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feeding the birds

nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

we had a good few dead baby birds this year, I put it down to the cold wet weather earlier but OH has questioned what he calls the fast food outlet. Easy food with no effort is bad for us, are we doing the birds a disservice by providing food?

Has anyone got any thoughts on this? Thoughts rather than results of on line searches would be appreciated. 



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,135

    I never used to feed during summer nut, mainly because I felt birds should be finding food naturally, but we often have such bad weather, particularly at premium times for small birds , that I decided this year to keep one hanging feeder going. It has been used regularly, mainly by the sparrows, robins and tits when they have little uns. Watching the young robin visiting is very rewarding, as mum and dad often looked very bedraggled. I'd like to think I've assisted them in raising their fine, strapping youngster image

    I feel it's a helping hand for them all, rather than being their only food source, so I think I'll continue to do it. image

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

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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,255

    I think it's in the birds' nature to 'fill up' at one food resource and then move on to another - I've never seen them flit from one place to another if a lot of food is available in one place they take it.  

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027

    The RSPB suggest you should feed all year, although I have to admit to being less assiduous at filling up the feeders during the summer, hoping it will encourage them to eat more greenfly.

    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    I'm undecided. We've never had that many dead babies before, I've never fed through summer before and it's a long time since we had such a cool wet early summer here. Too many variables.

    Most od the casualties were goldfinches and green finches but that might be because that's what we've got most of. I wondered if the fat balls and sunflower seeds weren't good food for the babies

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    I feed all year round, and have done for years. As far as I can tell, the food seems to help more birds survive, but they don't eat the foods provided exclusively by any means. We regularly see parent birds with beakfuls of grubs and spiders.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,441

    I feed in the winter. In the summer the birds eat all my currants, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, mirabelles, grapes. Now there are beak peck holes in the unripe peaches. Could that be because I'm not feeding them?!

    The bird population has increased here, especially tits and blackbirds, but 20 years ago there used to be goldfinches - haven't seen one for years. Haven't seen dead baby birds either.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Hi Nut

    I don't think it hurts to keep some food out. Here in Surrey, I had some time off in Spring and found I could barely keep up with the refilling of feeders and bird baths, every day. Then I got busy at work from the end of May/into June and noticed the birds seemed to disappear into their nesting and I could get away with refilling only twice a week (happily). 

    I still kept it up but like others I guess I let it get empty for the odd day at a time, hoping to encourage the birds to eat the bugs etc instead. And I continued to see birds flitting about with bugs in their beaks suggesting the parents feed bugs to their young. 

    Apparently it's a good thing to keep the feeders stocked for the mum and dads themselves.

    I noticed the fat balls are eaten less in the height of summer, and the peanuts, maybe you could reduce those? In favour of seeds. I do.

    Whatever you do I'm sure it helps. 

    Its been an unusually wet year for sure.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    Thank you for your thoughts everyone. I've left the feeders empty for a few days, no bodies but much warmer now I'll see what happens when I fill them again.

  • Hi all, I moved into a new house a few months ago and noticed a few tiny birds chirping away quite a lot.

    I started putting out a wildbird food mix but on a few occasions when I've run out, I've resorted to bread broken up into tiny bits and found there were never left overs! I now do i mix of crumbs and seeds but do find the little birds (i believe they're sparrows?) Seem to eat all the bread before even making a start of the seeds!

    Could somebody let me know bread is ok to feed them? I have maybe 20/25 daily visitors feeding from my yard now! (As well as 3 very characteristic wood pigeons that jusy love stealing the little birds foods!) So you can imagine how often im filling up the feeding station - pigeons ate a 2kg bag of seeds in 3 days between them image !



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