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15 messages
05/10/2012 at 22:01

Hi - I have a small wildlife pond which has a simple pump, pumping out water over a rock and back into the pond so that the water stays fresh.  Unfortunately I have made the big mistake of putting it quite close to a seed feeder and the seed falls into the pond - an incredible amount of seed as it turns out.  The only way of cleaning it out is to take the whole pond apart, disconnect the pump, take out all of the rocks and then spend a few hours with a fine net trying to scoop up the seeds   It will be such a shame to fill the pond in with soil or rocks, as the birds do drink from it.  I have a small garden, and there is nowhere else for the pond to go without a lot of disruption unfortunately.  Has anyone got any ideas?  I already have the seed tray attachment on the bottom the seed feeder, but this just seems to encourage pigeons, who are the main culprits for spilling the seed (wish they would sod off, but that's not going to happen any time soon!).  Any ideas very gratefully received!  Thanks.

05/10/2012 at 22:08

You could try melting some lard to mix with the seed and put this into a yogurt pot which has a hole in the base with a string threaded through.  When it sets you can hang it up and only the smaller birds can feed from this.  You could also try just putting some of the larger bits in the seed mix (like the corn) and some other scraps on the floor and hopefully the pigeons will fill up on this first! 

05/10/2012 at 22:24

Is there no where you could move the feeder to - it wouldn't have to be too far from the pond - just enough. Is it a push into the ground spike or concreted in? I am afraid I wouldn't go with the previous suggestion as you would have not only seed but fat in the filter too - ugh but you are going to have to move the feeder.

05/10/2012 at 22:28

Good point Daintiness!  I somehow wrongly thought that the seed tray attachment would catch the bits

06/10/2012 at 07:06

I'm not convinced that a pump is the best way to oxygenate a pond. It works, but is not the best way. Better to have some oxygenating weed, such as elodea. That also makes a nice habitat for tadpoles and other water creatures. But don't add elodea now, do it in the Spring.

Ponds should be cleared out as infrequently as possible. The animals quite like mess, and they don't like distrubance. Some might like to overwinter in the mud, if the pond and the mud are both deep enough.

I'd be inclined to live with the present situation. If a lot of seed is floating on the surface, just skim it off. If, over time, so much seed has fallen into the pond that it completely silts up, then just trawl out a bucketfull of the mud. Don't think of taking it apart to clean it.

06/10/2012 at 07:26

Move the feeder.

As for pumps and ponds, sometimes a pond is too small for oxygenating plants to work - in nature a small pond like this would just become full of blanket weed etc and then dry up.  Because we humans sometimes need to make work things that would be unworkable, we sometimes need some extra help and a pump is better than nothing.  But of course in any pond oxygenating weed helps provide good wildlife habitat.

06/10/2012 at 13:18

I read the opening post last night and my immediate thought is if you can't move the pond then move the feeder but that seemed too obvious

Lunarz -put us out of our misery-there must be a reason why you haven't done this already?

06/10/2012 at 19:25

Thanks everyone for the ideas.  The pond is very, very small - probably only 2 foot by 3 foot and 2 foot deep, and it is a plastic moulded one so no mud at the bottom (only about 3 inches of seed all over the pump and the bottom).  I tried various oxygenators for a couple of years, but the pond always ended up the same - water that was literally black and smelt absolutely terrible.  Nothing would drink from it and nothing would live in it.  Since I have got the pump, which has a very fine mesh filter to avoid sucking through wildlife, the little pond is swarming with life.  But, having left the seed for several months, it is getting that awful smell again.  As to the feeder sotongeoff - the feeder hanging has been a complete saga which has involved me, up a ladder, many times with lots of string and little bits of sticks and a pair of secateurs to make a spot for the feeder that fits in with the ivy, hawthorn, has a branch over-head to hang the hook on and (I am embarrassed to say) a little ladder type thing for the squirrels and mice to get to the tray underneath it.  So it really would be easier to move the pond   Yes, it has been pointed out to me that I might take this wildlife gardening a bit too far somtimes....

06/10/2012 at 21:09

I wonder if this type of feeder would deter those pesky pigeons?


06/10/2012 at 21:10

Oh - it looks as if the picture hasn't worked!  It's one of those cage types with the feeder inside to protect the small birds from predators.  Only the little birds can get inside to feed. 

06/10/2012 at 21:39

Yes, they would caroline - that's a good idea, thanks.  Unfortunately though they would also deter the squirrels, which I am soft and feed too.  Mind you, perhaps I could put up a squirrel feeder elsewhere.... I do find that those cage feeders are quite hard to clean out too - have you ever used one?  I'd be interested to hear if you have ever used one that can be taken apart and cleaned.  I use the ring-pull feeders at the moment which completely dismantle for cleaning in the dishwasher - bliss.  I think I might have to swap the pond for a more formal water feature which is higher up and so would block a lot of the seeds.  If only there were no pigeons or starlings I would be OK - we can all wish I guess 

06/10/2012 at 21:51

I'm another soft squirrel feeder too Lunarz!  Our regular is particularly fond of monkey nuts in their shell.  I haven't tried one of those cage feeders sorry but I have got a little wooden bird house which I put sunflowers seeds in and the tits love going in there to find a treat.  I put a false bottom inside it as it was too deep for them in the beginning - how soft is that!  One blue tit likes it in there so much he has often spent the night in there!  Good luck - wildlife gardening can be quite a challenge

15/10/2012 at 16:01

You'll be glad to hear that sanity has been restored and I have moved the feeder - I have also replaced one of the other feeders with the mother of all feeders - 12 feeding holes - instead of having one with a tray attached - so the pigeons can't eat from it.  Not looking to clearing out the rockery and pond mind you - I know what I am doing on Saturday

15/10/2012 at 17:19

Congratulations! I have just moved my bird feeders closer to the house so I get a great view whilst staying warm. The birds are beginning to come back to the garden now it is getting colder. Good timing on your part  - enjoy!   

15/10/2012 at 18:59

Today seems to be the day when the birds have returned to the feeders both at my workplace and here at home - last night must've been a cold one.  We've had goldfinches, greenfinches, robins, blackbirds, Gt tits and bluetits, a nuthatch and two jays - oh, and two cheeky squirrels making off with the peanuts 

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