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Feed the birds :D The wild ones!

Discussion in 'Wildlife Chat' started by Aurelia, Jun 3, 2010.


  1. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Hello and welcome.

    Having recieved an email today from the RSPB it seems the garden count is once again about to commence. Some of you may well be aware of this and have made your plans already. Some of you may not, and you may also not even feed the birds that visit your garden.

    For those wanting to take part in the country wide garden bird count, you can click on the link here to register ready to take part when it begins on the 5th June: http://www.rspb.org.uk/applications/naturecount/register.aspx

    It's an important survey, as it gives the powers that be an idea of how our countries wild birds are doing. Especially so this year after such a harsh winter.

    Now, if you don't feed your garden birds (or even if you do, but not religiously) please read on.


    We have been feeding our garden birds for a few years now. In fact when I lost my GSD Honey, my hubby bought me the first bird table, with a hope of cheering me up. His thought was that I could sit and watch the birds through the window. He was not wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and still do but on a bigger scale :D

    I've gone from having the one bird table ... to this set up:

    [​IMG]

    You can click on the image to go to the page, where you can see notes (hover over the picture) on what is what.

    The domes you see are excellent rat deterrents. This is one of the main reasons why people choose not to feed birds, so they are great! We still get the odd rat, but that's because we are rural on farm land. Not something we can stop regardless of feeding the birds or not.


    Something you need to bare in mind if you do start feeding your garden birds. You need to keep it up. You can't buy feeders, fill them up and then leave the for weeks empty. If you attract birds (like you will with the right location and variety of food) they will depend on it. Especially this time of year when they are feeding babies.

    You must NOT feed bread to the birds, or bacon fat that comes from smoked (salted) bacon either. Both are really bad for birds. The bread in particular at this time of year, as the adults feed it to their babies and it is in no way nutritional for them and it fills their bellies so they feel full. Not good. Also whole peanuts are a bad idea this time of year (In fact I never put whole nuts out regardless) the adults again feed their babies with whole nuts and this results in the baby chocking to death. You can feed peanuts in a wire feeder though, whole or chopped is good. This way the adult break them up before feeding their young.

    The best food for attracting birds I find is sunflower hearts. They do eat the ones in shells (usually black) but I find every single bird that comes to the feeding station will devour the hearts. It's also less mess around your feeders as there is no more hard shells discarded everywhere, just soft skins that blow away in a breeze.

    We also have recently installed a waterfall on our pond. I find the pond alone has been of massive benefit to the birds. They love drinking and bathing in it. But now we have the waterfall it's fantastic to watch them all! They simply love it. They like to stand in the water as it flows through their talons and have a good wash in clean water.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a list of the birds we have had in our garden to give you an idea of what is possible:

    Robin
    Wren
    House Sparrow
    Tree Sparrow
    Dunnock (some call them Hedge Sparrows)
    Chaffinch
    Green Finch
    Siskin
    Goldfinch
    Reed Bunting
    Great Spotted Woodpecker
    Green Woodpecker
    White Throat
    Blackbird
    Mistle Thrush
    Song Thrush
    Starling
    Blue Tit
    Great tit
    Coal Tit
    Willow Warbler
    Magpie
    Jackdaw
    Rook
    Barn Owl
    Tawney Owl
    Swallow
    House Martin
    Gold Crest
    Pheasant
    Grey Wagtail
    Yellow Wagtail
    Pied Wagtail
    Sparrow Hawk
    Kestrel
    Collard Dove
    Wood Pigeon
    Stock Dove
    Jay
    Mallard (the odd couple turn up with their young)
    Morehen
    Coot
    Red Partridge
    Longtailed Tit
    Redwings
    Fieldfare
    Chiffchaff
    Turtle Dove

    I've probably forgotten a few as well!

    You are more than welcome to view a slide show of all the birds and other wildlife I have photographed, both in my garden, and my surrounding area (though I apologise for the odd rouge picture of birds in sanctuaries and zoo's). CLICK HERE to watch.


    The owls come, I believe because we keep the garden and driveway in a way that attracts the small mammals. We don't cut back the verges, we let the rushes and other tall weeds grow.

    Of course if you also let your weeds grow, or just have lots of large spreading plants, this will also attract frogs and all manner of insects, which also attracts birds.

    So there you have it ... Feed the birds!

    If you have any questions, or want a bit of advice please ask. I will endeavour to help if I can :D

    Jo xxx
     
    #1 Aurelia, Jun 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  2. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Just registered!
    We have quite a few feeders out for the birds & it is brilliant watching them, can be quite addictive some days.
    When we had all the snow I was re-filling the feeders a couple of times a day. They used to wait for me in the morning; lined up along the trees, waiting for me to dish out their breakfasts!
    As well as the feeders we also put out apples, sultanas & dried meal worms for the ground feeding birds. We've also got a pheasant who comes across from the fields who is so beautiful, I could watch them all day!
     
  3. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Yeah I forgot to mention the fruit and stuff. I normally put sultanas out purely for the blinking Starlings as we sometimes get flocks of 60+ land, and when they do they empty the feeders in minutes! :eek:

    I have actually worn the plaster away on the wall under my window ... from my knees rubbing against it all the time I've sat watching the birds :lol:
     
  4. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I was supposed to be 'working at home' when it was too icy/snowy to drive in to work during the winter .... didn't get too much done as I spent tmost of the day watching all the birds! We had so many redwings & fieldfare, birds I've never really seen before that I was glued to the window.
    I even ended up making them a 'cake' from a recipe I got from a wildlife forum :eek:, my OH was most upset as I'd never made a cake for him!
     
