The days maybe getting longer, but February marks a precarious time for garden birds. Natural resources are at their lowest coming into Spring and it’s also the start of mating season, so we can all do our bit by making safer places for birds to feed and rear their young.
Would you like to get started with bird feeding but not sure what’s involved? Follow Millbrook employee Emma as she embarks on her own wild bird adventure, sharing her tips and discoveries along the way.
Emma, why do you want to start feeding the birds?
I find watching wild birds in the garden relaxing. I have dabbled with feeding in the past but never for a long time, not enough to get the birds established. It’s something I have been meaning and wanting to do for a while, to get my family involved out in the garden, and hopefully attract some different bird species too.
Who will be helping you?
I’ve recruited my husband Dan to help with the set-up, along with my two children (aged 5 and 9). My dad is very knowledgeable so he will help as well.
Where are you planning to feed the birds?
We have a large garden, with a pet greyhound, so the bottom of the garden will be better suited. I would also like to try and attract some birds nearer to the house.
What wildlife do you have in your garden already?
A robin, hedge sparrows, pigeons, magpies and a squirrel sometimes shows his face too.
Week 1: Getting started
We set up on a freezing cold Monday morning. The Complete Feeding Station (Henry Bell) & base were easy to put together (my husband, Dan, helped). A great kit to start and good value too, especially if you want to trial feeding to see if it’s for you. One tip, the patio base is better on level ground. We pegged it into the grass for more stability.
The children had great fun filling the feeders, although the initial reaction to the mealworms was “They’re gross!”.
The birds seem wary of the feeding station at present, but we know we have to give it more time. The Henry Bell Superior Seed Mix is a good feed loved by the pigeons. We have also seen glimpses of our resident robin who is very curious about the feeders.
The peanuts remain untouched, but there is evidence of the fat balls being nibbled at. We put a couple in the feeding tray which are nearly all gone, although this could be a fox which I managed to get a picture of. I’m a bit unsure if it’s the fat balls or the pigeon he is after, it’s very hard to spot!
Despite the children’s reactions, the mealworms are by far the most popular with flocks of starlings!
I really want to try and attract more birds near the house so my children can watch them from inside. We have set up the window feeder on the dining room window and filled it with a mix of Superior Seed Mix and mealworms. No birds as yet, but we are hoping by bringing more birds into the garden with the feeding station they will migrate over to the window feeder in time.
Keep checking back - part 2 coming soon!