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Attracting birds to my garden

Discussion in 'Personal' started by 60sunnysmile, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    They all seem to go mad for mealworms. I get a wide variety of visitors when I put these out. My two regular robins actually come right up to me now and perch on the little fence next to my patio steps waiting impatiently for me to dole out the day’s rations :D I’ve also found that the ‘Peckish Daily Goodness Suet Nuggets’ are very popular with the smaller birds too. I stopped putting peanuts out altogether and conceded defeat to the squirrels!
  2. Norsemaid

    Norsemaid Lead commenter

    I love the birds too but I'm nit having any success in attracting them due to next door having two cats that can access the budleigh .
    Maybe I'll look at the sites suggested and have a think and plan whilst I'm recovering.
    60sunnysmile, install and Jamvic like this.
  3. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Squirrels get a bad rap and are generally seen as a pain, particularly grey squirrels, but they are wildlife all the same; and maybe play an important part in the health of the environment.

    Where I live, is one of the rare places to find white squirrels. They are very rare and I've only seen them myself on a couple of occasions.

    There must be a way of finding a balance so we can protect these creatures as well as the birds.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Lots of good advice here, we feed them most of the year and get loads of numbers and variety.

    Consistency - make sure there is always food about and they get used to dropping by. When we go away for just a few days it takes a week or more for them to build up again, the longer we're away, the longer it takes.

    Nearby cover - if possible in your garden for the smaller birds as a staging post. We have a huge rambling rose along one side at the top of the garden. All the smaller birds go there first before entering the garden proper. It protects them from being ambushed from any direction especially above.

    Variety of feeding places - some like to eat from hanging feeders, some from a hanging bird table, some from the ground. Spread the food around a bit and see what's best.

    Don't leave food over night except from hanging feeders, it attracts rats as mentioned.

    Clean tables and feeders regularly to prevent disease.

    Almost any left-overs can go outside, there's some birds that will eat almost anything.

    Look out for clearance food items in the supermarket. Potatoes can often be had for very little, we put some in the oven on a tray when we are cooking other things then squash them before putting out when cool.

    Buy feed in the largest bags you can afford, it's much cheaper than small quantities.
  5. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    We like our squirrels too. They don't take much and pay for themselves by their antics. We sometimes get the odd black one, never seen a white one.
    60sunnysmile, install and Jamvic like this.
  6. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    I agree @Duke of York I love watching the squirrels and their antics and would be happy to welcome them to come grab a cheek full of nuts. Trouble is the dogs go mad, chase them and bark incessantly whenever they come into the garden. So my neighbours probably appreciate me not putting nut feeders out on the bird tables anymore.

    Remember this. :D

  7. install

    install Star commenter

    Birds love berries. Also keep your feeders clean and fresh. Maybe plant some bushes on the edge - they need places to hide. Make sure the feeders are at different heights too so they can decide what suits.
    60sunnysmile, Mangleworzle and Jamvic like this.
  8. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    Despite owning two elderly cats and the garden being a route for every other cat in the street to get to the back field, I've been feeding the birds for years. The cats don't seem to put the birds off - I often see 14 or 15 different species in my garden in half an hour. However, in the past few weeks, it's been ominously quiet... and although I had my suspicions, I had no proof...

    ...until I happened to look out the other day just as a sparrowhawk smashed through. Its target: Spike the Pigeon (a regular visitor with a distinctive feather on his head). It missed, and there was a loud bang as either it or Spike hit the fence, but the next day I found the remains of a female blackbird on the lawn, and now the feeders are mostly quiet. Spike's still bobbing around nervously, but almost everyone else has cleared out.

    I'm conflicted - I know it's nature, and the fact that a sparrowhawk is able to live round here shows that there's a pretty healthy bird population - but the garden feels empty without the little birds.
    60sunnysmile, Jamvic and install like this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    Sparrowhawks can be a problem.

