Please think about feeding your garden birds this year.
Once you hang up a birdfeeder you will be amazed how quickly word gets out and they come to feed on and off all day every day. Feeding your garden birds is one of the joys you can have in a garden whatever the size of the space.
I buy the feeders and the bird food from RSPB shop.
This feeder below is for suet nibbles and closes if a heavy bird or squirrel lands on it. It works well and is perfect for woodpeckers which come every day. As I don’t have the patience of a wildlife photographer there is no woodpecker on the feeder in this photo but trust me, they do come every day.
We have parakeets around here and the rotters swarm around the feeders now and then. Nothing I’ve done will keep them away apart from running round the garden waving my arms about, which turns out to be an exhausting and impractical long-term solution.
The important thing is to keep going once you start, keeping the feeder full every day of the year. A good feeder from the RSPB shop will last for years and everything I’ve bought from them has been an investment.
I have a free standing pole with a heavy stable base in both the front and back garden. I hang sunflower seeds from one arm and suet nibbles from the other. It makes a mess on the ground of course but that’s ok.
If you don’t have a free standing pole, here are some tips on how and where to hang feeders.
Throw a chain or rope up over a tree branch and bring the two ends down to where you can easily reach. Hang the feeder on with a clip which needs to be easy to use as you’ll be taking it off to refill every other day.
If it’s on a tree the squirrels will raid it and there’s not much you can do to stop them, the little blighters. Squirrel-proof feeders. Ha Ha. You can slow them down but never stop them entirely. They are very very clever.
However, I minimise the squirrel raiding by putting grease on the pole so they can’t hang on with their back feet. They hurtle up the pole but then slowly slide down, wondering what’s going on. Jolly good laugh watching them. I use this, from Amazon
We have cats and there’s never been a problem feeding the birds as long as the feeder is far enough off the ground that the cat can’t just easily jump up. Don’t let having a cat stop you feeding the birds.
Buying bird food
I buy bird food from the RSPB shop in 12.5 kilo bags and it’s cheaper if you buy 2 bags at a time. I found that pure sunflower seeds were more popular than a seed mix. I’d say a big bag lasts a couple of months. You get through a lot of seed, believe me.
So if you can afford the investment, get a free standing pole and base and a couple of feeders. Put it close to your window and watch the daily show. Feeding your garden birds will transform your life, bringing movement, beauty and fun into your garden.
For a quick look at what the front and back garden look like, click here
14 comments on "Feeding your garden birds"
Dear Julie, What a joy it is to have birds visit the garden, but perhaps you could emphasise the fact that you need to clean and disinfect your feeders every so often, to avoid cross contamination, here in Yorkshire the green finches are susceptible to something that prevents them from swallowing, very distressing, which can be passed on to other birds. We have Hellebores and snowdrops in flower, so early and uplifting. We wish you a very happy and healthy new year, keep blogging. JuneX
Hello June how lovely to hear from you – I will add that to my blog as yes I do clean out the feeders very often and it’s so important. Thanks for the reminder. We have gold finches with the lovely red flash but I’ve not seen green ones here. See you in May at St Michaels I hope as I rely on that to buy all my new plants – is it on this year? Very best wishes to you and Peter, see you in the Spring. Julie xx
I’m always concerned about vermin, I have fed birds in the past, but it did attract vermin. I do leave bird seed in parks and heaths.
Hello Lorna, thankyou for reading my blog and commenting. I must say I have never seen a rat climb up the pole. For a while I waged war on the rats but now I just have to ignore them. As long as we do what we can to feed wildlife in any way we can feel we are doing our best. Very best wishes to you, Julie
So glad to see someone else feeding birds. I believe in this so strongly myself I wrote a post along these lines and attracting birds to the garden myself this time last year. They really struggle at this time of year and I really like the look of the bird feeders in your post and that’s a great tip to handle the squirrels thanks very much!
Hello Terry, thankyou for your comment and glad I could give you some ideas. The feeders are good quality from rspb and it is great fun watching the squirrels hurtle up the pole only to slide down again – it doesn’t harm them at all and it does stop them hanging on while they empty the feeder in one big meal. Very best wishes to you, Julie
We made a large chickenwire collar for our bird feeder pole (which is wood). The collar is large and floppy and so far has deterred the squirrels. As this is our first year with a feeder, we have been amazed how much seed we are going through. We have discovered that bargain bags of mixed seed result in more ground waste, as the birds root through for their preference.
Hello Steve, that sounds a good idea, both our ideas deter the squirrels but don’t harm the in any way, just annoy them! Yes once we start we do get through a lot of seed hence I buy 2 bags of 12.5Kilos each at a time. It’s so worth it though isn’t it. Good gardening and best wishes to you, Julie
I quite agree it’s the perfect solution and one I should have considered sooner and will implement myself too! Thanks very much for the share.
Lovely post, Julie. The parakeets can be such a nuisance but I’d be prepared to put up with them if feeders also tempted woodpeckers into the garden. I see lots of blue tits, sparrows, starlings and the occasional robin and wood pigeon from my 2nd floor windows so it’s high time I put some feeders out!
Thankyou so much Caro, and yes I am realising that fighting those greenies is a waste of time . I’ll have to learn to live with them and luckily their presence doesn’t scare away the smaller birds so that’s a blessing. best wishes and hope you have a good gardening year, Julie
Nice post! Squirrels are really annoying. I use squirrel-proof and feeder poles too, but as you say, we can avoid them completely. So, my solution is instead of hanging bird feeder only, hanging squirrel feeders too haha
Luckily this time of year the squirrels don’t appear so much and the birds are feeding all day every day. So lovely. Thanks for your encouraging comment. Regards, Julie
It’s helpful for me. Many thanks to you. I also enjoy being able to feed the birds in my garden. But that also attracts other vermin to this feeder, and I’m always bothered by the obnoxious squirrels. I have tried a few ways but still can’t get rid of them. I find your method very interesting, and I haven’t thought of it. I will try it, and I hope it will work and get rid of annoying squirrels that.