Monday, 7 March 2011

Wildlife gardening Part2 Feeders

Probably the best way to attract wildlife into your garden is to provide a supply of food. You can of course do this by planting plants that are good food sources such as Sunflowers , Teasels etc, but these only supply food when they are in seed. In order to provide an all year supply you need to use feeders.

We use several different types containing different food types tailored to the different birds we get in the garden.

The first type is the general mixed seed feeder. We have a couple of these, the mix contains sunflower seeds, corn, maize and a mix of other seeds. It attracts a variety of birds, mainly Sparrows, Chaffinches, Blue tits, Great tits and Robins. Occasionally Starlings will have a go but generally they clear up dropped seeds with the help of Collard Doves, Pheasants, Dunnock and wood Pigeon.

The next feeder is the Peanut feeder, This is a good source of high energy food for birds such as tits which will feed from it during the breeding season while providing live food collected from the garden for their young.

This is our newest feeder and contains Red Millet, this small seed is very popular with Tree Sparrows. A friend of ours in the Village has been feeding Red Millet for a couple of years and has attracted up to 50 birds into his garden at any one time which is really encouraging for a bird that is actually quite rare in the UK.

The other specialised feeder we have is this Niger Seed (Thistle) feeder. This feeder is specifically for Goldfinches. A word of warning about Niger Feeders, firstly the seed is very expensive, secondly the birds will empty it in a day and thirdly it makes a huge mess, we have ours over concrete so the mess gets cleared by ground feeding birds, if you put it over soil you will get a crop of thistles. Having said all this it is my favourite feeder as we get up to 10 Goldfinches into the garden at a time and they are among the most beautiful of all British Birds.

Finally a brief note about location. This mixed feeder is at the far end of the garden close to some of the nest boxes. This has a double purpose, first to attract birds to where the nest boxes are and then to provide any nesting birds with a handy food supply.

It is also important to place feeders in positions that are predator free and near a source of water. The other important thing is place the feeder where you can see it, I can see all of ours from the window in my office where I keep a pair of Binoculars handy to help me de stress during the day.

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