    I would put in some tall bamboo canes in the garden. This will help to stop the flight of the sparrow hawk and form enough obstacles for it to allow the smaller birds to escape.
    60sunnysmile likes this.
  10. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    :D Love the name and so pleased he survived the attack. If you keep putting food out I think they will keep coming. The imperative to feed through winter will balance out the sparrowhawk risk.

    Great idea.
    Grandsire, 60sunnysmile and install like this.
  11. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I had the same problem when I tried to refer to our Bella by the correct female canine term.
    60sunnysmile likes this.
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Sunflower seeds are excellent for attracting finches and ****.
    60sunnysmile and Jesmond12 like this.
  13. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    In my old house we had a great variety of birds from finches to kingfishers and woodpeckers. There was even the occasional heron. Lots of squirrels who ate a great deal of the food. The birds favourite was the meal worms followed by the sunflower hearts.
    In our new house we are just starting so have had a few finches and a robin. Over time as the garden develops i'm hoping the variety will increase. At the old house we had the advantage of a stream at the bottom of the garden.
    60sunnysmile, smoothnewt and install like this.
  14. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    More or less, there is a large community of kittiwakes nesting on the cliff. We don't put fish out, they get them from the sea!

    60sunnysmile likes this.
  15. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    60sunnysmile likes this.
  16. 60sunnysmile

    60sunnysmile New commenter

    Thanks everyone for you comments and suggestions. I have taken on board everything said here including the need to keep the feeders clean. I have placed some feeders on the opposite side of the garden to the original feeders and I have put various types of food in them. I also hung some coconut shells filled with suet. I have used one of my low growing trees to hang the new bird feeders from and the added bonus is that it is in the sun most of the day and the birds sit in the sun in between feeding. I am also pleased with the comments about growing plants for the birds and will be adding a variety of plants to my garden in spring for this purpose. I am planning on putting a small summer house in the garden for spring to autumn bird watching and I will have a few enjoyable months planning the sighting of the summerhouse as well as the designing the new plant additions. Perhaps a water feature to keep the birds hydrated.
    As I sit here writing this and watching the birds it is incredibly peaceful.
  17. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    A bird bath is good too, preferably near the house so you can regularly clean and fill it easily. They seem to bathe more the colder it gets, it helps condition their feathers apparently and makes them better at retaining warmth. We regularly get birds splashing about immediately after we've taken the ice from the surface on a frosty day.

    We've had half a dozen blackbirds queueing up for a bath in the past, the starlings go in for a group bath with as much splashing as possible, sparrows are similar, pigeons like to sit there and have a good soak - even when it's literally freezing! Magpies and jackdaws will drop their bread in first to soften it up, and most other foods too. The other birds come for a more discrete drink or a quick splash about.
  18. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    In a local school where I sometimes supply the flat roof across the way from my classroom has a huge puddle on it. The birds take turns. First the magpies and crows come down for a paddle, then the pigeons take a turn. Then the gulls have a go. In the gaps the wagtails and the odd sparrow have a dip at the edge. It is so big I am surprised it doesn't attract ducks. Funniest though is when it freezes and the pigeons do their Bambi impressions!
    smoothnewt and 60sunnysmile like this.
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Sunflower hearts (a bit pricey though) and black niger seeds are also good.

    Food in my garden doesn't last long - I put out bread, cracker crumbs, and bird seed this morning - and it all got scoffed in minutes.
  20. 60sunnysmile

    60sunnysmile New commenter

    I put out carrots, peas and sweet corn as I read somewhere the birds liked them. They are being ignored by all the birds. Even the magpie picked up a piece of carrot and literally threw it across the garden. They do seem to have made use of a large shallow flower pot saucer accidentally left out at the bottom of the garden, that has filled with rain. They drink from it as well as the robin literally dived in and had a really long and thorough wash. I think I will leave it there and ensure it is always topped up. I am so fascinated by these birds!
    agathamorse likes this.

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