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W Sheffield Great decrease in small birds Even in snow birds dont seem to want to visit bird feeders
During the worst of the weather I did not get so many birds, now, still snowy I have blue tits, coal tits,goldfinches, long-tailed tits, pigeons, chaffinches, thrush,fieldfare, siskins, woodpeckers, robins. My neighbour had a goldcrest and a friend sent me lovely photos of a woodcock in her snowy garden.Margaret, Cardross
I answered the call to feed the birds and went and bought three different feeders for peanuts, seed and fatballs. I trudged through the snow at the end of the garden and hung them out, two from the top of the arbour and another from the apple tree and waited for 3 days. NOTHING! So, very disappointed, I put out apple, orange, oats and a bit of pork fat I had, plus a container with water, on a tray which I put up on the top of the arbour. NOTHING! Meanwhile, my neighbour has dozens of little birds around his one, tiny, little feeder. I'm upset - where have I gone wrong? The garden has trees, grass, shrubs - what else can I do to lure the birds to my feeders?
I have kept up with replenishing my bird feeders and tables. Both hanging feeders and ground tables. I have always put suet granules out as well as different seed mixtures and suet blocks. I have a family of squirrels which visit but I found if I put some peanuts high up on a tree away from the other feeders it gives the small birds a chance. Over this terrible cold weather I have had more birds than ever. 5 x robins feeding together, which is not usual as they normally fight each other off. 10 x Blue Tits, then various, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits. I have a visiting Black Cap for the first time, a Song Thrush the first for ages, a Wren, Blackbirds, Green Finches, Chaffinches, a Bull Finch, then various, Pigeons, Mapgpies and a few Crows. I count myself lucky to see so many species so close to the house, and it is a struggle to get any work done when I have such a wonderful display. I have kept the bird baths free from ice every day and cleaned them thoroughly, as the birds still need their drink, and to clean their plummage to keep it in good condition. I put warm water in the baths which went down so well it looked like the local bird swimming baths.
I was delighted to see a mistle thrush in my garden until I watched it chase all the ground-feeders away. It's been feasting on apples but won't let the blackbirds near. I've had blue tits; great tits (& even long-tailed tits - not seen before) but hadn't seen the usual gold finches around until I saw just one today. Sun flower hearts are most popular in the feeders.


I have put up a fat ball feeder and have a bird table too. I am seeing a good variety of familiar birds, a pair of blue tits which used the box last year, a robin various sparrows ,starlings , a pair of blackbirds , some wagtails and during this cold snap a song trush has been seeking for food under my large ceonothus. I'm delighted. It has however taken three years to get this far so keep going. The locals get to know and rely on us to feed them.
Nice to hear about woodcocks, blackcaps and goldcrests visiting the garden... although they can't have been having a good time lately! Rosemary62 - stick with it. I used to live on the 6th floor of a high rise flat in central Manchester, and after a year of hanging feeders from my balcony, the birds finally came. First were the greenfinches, then blue tits, then chaffinches. No trees, shrubs, or anything. I'm sure the birds will be along to your feeders soon. Everything's thawed here now - hoping the birds are finding it easier.
My usual bird friends have been coming closer to the house as I could not venture out to their normal feeding stations but just threw their food out on the snow from the kitchen door. They were joined by flocks of fieldfares and redwings until the holly, pyracantha and cotoneaster berries had been stripped. They then moved further afield but I photographed them through the window. Pied wagtails have deserted the roads and come into the garden for the seeds too. Robins feeding together? Could they not have been redwings?
This cold spell I've seen our usual visitors, blackbirds, robin and longtail tits. A flock of fieldfares were in the tall trees for a few days but only a couple came down to feed and are still here, the others gone. It has been difficult to keep water unfrozen. We saw the birds eating snow and also a female blackbird bathing in snow ! A pair of bullfinches called in as usual each winter but the berries had mainly been eaten or damaged by the frost. I think the reason that there arent more birds around is because more people have been putting food out and some birds have died in the unusual cold.
All the normal birds eating us out of house & home, only one rook will take food from my hand, could he learn to talk? he has been coming for over a year now.
I have had more birds than ever during the snowy weather but the most fascinating thing I saw was 2 magpies (not normally my favourites) playing in the snow. They were diving headfirst into it and jumping about rather like my dog does. Reason tells me they were probably just using the snow instead of water or dust to clean their feathers and get rid of pests but I have to say they really looked like they were enjoying themselves.
How do I stop my neighbours cats from eating on my birdtable. my own cat doesnot jump on as she was trained from birth . The others jump off when they see me but are gone before I can throw water at them.
Although I am supplying birds, peanuts, fatballs & seed as well as water, I am finding few birds taking my offerings. The dunnocks, robins & occasional wren just lurk about under the bushes.
We have 5 feeders on the go and 2 bird tables and a homemade shelf about 6inchs long nailed to the fence.We put fresh food on the tables everyday at about 07.30hrs and we sprinkle a load in the shrubs.We have the following birds visit are garden,Blue Tit,Great Tit,Long Tailed Tit,Coal Tit,Wren,House &Tree Sparrows, Pied Wagtails,Blackbirds,Starlings,Robins,C Dove,Wood Pigeons. and other species and they seem to spend the whole day there.


Incidentally, the bird in the photograph in Kate's blog is a coal tit, not a great tit.
Jane- To stop cats getting onto bird table, I have cut some sheets of wire netting (availale form Homebase) to approx 1 1/2-2 ft wide & the length of each side of table & fixed these onto edges of table. Bend them up slightly so cats cannot run up post & jump onto table. Also make sure there is nothing close by that cats can jump from. This works for my cats. \\\\\\\\\\\Hope this solves your problem.
We always feed the birds, so have a fair selection that visit regularly - greenfinches, goldfinches, blackbirds, blue tits, a wren, reed buntings and robins. While there was snow and ice, though, we had more of those, plus regular visits from two thrushes, a very greedy fieldfare (which got through remarkable amounts of apple!), a couple of redwings, a small flock of long tailed tits and, best of all, a male bullfinch!
In my garden the small birds have been flocking to the feeders not just because of the snow that has been covering the ground. I've also had Meadow Pipits and fieldfares visiting my garden. My grandma phoned me and said that she had 5 fieldfares eating in her garden as well.