Forum home Wildlife gardening

The birds are eating all my bird food!


I fear this is a really silly question but how do I stop the birds from gorging themselves on the bird food that I put out for them?

When I set up my bird feeder I was hoping to see the birds up close for more than a couple of days before they'd cleaned me out.

I suppose I was expecting the birds to stop for a snack every now and again because there is so much food around but they have literally hopped in and out of the hedge from dawn until dusk.

Any suggestions or advice? Surely people don't put fresh food out every single day.



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,459

    Use a big bird feeder that doesnt need filling every day, or multiple small ones with differing foods,

    eg one with sunflower seed hearts, one with niger seed for goldfinches, fat blocks for Woodpeckers, peanut granules, mixed finch seed. Even then, I can see the level in the feeders dropping a couple of inches a day.

    .. and don't get me started on supplying live mealworms for daddy robin to feed his brood.

  • herbaceousherbaceous OxfordshirePosts: 2,310

    Hi Louise, I had a bird feeder and now I have two! At this time of year they will empty both in a couple of days, I imagine they are feeding many mouths so I never put out peanuts and I have an allegedly squirrel proof feeder. Squirrels still have a go though as do the parrots, magpies and pigeons but they just get practice.

    If I go to my daughters for more than a couple of days I always fill up as soon as I get back, I didn't expect to see any birds for a while the first time this happened as I had been told they don't waste energy looking if there is no food. Not my birds, within an hour they are back.

    Only thing that has ever slowed them down is not having their usual mix, it appears they prefer a certain brand so I just give in, lug it back from the shop by the Kg and fill up every other day. It is soooo worth it.

    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,300
    Louise B says:


    Surely people don't put fresh food out every single day.

    See original post

     I do. This time of year I fill up one feeder of mixed feed every day. In winter I also fill up with sunflower hearts every day. The peanut feeder lasts 4 or 5 days before it needs refilling,plus whatever scraps I have. It costs a small fortune!

    edit: forgot the fat balls in winter too.

    Last edited: 16 June 2016 21:27:00

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,467

    I have four large bird feeders that I fill with a special no grow mix of seeds, flaked maize and suet which I buy in 20Kg sacks from my nearest corn mill. I also have peanut holders and the rectangular feeders for fat cake (for some reason my birds do not like fat balls!) I have two niger seed feeders and I put out dried meal worms. I feed the birds all year round and love watching them busying around the various food stations.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    I'm one step off just putting the 20kg bags under the apple tree and letting them help themselves; we refill three times a day.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545

    I put out fresh mixed bird seed every day, all year.  

    At this time of year parent birds need lots of fuel so they can forage and feed their nestlings on fresh, juicy aphids and caterpillars and other insects.  When they fledge and can drink water from puddles and streams the fledglings will also eat seed so my current daily amount is 1 and a half times the norm.

    There are also fat balls in  a dispenser, suet and insect sticks in another and 5 or 6 peanut feeders, one of which is a favourite against a post and gets re-filled every day.   The others swing more in the wind so are less popular and only need to be re-filled every few days.

    Once all the breeding is over things quieten down as they eat spilled seeds form the corn harvests and berries in the woods and hedgerows and my garden.   Then winter comes and they need feeding all the way through to help them survive and be strong enough to lay good eggs in spring and sit on them.

    I don't think it's reasonable to ration food if you want to see birds frequenting your garden and help them survive and thrive.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391

    Yep, two mixed seed feeders need filling every day at the moment.  The two filled with sunflower hearts last for 2-3 days.  There are lots of young birds around at the moment as they have not long fledged and there is a shortage of natural food sources for seed feeders right now.  Consumption will drop off in time (sometimes rapidly if a sparrowhawk discovers your lttle bit of bird heaven!)

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,448

    I have a hanging bird table on which I put half a mug of no-mess mix plus any kitchen scraps.I have an old hanging basket over it to stop the woodies getting too much.I only put stuff out once a day.

    The fat ball feeder is one where only the bottom ball is available so birds have to take their turn


    The suet pellet feeder is the same with only a small bottom section


    The sunflower hearts are in a feeder with just 2 ports so once again birds have to wait their turn.


    The birds can get at the food but having to wait for a turn slows them down (a bit!).

    Last edited: 16 June 2016 22:34:39

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • sanjy67sanjy67 Posts: 1,007

    i spend more on bird food than dog food image i have three feeders, a peanut one for the blue tits and starlings (always roast the peanuts to remove the toxins that are harmful to birds) sunflower seeds in another one and in the caged feeder (to keep the starlings from emptying it on mass) i have a premium wild bird food for the sparrows, blue tits & yellow necked mice, i found buying the cheaper bird food was false economy as it is bulked out with wheat and the birds just chuck it on the floor.i put out  sultanas on the wall for the blackbirds too i had so many birds and fledglings in the garden today & the amount of bird song really just fills me with happiness, it is worth every penny image

    Last edited: 16 June 2016 22:57:59

  • We put feed out twice a day on the bird table, as well as having individual feeders of peanuts, fat balls, niger seeds and bird seed mix.  We rarely have thrush or blackbirds eating from any of the feeders, they prefer worms and snails which they find in our garden. I think the fat balls dissolve in the rain so we haven't topped them up for quite some time.

Sign In or Register to comment.