Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Where to Site A Bird Table Or Bird Feeder.

I havent posted in a while ...and for that I apologise. Life sometimes has a way of well, getting in our own way.


Anyway in between things going on I have still enjoyed our garden. In fact the garden is often a place of solace, of peace and quiet for me. 


 In the winter, I have to admit my time in the garden is much less, usually to fill up the bird feeders!! So when I emerge in the Spring the birds do chatter at me and my hubby. It is as if the garden is theirs and we are intruders, but of course it is really their garden after all.    


So it is good to take in the Spring garden, to look, to listen, to evaluate and we have been doing all of that and doing all the necessary after winter work. It is lovely to enjoy the Spring, the new shoots, the blooms, the new life emerging from the earth. In the trees and shrubs birds are busy nesting and the beautiful sound of birdsong fills the air from dawn to dusk now.


We continue to feed the birds as it is a busy time of year for them, finding a mate, nestbuilding and rearing young and they may need a little help. I am also frequently joined by Mr and Mrs Blackbird after any digging in the garden and Robin always appears about five minutes after I take hold of any garden fork or spade!  


In my blog Essential Wildlife Gardening Gifts I recently reviewed a lovely Bird Feeder. I was thinking that while it is good to have bird feeders in the garden it is equally important to have an awareness of where to site them. 


I have certainly made my fair share if mistakes over the years with siting bird feeders! Once in a new house I placed one right in the path of where the neighbourhood cats gathered, no good at all! 


Also last year I hung one in a tree near a big branch and all i got on that birdfeeder most of the time was two huge Woodpigeons who worked out that if they sat on the big branch and bashed the feeder it all eventually came out! Messy and while I like Woodpigeons I would like to attract a variety of birds. 


So where should you place a bird feeder ideally?

1. Out of the way of cats. Easier said than done in my experience but certainly not in the pathway of visiting cats. We have two cats who seem to make a well worn track through our garden, they appear to have the same routine so I simply avoid placing feeders on that path. Another thing you can do is to place the feeder nearby cover so the birds can fly into it when they need, but not in dense cover that a cat could hide in without them being aware of it. I have talked to neighbours about putting bells on the cats, to alert the birds they are there. Some are happy to do that, others not. 

Perhaps if anyone has knowledge of cats they can give some advice on how birds and cats can coexist in a garden? 


2. Ideally do not place feeders in the same place every year. We should be cleaning out feeders and bird tables anyway but there is still risk of disease if not cleaned enough or if the same places are overused. So move the feeders probably the best time is just before Autumn so the birds can get used to the new place before the really cold weather begins.If you have feeders out now they can stay where they are but do clean them out.   


3. If you want to watch the birds a consideration is ot place it where you can see it easily. This should not perhaps be the first consideration but is an important one as many people including me, get considerable pleasure from bird watching. 


4. It is generally not a good idea to position the feeder in an exposed windy spot. I did this once and got no birds visiting it at all! It was simply moving around way too much. The feeder, especially hanging ones may here get blown about and look unstable to the birds. If its a bird table, do make sure it is securely fastened so it does not blow over in high winds or gales, as much for your safety as for the birds. Try a quiet more sheltered area away from the winds. 



5. Feeders that can be positioned directly onto windows can be wonderful for bird watching. This can be especially useful for people who may not be able to get out as much or feel the cold and wnds but can watch birds from the comfort of their home. Or just for anyone who likes to see birds as close as possible. Just make sure that the birds would not be trapped should a predator come by, that they have an escape route or small bush  or tree to fly into for cover nearby ideally. Our birds love our dense shrubs for this.


6. If you have an existing tree or bush that has berries the birds like already (our cotoneaster seems to be a firm favourite!) you can try hanging  a feeder there too. If the birds are like ours they will eat all the berries first but then the bird seed feeder will be there for them to eat, when they have exhausted the natural food source and they will be used to visiting that tree anyway. 


7. Ideally  position the feeder where it will not get the worst of the rain or if it is not fully waterproof in downpours it may get the seed all wet and soggy.


With any bird feeder it may take a little while for them to get used to it nd so try just a small amount of food at first. Once the first brave bird has eaten from it without incident, more will follow !


So just a few ideas. It is best to try out different places in your garden and see where the birds like. You will know you got it right when you see the birds visiting on a regular basis.  


Good luck and enjoy the birds in your garden! 


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