders are very very rarely touched. I did see a Coal Tit on one (J&J) yesterday but that's the first sighting in 3 months.

The bird table is popular with Blackbirds (they love mealworms) and recently Starlings (aka hoovers). Unfortunately it's also popular with crows. I have put a plastic mesh around the table which keeps some off, but they clever things and today there were maybe 10 crows all going for the mealworms.

Shame as I'm tempted to not bother with mealworms now as they just go in minutes to the crows. It's been a while since I've seen a Blackbird on the table, although they are still about.

At the rear I have the same feeders, plus a mealworm feeder. There used to be the odd Sparrow (there are a few about in the garden) on the sunflower hearts and occasionally the J&J but I've not seen them feeding recently. They are around still in the garden though.

I had a similar crow problem. They couldn't land on the feeders, but they somehow held on to the vertical feeder stand pole and ate from there. The addition of a spring 'slinky' sorted that, but the smaller ones can just about land on the feeders now. They go for the mealworms generally. The Blackbirds go for this too, when the crows aren't about.

So, not much going on really. The mealworm thing needs to stop I think, even though the BBs like them and the Starlings (although mega greedy) are nice to see. The crow issue puts me off.

I'm thinking of stopping with the feeders altogether and just having a table front and back with mesh on and a selection of seeds? The crows can't really get to those.

Also I was wondering about black sunflower seeds? Net door has feeders of only them and they don't go down quickly, but they do go down.

Many thanks!

Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 6:28 pm
by Placido
:wave2: Hello SiW !! Must say, you're very inventive (love the 'slinky' idea :nod:) and persistent. You certainly do deserve success.
The only thing I can suggest for the crow problem is a ground feeder cage, which prevents anything but small birds - blackbirds soon learn to use it. Your crow problem is my feral pigeon problem and a cage works for them. The use of a ground feeder cage is better for birds like, say, chaffinches, who can't hang onto feeders. My only feeder now is an anti-squirrel feeder which dispenses peanuts.
Re the black sunflower seeds, presumably you mean the ones with the husk still on ? The huskless ones make no mess at all and are very popular with all birds.
I have, sadly, discontinued mealworms, it's just not worth it. I now stick to suet pellets (insect), mixed wheatless !! seeds, and huskless sunflower hearts.

Great to hear from you again :).

Re: trying to attract birds to our garden

Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 8:06 pm
by Jacksparrow
Hi SiW, thank you for taking the time to give us an update. I would echo much of what Placido has said.
I only feed live mealworms at this time of year when most garden birds have youngsters in the nest. For the smaller birds I use a guarded hanging feeder like this ... rdian.html which excludes all but birds the size of a Sparrow or Robin.
I would persist a little longer with your seed feeders as a new generation of hungry birds are in the nest at present and may find your offering a help in their early weeks and then stay for longer.