Whilst we can all agree that feeding birds is an enjoyable past time sometimes we aren’t always feeding who we are intending to. Where we might differ is on what counts as a 'pest'. Some people like feeding all birds for example whilst others only want to feed smaller birds and find birds such as crows, pigeons and starlings as pests. Others have problems with other animals in their gardens from squirrels to even rats! Whichever category you may fall into there should be something for you in this blog. As we Look at how you can control who you feed and how to stop anyone you don’t want to.
The Paris Caged Peanut Feeder - £14.40
Earlier in 2018 research was undertaken by the University of Exeter and the B.T.O (British Trust for Ornithology) which suggest that we "may only be feeding larger species"¹ whilst we are leaving food out for our garden birds. So giving all birds a fair chance could be crucial, especially as we build towards the winter months when the food can "offer a lifeline"² when the weather is harsher.
Table of Contents
- Using feeders with Seed Trays - built-in or adding a tray to your existing feeder stops seed from going on the ground. A pile-up of a seed of the ground can definitely attract all sorts of rodents.
- Store seed correctly in airtight containers – An easy one to forget but ideally a lockable container will stop any unwanted attention to your store of seed, suet or otherwise. Have a look at our storage bins, if you aren't sure what we mean!
- Clean up after yourself – If there is a mess around the bottom of your feeders then this could attract all sorts of unwanted wildlife. Cleaning it up on a regular basis will stop this from happening.
- Damage Limitation – We have found on the farm that one of the best ways to win is to give in a little... If you use two Feeding options one protected and one not it will allow both parties the chance to eat!
- Baffles – Squirrel Baffles are a great option, but not for everybody. It depends on how you feed and where your feeders are located. Say for example you feed birds from a feeding station you can with great success add the baffle below any of the feeding points to stop a squirrel from climbing up the pole. However, if you have trees around your feeding station it won’t take long for a squirrel to work out it could jump from a branch onto the station from above. Similarly, if you look to hang a feeder underneath the baffle it works great, so long as it is hung from the lowest branch as a squirrel could jump up to the feeder. The slippery dome does work a treat not giving any purchase for squirrels to climb up. But do bear in mind they will try and find other ways around it where possible!
- Slinky - Certainly popularised by many on YouTube the squirrel slinky stops climbing squirrels in their tracks. Other cheaper alternatives include using butter or Vaseline on the pole. Be careful not to over grease though as birds can struggle to get substances off their coats.
- Chilli – This is an unusual one! But evidently, squirrels don’t like the heat, where birds don’t mind it at all. A touch of chilli powder or cayenne pepper in with your seed mix will certainly stop the squirrels from coming back anytime soon!
- Buster – These bird feeders have such a unique and clever design. Using the weight of a squirrel (or larger, heavier birds) against itself. As the squirrel lands on the feeder, a sturdy metal cage drops over the holes blocking off the food supply. Really quite an ingenious idea! Have a look at the classic to see how it works, but they also come in a variety of different sizes and for different foods.
- Feeders with No Perches – As simple as it sounds this one! If a feeder has no perches then a larger bird won’t be able to sit and eat. Smaller birds are able to cling on small purchases to eat from. Have a look at the Clingers Only Bird Feeder to see how this works in action.
- Pigeon Spacer – Say you are already using a feeder with small perches but the feeder has a tray to catch unwanted debris/ or spilt seed hitting the ground. However, the larger birds are now sitting on the tray to eat from the feeders! This is where the anti-pigeon spacer comes in! Simply attach the spacer to the bottom of the feeder and attach the tray to the other end. The birds can eat seed in the tray but won’t be able to reach the feeder. They will empty out the tray... but that means you don’t have to!
- Guardians & Caged Feeders – These are a great option for stopping larger birds or even squirrels from getting to the food you don’t want them to reach! Different sizes of mesh allow for different birds to get in! Take our ground bird feeder cage which comes in two sizes. Small Mesh hole sizes: approx 3cm x 7cm (to protect against Cats, Dogs, Rooks, Pigeons and Starlings). Where the large mesh holes 6cm x 604cm stop blackbirds, thrushes and adult starlings as well.
- Robin Feeder – Another simple yet effective way to stop big birds getting all their own way is to use an adjustable feeder like the ‘I love Robin Feeder’. The distance between the tray and dome lid is adjustable. Simply pick and choose who you want to feed!
- Secure with chain – Some birds are pretty smart! Take rooks, for example, have been known to knock feeders off feeding stations or tree hooks to spill the contents all over the place to eat as much as they want. You can secure feeders with a chain to stop this happening or the hang right feeder suspender will do the job!
This article was written by Hilary Wiles. If you have any questions or queries about the article you can email contact Hilary by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
*Quotes taken from the Daily Telegraph article; 'Bird Feeders Favour Pushy Big Birds Whilst Little Species go Hungry'