  5. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Ha, you just reminded me of the Redwings and fieldfares we get every year :lol:. This last winter people will have seen a lot of birds they don't usually as it was so harsh.

    Other birds were behaving quite oddly too. Our wrens started feeding from the fat balls at one stage, as everything was frozen!
     
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    They seemed to be particularly common last year. We had huge flocks in the fields near us, it was lovely to see but sad in that they were obviously so hungry they were coming in to places they wouldn't ordinarily go.
    I got some binoculars for Christmas which have been brilliant, I take them everywhere .... I look such a geek now when I go out; anorak, wellies, binoculars ... but I don't care anymore!
     
  7. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
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    Wow, another one with diverse bird species in their garden, hope you don't mind but I copy pasted your list & removed the ones we haven't seen

    House Sparrow- not many but a few
    Tree Sparrow
    Dunnock (some call them Hedge Sparrows)
    Chaffinch
    Green Finch
    Siskin
    Goldfinch- until this year we never saw them in the garden, now they have really set up home!
    Great Spotted Woodpecker
    Green Woodpecker- loads of them
    Blackbird- we name the distinctive ones!
    Mistle Thrush
    Song Thrush
    Starling
    Blue Tit- always trying to get in the open window
    Great tit
    Coal Tit
    Magpie
    Jackdaw
    Barn Owl
    Tawney Owl- the owls don't come in the garden but we hear them at night
    Swallow
    House Martin
    Pheasant
    Pied Wagtail
    Sparrow Hawk
    Kestrel
    Collard Dove
    Wood Pigeon
    Jay
    Mallard- usually they're en route to the river & stop off for a quick waddle
    Longtailed Tit

    We have redwings & fieldfare nearby along the footpath but I've never seen them actually in the garden, would love to see a goldcrest though:)
    I think we've had a nuthatch but couldn't get close enough to look & we've had warblers although I don't know which ones
    As of last week we have a cuckoo nearby, I haven't heard a cuckoo round here in years & it was lovely to hear one again
     
  8. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Oh and I forgot ChiffChaff too! :D

    I didn't know we had a Tawney Owl until one morning last year (about 3am I might add) I just happened to look out of the curtains and saw it on the lawn hunting! It was hopping around and then dived on something ... wings spread and flew off with what I think was a frog in its beak :D was really cool to see that!

    I have seen the Barnies dive bomb the voles in the garden a couple of times too. We are lucky ducks for sure!

    You have a nice list as well! I'd love to hear a Cuckoo around here, even better would be to get the chance of documenting their behaviour, or should I say their chicks behaviour!
     
  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    We had a tawny owl for a while outside, I only caught a couple of glimpses of him but heard him every night for a few weeks. We used to get very excited when we heard him ... that & seeing the bats out flying (they roost in our loft every year) ... we need to get a social life!!!
    Am stuck in decorating again today but have just looked out the window & seen quite a few goldfinches - they are so pretty.
    My top spot was a few weeks ago when I was out walking Toby & saw a Firecrest - apparemntly they are quite difficult to spot so i was chuffed to bits ... it made my week actually especially as my OH was jealous! :thumbup:
     
  10. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Fire crests are very very difficult to see, and quite rare, it was probably a gold crest ;) Equally difficult, but not as rare. Though they might be after the winter we just had :(

    I love the Goldies too, one of my favourites :D They are just starting to bring this years young to the feeders!
     
  11. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    :lol: It was DEFINITELY a Firecrest, we have a few gold crests in the wood where I saw the Firecrest. My OH kept insisting it must have been a Gold Crest....he was just miffed he didn't see it. I've heard it a couple of times but not seen it but it's a bit difficult when I've got a big dog with me who just wants to chase rabbits & I'm trying to keep him quiet!
    One of my faves are the long tailed tits; they are just so sweet to look at, little balls with tails!
    I keep getting distracted from the painting as there's loads of young starlings out at the moment & a few Great tits, they're making quite a racket but lovely to watch
     
  12. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Well then you are very lucky indeed! :D Don't suppose you had a camera with you did you? I've yet to see one myself, I think I have heard one before, but not 100% sure.

    I love LLT too :D As for the Starlings! Not only do they make a racket but they also shoot poo like nothing else! messy little buggers. But I love them because they keep the lawn relatively free of Crane Fly larvae :D
     
  13. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Wooohooo! I can add Turtle Dove to my garden list :D I also have photographic proof! but they are grab shots :lol: I was shaking too much to get anything decent :lol: I'll post one up later!
     
  14. Paul Dunham

    Paul Dunham PetForums Senior

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    Show us the proof then. Turtle doves are pretty rare. Are you sure it wasn't a Collard dove?
     
  15. Aurelia

    Aurelia PetForums VIP

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    Oh I'm sure :D

    Here's the proof!

    [​IMG]

    :D:D:D:D:D:D I'm just off to report it to the local bird register now :D
     
  16. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Wow, I've never seen one before... & a good, clear pic! :D

    I saw my first jay in ages at the weekend, I'd forgotten how beautiful they are.
     
  17. Paul Dunham

    Paul Dunham PetForums Senior

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    Yep, that sure is a tutle dove. That's fantastic.
     
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