Bird feeders. I’m sure everyone reading this blog probably has at least one hanging in their garden right now, but have you ever noticed how they seem to multiply? You start off small with maybe a peanut feeder, then add a seed feeder for good measure. Then you realise you’re neglecting the ground feeders and put in a low tray, and don’t forget the fat balls of course. What about Goldfinches? I’m sure you’d like those noisy, colourful birds visiting on a regular basis so a Niger seed dispenser is a must. Before you know it your garden resembles some sort of plastic tube showroom with dropped seed sprouting from absolutely everywhere.
Needless to say I’m speaking from experience and this weekend finally took action to get things in order. Out went the cheap and invariably broken feeders and in came new, high quality replacements from the local WWT reserve shop (doing our bit for conservation at the same time). In an effort to keep my crop of sprouting seed at a minimum the ground beneath each of the new feeders has been covered with weed proof membrane and slate chippings, and obviously I’ve also carefully positioned everything in full view of my patio chairs to maximise photographic opportunities.
Even before we’d finished the House Sparrows were moving in. It’s not that surprising really as I think every house on our road has at least one pair nesting in their soffits or under roof tiles so there are plenty of them about. The fat balls seemed to be a particular favourite with regular trips being made to the bird bath, presumably to soften up the huge chunks of fat they were managing to tear off before swallowing.
Blue Tits were our next visitors with the first individual choosing the new seed feeder below. It landed, looked at the nearest perch, gave a shake of its head in disgust and promptly headed off to the favoured fat balls. Thankfully it was soon back on the seed and judging by the quantity that has since disappeared, any initial misgivings have been overcome.
Our pair of Great Tits are noticeably less tame than their blue cousins so I was quite lucky to get the shot below. They only perched for a couple of seconds before quickly grabbing a single seed and shooting back into the cover of our neighbours apple tree to eat it.
The Coal Tits on the other hand sat on the feeders for several minutes whilst they searched for a seed that matched their exacting requirements. Needless to say it was invariably a Black Sunflower seed with much of the cheaper stuff ending up discarded on the floor. I’m sure the Dunnocks and Robins will be grateful though.
Other visitors since the weekend have included a pair of Bullfinches and endless Chaffinches, so all in all I think we can consider the new feeders a roaring success.