Feeding Birds discussion (questions/answers)

Because we currently have so many questions regarding the feeding of birds, types of bird food and feeder choices, I have decided to start this thread off so people with similar questions (or answers) can tag them on here.    A lot of the regular photo threads are being taken off topic which I understand the Moderators frown on;       some threads unrelated and not dedicated to the important questions regarding the feeding of birds/feeders are turning into question and answer replies so thought it more helpful if everyone can ask their questions or provide answers here.  

i'll kick this off with a question someone asked about mealworms.

Live mealworms:   best kept in cool area (garage/shed)  in large plastic tub open or aerated.    use a couple of sheets of scruched up newspaper as base for the worms to crawl around,  feed mealworms with special bran (see supplier)  or you can thinly slice potato, green beans, carrots or sprigs of broccoli, etc, as they need to eat.   Clean them out every two or three days;  I use a metal sieve and replace the newspaper with clean but put fresh food in each day for them.      The mealworms can be placed into special feeders designed for mealworms and suet pellets,  or you can place them in a small bowl;   I have to protect the mealworms from squirrels, corvids and larger birds like blackbird so place them in a bowl inside a ground guardian cage set to narrow mesh size.    In order to keep the mealworms dry (from rain, snow, hail etc.)   I use a piece of thick rubber pond liner which I drape over the roof of the guardian cage.    Mealworm/suet squirrel proof feeders, rather than hanging them, can be placed flat under a protected bird table or similar to keep dry although I find the feeder itself is fairly weather proof in itself unless you get driving rain and winds.    

Please feel free to ask or answer questions on the feeding of birds here.     




Regards, Hazel 

  • I thought I would put my question here as it's a good idea for a thread! How do you all get on with dried meal worms. How long would a kilo last (in an average garden) & should you soak them!

    Best wishes

    Hazel in Southwest France

  • Unknown said:
    but there are shops like Wilkos, B & M Bargains, Home Bargains, etc, that sell bird food at reasonable prices - but once again, beware of the mixed seed containing wheat as although it sounds like a cheap way to feed birds, the wheat is often wasted and you end up throwing half of the content away when it is discarded by the birds.

    I hear that! I've been doing the rounds of the pound shops and discount supermarkets. Their suet and even their high-energy mixes have a lot of wheat and that red dari stuff in them, too.

    No squirrels and few pigeons about here, but lots of crows, so my bird feeding revolves around a bunch of feeders in semi-rotation (seed, peanut/pellet, sunflower heart, nyjer, fatball), and a guardian cage with a mesh tray. I still scatter some seed in the open, because there's usually quite a lot of chaffinches who don't seem to fancy the cage. (They're taking a shine to the hanging feeders this year, tho) Been thinking of using smaller seed to see if that puts off the crows. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but I've bought a bag of parakeet seed - lots of millet, canary seed, linseed etc. I'll cut it with kibbled no-grow mix, peanuts, and sunflower hearts, see how that goes.

    I do give the crows an occasional something in another area - they get the cheap wheat-filled stuff.

  • Just watching half a dozen Starlings busily feeding on & fighting over a lump of pastry embedded with sunflower hearts & suet pellets which I put in open dish on ground!

    Had some of that small seed variety last year Warren & no takers!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Hi

    I like to put out some food for the birds around this time of year however the neighbour has a new cat so I'm a bit wary of that.

    Is it ok to put some food out in the local woods? If so what should I put out?


  • Morning John,  you could still enjoy feeding birds in your garden by using this type of method:        i use a CJ Wildlife freestanding pole and you can get metal hook attachments to hang the feeders on - it would take 4 hooks with no problem plus a top feeder that slots on to the top of the pole - there is a plastic screw type attachment you can purchase although some feeders (like some of the Gardman) will slot on to the pole with no problem as long as it has the opening underneath.   

    a freestanding feeder pole with a baffle dome beneath the feeders which prevent a cat climbing up to the feeders (also prevents squirrels raiding feeders)  you just have to ensure the pole is far enough away from any "launching pad" that a cat could jump from but close enough for the birds to dive for cover should a sparrowhawk pay a visit !   2 metres should be adequate distance.      

    At this time of year and shorter daylight feeding hours the birds tend to opt for high fat and protein foods like peanuts, kibbled peanuts, fatcake, suet pellets and maybe sunflower hearts as a seed choice.     You can also make homemade pastry as a cheaper alternative using plain flour, lard, (economy supermarket own brands are ok) to which you can add such ingredients as sunflower hearts, handful of grated mild cheddar cheese, suet pellets, mixed seed.     Bind together with just enough water to bring the mix together and so it is not too sticky.    You can place it in a fat-ball or fat-cake feeder and most birds will love it.

    If you are heading out to your nearby woodland you can scatter a few nuts or mixed seeds, sunflower hearts on fallen logs, etc   but I wouldn't take any feeders as often they get taken - either by thieves or squirrels !!!       Good luck and hope next door's new cat behaves !! 


    Regards, Hazel