Good morning everyone.
Finally back online having survived the move to our new home and glad to learn that---despite warnings that the higher the altitude, the lower the biodiversity level---we have as our neighbours many of the birds we left behind in the relative lowlands. A female Great Spotted Woodpecker frequents the (large) garden and Green Woodpeckers and Black Woodpeckers call from the forest behind. Great, Blue, and Willow/Marsh (can't tell which yet) tits are daily visitors, as are Chaffinches and Greenfinches. We have to be careful not to step on the Black Redstarts, which also spend the night on the stone lintels of our windows, and while the first Swift slithering under the tiles sent me up to the attic, that's now a regular occurrence (the Swifts, not the attic-bound dash) so perhaps they're breeding up there.
In the valley, 'we have' both Black and Red Kites, and have seen Sparrowhawks and Common Kestrels from the garden, the only raptors we've left behind us being (for the time being) Honey Buzzards and Peregrines. Although we were very happy to learn that the Peregrine nest we have been observing for months was a success and yielded three healthy young ones, who are currently testing their wings. Finally, one of 'our' 50 or so nesting boxes in the vineyards has produced nine (now ringed) Wrynecks; a much better year apparently than last year.
Our drive over the closest pass (at around 1,500m) brings us tons of chats and pippits, with deer and hare in the forests.
Along with all of the above, a pair of Red Squirrels---the subject of my question today---are daily visitors to the garden. We would like to feed them, but would also like to feed the birds without allowing the squirrels to empty whole feeders in minutes.
Any advice on feeding Red Squirrels and birds side-by-side would be helpful, particularly advice on specific feeders. For those who haven't come across me before, we're in Switzerland, so we'd be looking for an organisation/company (like NHBS for example) that ships abroad. And---based on our understanding that what mankind's doing to the natural and the built environment has a significant detrimental effect on bird life---we feed all year round (but avoid, at the appropriate times, foods that are dangerous to fledglings).
All the best -
I have been visiting the Isle of Wight where most people seem to use the little box feeders with a clear front so the red squirrels can see what's inside, and a hinged lid which they soon learn to open. At the nature reserve hide they use these plus "squirrel proof" hanging feeders and it seems to work. Amazon sell them, or it doesn't look too difficult to make yourself
2013 photos & vids here
eff37 on Flickr
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