City bird feeding. Moving house

To whom it may concern,

I am moving house in around a month and am looking for responsible tips relating to feeding birds.

I have been feeding around 20 house sparrows and the occasional blue tit for around 18months - nuts and fat balls mostly. I am moving house and worry they have become reliant on this food source.

I would appreciate any advice on the most responsible way to exit this situation, as I cannot guarantee that the new renters will be keen bird feeders like me. I’ve read lots of reassuring information that the birds will likely find their own natural food sources but as they appear to have become reliant on the plentiful amounts of food we have supplied them with, I worry that once this has gone they may struggle to find food easily. I am sure this is irrational as there is a big park over the road where lots of these birds live, I just can’t help but worry I have created a problem!

What is the best course of action from here onwards? I have around a month until we move - should I start to ween them off of the supply now, and if so how? I have a big bag of bits and some fat balls, and put regular water out


  • Hello Lauren and welcome to the community forum. Birds in general are extremely resourceful (they will never totally rely on what people feed them and won't starve so please don't worry ! ) they will seek food in other areas whether it is natural foods which can be abundant at this time of year or at other feeding stations. I would suggest you gradually reduce the amount of food you put out for them, maybe just one fat-ball or a few nuts in the feeder and only have the one feeder out; when it runs out each day, do not refill it and then the birds will seek food elsewhere to top up on what they need.     Finally, good luck with your move and hope you continue to enjoy bird watching. 


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • I agree with Hazy re current population. The problem will be when they try and breed. Sparrows in particular, IMO are invasive, and can easily get to unsustainable populations given the right conditions. It may be the case where you are. Adults will find it hard to find food for young in those situations. In the short term, assuming it'll be another mild Winter, those there now should be able to get by.
  • Hi Lauren, I agree with the above comments too, I have fed the birds for a number of years and found that if I let them fend for themselves during the summer months they only return slowly later in the year when I start again, evidently quite happy to look for the natural food. The number of sparrows must have reached 50 this year in the Spring, now there are maybe half a dozen coming in when I put out a feeder of sunflower hearts if the weather turns cold. I know that later on the garden will be full once again when all their natural food has disappeared. Good luck with your move and don't worry, you will probably miss them more than they miss you:-)

    Lot to learn