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bird feeders

I have, for many years, made fat balls for the many little birds which come to our garden.  This was great, until the squirrels and magpies found them, and then it became impossible, because a) they ate them all in ten minutes and b) the little birds were too aftraid to come near.  I bought a peanut feeder with a very wide mesh cage around it, the small birds are supposed to go into it to eat, the bigger creatures  are not supposed to be able to get in.  However, it has hung in the same place as the original feeder for 4 months, and the small birds sit around looking at it, but none will go in to feed!!  The metal mixed seeds feeder gets emptied much as ever - with a little help from the squirrels, but on the whole that is OK.  How on earth can I get the little birds to go inside the cage and use the fat balls?  Anyone any bright ideas about it - thanks. 



  • I find that at this time of year very few of the garden birds are interested in any of the feeders - the goldfinches are taking a few seeds from one of my feeders, but they're not really i!nterested - I've not filled the feeders for 4 weeks, although earlier in the year I was refilling once, sometimes twice a day.  

    I think that as the weather gets colder and the birds need the high energy that the fat gives you'll find them feeding from your fat balls.


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

  • I have noticed that they feed madly at the feeders when they have young then disappear for awhile.If you have a feeder near a bush it helps to protect the little birds from predators such as sparrow hawks as they can dive for cover.Very often when you put up a new feeder they wont accept it for a long while very suspicious or if you move it.

  • higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184

    Yes I agree with everyone else, there aren't so many birds around at the moment as there is still an abundance of natural food about (caterpillars, worms etc as well as fruit) When the weather gets colder they will come back in.

    To answer your question though the only thing I do to ensure all species get a bit of something is feed different types of food in different types of feeders? I have about 8 feeders in my garden + a bird table, all of these are positioned so that everything gets a chance of some food! Maybe try feeding your fat balls in two different feeders in seperate areas?

    I have to say that fat balls and peanuts are the only things getting eaten in my garden at the moment but it's not by the small birds....






     Surely all birds are welcome in the garden whatever their size!?....


  • i must admit i have still gots feeding time at the zoo on mine.. the starlings which have now got full adult plumage feed of the suet pellets as do all the birds.. loas sparrows and finches and robins..

    I have gone down to 5 feeders for mo.. and they have wild bird seed in the fav at the moment and suet pellets, and sunflower hearts.. do not do peanuts as they never got eaten.. i have taken some pictures of the bird feeders i said about and how esy they are to clean..



     this is with the lid and bird rest taken out.



     and stripped down to bear tube...



     and all the bits ready to go back together..



     and sat having final dry off before bput botton and lid back on.



     and in use..

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    dear gardening fanatic - your pictures are excellent, thank you.  Is the green tubing made of plasti or metal  If plastic, the squirrels will have bitten through it in the first couple of days, and will have lifted the roof before I get the back door closed, I have to wire everything on to the feeders.   I don't object to many birds, but magpies and pigeons I'm afraid are off my radar altogether, the damage they do is quite extraordinary.  I do have different types of feeders around, it is just this one with the fat balls (which aren't balls at all, but narrow tubes as I set the mixture in small plastic drinks bottles - that size just fits the peanut feeder) has become impossible, being completely cleared byt he squirrels and magpies in about 10 minutes - and I cannot keep that rate of feeding up with the best will in the world - and as far as squirrels and pigeons are concerned, let alone magpies, I don't have the best will in the world.  I know these caged feeders are sold everywhere, so they must be used, just not by my birds.  They are using all the others that the magpies and pigeons cannot perch on  - yet.  The squirrel gets on there and just sucks the seed down like a small vaccuum cleaner - you can literally see it falling down the tube, at a kilo at a time, that is beyond me too - hence I want the small birds to use the caged feeder - maybe when they get hungry enough in poorer weather they might.  

  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    Bookertoo, I think you're right to wait until the colder weather, I bet your caged fat-tubes will be popular then. Last winter I was given fat-balls that are encased in little green nets and took the nets off to make it easier, I thought, for the little birds. I had them in a feeder which is a spiral of strong wire.  When I spotted a squirrel reaching in and grabbing handfuls of the food because he couldn't get his teeth on it, I decided to leave the little green nets on after all. That spiked his guns!
    I like your idea of making the food in tube shapes to fit the peanut feeders, I'll give that one a go.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Hi FloBear, when I have made the mixture I spoon it  warm into the bottles, with the narrow bit cut off, then when I want one, take it from the fridge and slice down the side - and into the feeder it goes.  You will have to experiment with different soft drink or water bottles to find which will fit your feeder,  you might even have to change the families taste in drinks!!!  

  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    Many thanks Bookertoo. I shall indeed tailor the drinks menu to suit the feeders ;- )

  • @bookertoo.. they are metal.. the only plastic is the hole liners and the soft rubber perch covers.. must dmit i do not suffer squrriels.. but my mum used to.. she made little one sided open huts for there hazelnuts.. that kept them off the other feeders..

  • sorry.. hadnt finished.. she would fix them to the trees.. so they wouldnt bother coming into the garden area.. dunno if this will help.

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