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What could be eating the bird food?

1 day I put out some old grapes for the butterflies (not sure if they like grapes) but the next morning they were gone.

Day 2 I put out dried mealworm, grapes and suet berry mix because the robins like the dried mealworms etc  but it was all gone in the morning.

Day 3 I put out some mealworms and the robins had left some but by morning they were gone so last night I put out mealworms and suet berry mix at 8pm and by 10pm it was all gone.

Tonight I thought I'd put out some wet cat food just in case it was a hedgehog and wait to see what came to eat it but turned my back to make a drink and it was gone, I have since put out more cat food and dried cat food.

My concerns are that what ever is eating it is ok to eat it and I especially do not want to be feeding a rat. 

My husband thinks it could be a fox but I didn't think they would eat dried mealworms. 

I must try and get a wildlife camera. 

Last edited: 27 September 2017 21:08:47



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,165

    Hedgehogs, birds, cats, foxes.

    Some, or all, of the above  image

    Slugs will also eat bird food. 

    It also depends where the food is and how accessible it is to various animals. Keep an eye out for droppings - that will help determine  the animal(s) too   image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Squirrels would be my main line of investigation.

    Pigeons too will make short work of stuff.

    Foxes unlikely

    I now have some heavy duty fishing line between two trees and have hooked bird feeders onto that and now just the birds get the food.

  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    Foxes here eat the dried mealworms. Fairy is right, look out for droppings unless you are willing to invest in a infrared night time trail cam? 

    Last edited: 27 September 2017 21:15:21

  • Mark56 I'd love to get a trail camera at some point in the future but they are a bit out of budget at the mo.

    Should I carry on putting food out at night? I don't think it rats but will look out to see what droppings are around. 

  • Mark56Mark56 Posts: 1,653

    I would yes image if you sit quietly away from the food in the garden, you should be able to hear whether it is foxes or hedgehogs (lots of snuffling, I can hear mine eating from my bedroom with windows open). Failing that you could try a feeding station which only hogs/small rodents will be able to reach the food if placed against a wall/garage/shed with a tiny gap and brick placed on top

    Last edited: 28 September 2017 08:36:02

  • Mind that some food may drop on the ground (birds are not really careful when eating), so rodents are naturally attracted to where the bits drop. Get some big trays to fasten below the bird feeders, that will catch the waste.

  • Well I disturbed the creature as I was putting food out in the dark and knocked a watering can and something scurried away so definitely not fox and I hope it's not a rat. I sat outside for quite awhile and it didn't return but I hoping I haven't scared it off especially if it's a hedgehog. I did sit quite a bit back and very quiet. 

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,957

    If there's food left out at night it is most probably rats.

    I think people are getting a bit naive where rats are concerned. They will increase, from one pair of rats you will get 2,000 in a year.  They seem to be slightly bigger than they used to be.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • I agree with Lyn ... most food put out at night will be taken by rats ... we feed hedgehogs but we do it in an enclosed space which we monitor carefully to ensure it's not attracting rats.  

    Why are you putting birdfood out at night? image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,957

    i was about to say that wildlife cameras are not for the faint hearted but on second thoughts, they are a good idea, at least you can see if you are attracting rats and then do something about.

    i know a lot of people don't like killing anything but where rats are concerned it can become a matter of them or us.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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