Getting The Birds In !!! Advice Please.

Picture 1

Hello All,

We've been feeding and attracting birds into our garden for many many years and enjoy them immensely. However, recently we have been mobbed by starlings who decimate the feeders in a matter of hours - not to mention the noisy squabbling. I have tried to devise a housing around the feeder to let the littler birds in but keeping the Starlings out. The fight was on and the design went through a few versions before we find where we are today. 

The first version of the 'cage' was some coarse rigid plastic mesh but that didn't deter the Starlings as they still got through the holes. I then put another layer of netting around that with smaller holes but with the occasional entry hole cut to size for the Sparrows, Great Tits and other Tits (picture 1). It was not the most attractive solution and it did obscure the view of the birds, but it worked. It took them a week or so but they found the random entry holes and were in and out quite happily. One downside was the occasional athletic squirrel vaulting on to the cage and chewing through the plastic mesh - several repairs were needed - however, the starlings were thwarted. This approach does mean some birds don't get to the feeders (Blackbirds, Robins, etc), but there is plenty that falls through for them to forage on the floor. The Squirrels have also now been catered for with their own feeder full of peanuts and has 'persuaded' them the effort of launching themselves at the bird feeders is just too much hard work.

I then decided to improvise and improve the plastic mesh design (Picture 2). I created an alloy sheet roof and used 25mm galvanised mesh for the sides and base - this was to beat the squirrels (just in case). In order to allow the littler birds in, I decided upon some random entry holes cut larger in the 25mm mesh and used bird box entry hole protector plates at 32mm diameter so they could access the feeders through these. Problem solved - I thought. The design was more aesthetically pleasing and provide some weather proofing and kept the seed etc dry. It didn't take the Blue and Coal Tits long to suss it out - however only using the mesh holes to access the feeders - not the carefully chosen and installed entry points. The Sparrows and Great Tits investigated but gave up completely as the 25mm mesh was too small and they couldn't seem to see of find the other entry points.

I am disappointed that they could find the holes in the plastic mesh (which I struggled to see), but not see or use the alloy entry plate holes? (Picture 3) I have now even tried and mounted a couple of curtain rings (one inside and one outside) and painted it all black in case it was the reflection from the alloy that was deterring them. (Picture 4).

Can anyone suggest why the bigger birds (Sparrows and Great Tits) are not using the holes where the entry plates are or how I may be able to encourage them in?

Thanks in advance.

  • As you've asked for advice, I have to suggest you will end up with a dead bird trapped inside at some point. The smaller birds may well be struggling to see any food through all the construction. They may also fear it's a trap or at least something they might be able to get in but not get out of.