New to feeding birds


Because I have 2 cats I’ve not really fed the birds much over the years as they didn’t tend to come to the food because of the cats. However I’ve just bought this metal pole feeder and put it out yesterday in the middle of the garden so cats are not able to get at it. I only saw a pigeon and magpie try to use it yesterday and a robin get on for the bacon fat in the mesh bowl  and a drink.

Came home at 2pm today to find mealworms from the left dispenser empty (was full). Bird mess all over bay window and big piles of what surely cannot be bird droppings under the stand (looks more like car, dog or Fox it’s that big lol). I obviously don’t want all the food to be taken by 1 or 2 large birds and would like the smaller birds to share. Does the pole look ok ? Did I put the mesh bowl too close to the mealworms so that a bird has just bashed them out as I cannot see how they could of all gone in half a day. Any advise appreciated. Thankyou 


  • Hi Cjj welcome to the community from Sheffield.
    It may take some experimenting with food to see which your birds like but most of us find Sunflower hearts the best option for most birds, I assume the feeders came with the pole as a feeding station.
    You may find if it gets busy you could do with feeders that will take trays attached to them to stop food spilling on the floor and making a mess.
    I don't bother with the water dish on my because the bird droppings get in it.
    You will have to see what birds you get when you have some time to sit and watch.

    My Flickr photos

  • Hi Alan

    Thankyou so much for this. I didn’t realise the pole would include feeders so I bought my own lol and kind of doubled up. Yes the water is already quite dirty from food. Do you think the pigeon ate the whole tube of mealworms ? I have some black poppy seeds to put out too. What are sunflower hearts please ? Thankyou
  • I should remove the water tray as dirty water with droppings in can spread disease, could the black poppy seeds be black sunflower seeds?
    Where do you get your seed from?
    ,Most places will do a small bag of hearts for you to try, they are just the black sunflower seeds without the husk on.

    One bird that would clean out a bird feeder of mealworms is a starling or two.

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Hi Alan

    Some of the food came in the box with the feeding pole and I bought the rest in home bargains. Thanks for the links Alan I will try those next.

  • Hello Cjj, welcome from up into very far north of Scotland, in Caithness. That looks like the feeding station I have. I also have taken away the little water dish and mesh feeding tray as I found the birds were pooing in them when at the feeders. I feed nuts, bird seed, sunflower hearts, Niger seed (many do not as their birds never take them) and fat balls. We have all the usual garden birds, they all have their favourite feeder. Sparrow, starling, Robin, blackbird, all the finches, blue and great tit, collard doves and at present a pheasant family (we are in the country) mum, dad a three babies who are gobbling the food. I feed them simple mixed grain, it is very cheap, so I don't mind. Your feeder looks in the right place and I can see that the birds have the foilage to fly back and forth to, to hide and take their food, to eat. The starlings (if you have them) will almost certainly empty everything, I call them the school bullies!! We have a wee tabby cat, have always had cats and to be honest they would watch in interest, as is their natural instinct, but have very rarely taken any birds. They were great mousers and rabbit catchers!

    Something that we on here feed the birds, is home made pastry. Mix shops own brand flour and half the quantity of fat/lard, add seed, grated cheese and or suet, pieces of dried fruit, chopped nuts and a small amount of water to mix to a pastry. Keep in the fridge for a few hours and you can either shape to fit the feeders or pull of pieces and squeeze around the tree or shrub branches, or your feeding frame. Be warned they love it so you will have to keep making it!!
    Good luck.

    Looks like you need to get the mop and bucket out for the Windows! Some big poo marks there, it is amazing what a mess they can make!

    PS Regards the feeders you could try hanging some on hook in amongst the trees and bushes at the back of the feeder, that way they will be spread out and maybe the wee ones will have a chance of feeding. 

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Thankyou Catlady for your very helpful answer. I’m going to try making that then :)
    I feel much more knowledgable thanks to you and Alan :)
  • The culprits were starlings. They just visited again. Over 20 of them using feeders or underneath hoovering up. Sky was full of them too hehe
  • Beautiful birds Cjj; love 'em.

    Best regards -
  • I get them too but a lot more than 20 they are like locusts LOL, for them you are better using homemade pastry it works out a lot cheaper.

    My Flickr photos

  • Somewhere, I've a video I took many years ago of starlings doing a garbage can in New York's China Town. One medium-sized garbage can, at least two hundred starlings... like watching vigorously boiling water...