Too many birds?

Hi all. I have two seed feeders and one suet ball feeder in my garden. In the last couple of weeks the number of birds visiting my garden at any one time has grown a lot. Sometimes there are 15 birds there together. A lovely sight, but I have noticed that since the juvenile starlings have started coming (sometimes 6 at a time) they have been squabbling with the smaller birds and dominating the suet feeder for the whole duration of their visit. Is there something I should do to help this? Should I put up a second suet feeder so there's more room for them? Or is there a way I can deter the starlings?

  • Hi Zelly, at this time of year the feeders are busy with all the parents feeding their young. The starlings or the school bullies as I call them, do take over. You can fill up all the feeders with a choice of different things, and they are over everything. You could place feeders in different places and scatter some seed on the ground, at this time of year hopefully it will all be eaten, so not much chance of attracting mice and rats. Good luck.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Caged feeders might provide a solution - different birds have different abilities. Bigger birds can't of course get into small cages.

    We had problems with squirrels and magpies devouring the fat balls so I got a large cage to surround the fat ball feeder. We have another commercial ball caged feeder and then we have a squirrel-proof perching feeder on a spring which closes up with heavy things like squirrels.

    So my suggestion is look after the little birds by providing them a nice safe cage to eat in. My theory is that they manage this fine as it is like being in a bush to them, and they feel a bit more secure as they feed.

    What I have also noticed is that birds can be motivated enough to overcome obstacles. Robins are not agile, but we've noticed that over the last few months, the robins have persisted and learned how to get inside the cage and perch on the sprung feeder, even though they don't have the agility of the tits. Finches aren't very agile, so don't bother with the caged feeders, but the sprung feeder perches seem to be too small for the bigger birds to cope with so they happily visit (and their weight should close the feeder anyhow, but we've not seen them try to use it).

    Also, experiment with different mixes of feed to see what you can attract.