Our weather has suddenly turned cold and wet in the last fortnight and the starlings have already started stripping the Rowans. Should I start putting out supplementary food for the birds, it seems early?
I would, in fact I feed all year, although there is a view which says not to feed during summer.
There is also more pleasure being able to watch the birds all year on the feeders.
I used to feed all year too but found over the summer months a lot of food was getting left in the feeders and getting spoiled by rain.
I feed all year. At the moment it is fledgling mix and the goldfinches are after naked sunflower seeds.
I've tried to plant the garden in a way that provides lots of food, berrying shrubs (eg guelder rose, dog rose) and sunflowers but the shrubs aren't producing yet. There was already a mature elder, hazel and hawthorn so I usually just put out fat balls, seed and peanuts between Autumn and Spring when it's warmed up enough for there to be insects about. I don't think I could afford to do it all Summer to as we have at least 20 sparrows darting in and out of the hedges.
I don't feed the birds in the summer as I have the greenhouse open and I hate it when birds get trapped in there. Now that the greenhouse is closed most of the time, I will start feeding them again. Normally takes the birds a few weeks to realise that food is on offer again.
I've been feeding all year and you're right it's proving expensive but it's lovely watching them. I feed nuts, mixed seed, fat balls and a robin mix with mealworms. I have loads of sparrows, blackbirds, magpies, starlings, robins, goldfinches, blue tits, great tits and long tailed tits. I also have sparrowhawks that visit (it goes a bit quiet then) and have had a woodpecker this year. Not bed for a town garden. I'm sure there are other species but I only recognise the obvious ones.
When the weather is really good I normally see less birds 'nosing around' but today the robin, blackbird and sparrows were all lurking around so I scattered some seed and mealworms around the lawn. I'm waiting on nut supplies and a new caged seed feeder.
I agree with you Yviestevie we spent nearly £100 getting in food for the birds in March but I love to see them on the feeders. The one problem I had was that they were chucking feed everywhere and it was sprouting in the gravel in the rockery and in between the flag stones so I've had to move it onto the lawn. However it now means that I have even more birds trotting around on the lawn as well. Can't wait to see what I get in the winter.
Be careful with it on the lawn as the seeds dropped will germinate and could get all sorts growing. I have a large iron well cover that I have under the feeders which means the seeds fall onto it and the ground feeders pick them up. I still have to weed some of the gravel but nowhere as much as before. I suppose slabs would work as well.
I try to buy the bird food in bulk online as it works out much cheaper. I had decided to stop feeding the birds when we moved here because it was so expensive but people kept buying me bird food and feeders!