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I think there are always less birds in the garden on the bird count day artjak
The other thing about the bird count is that different birds come at different times of the day. I usually do mine at intervals through the day to stand a chance of recording my most frequent visitors.
I'm delighted to say a flock of long tailed tits arrived yesterday - such pretty little birds - and a couple of goldfinches, but nowhere near the numbers I've had in previous years.
In anticipation of the actual 'birdcount' weeked, I generally step up the number of feeders, trays etc in the garden. Having had a few days away in Midlands I needed to refill everything depleted during my absence: 10 peanut feeders, 4 seed feeders, 3 fatball hoppers and 3 fatblock hangers all take quite a lot of maintenance. Still the 'birdy' benefits far outweigh the costs - that's what I tell OH....
It is frustrating when a bird that you see every day doesn't turn up but you have to stick with what comes in your alloted time as that bird(s) could be being counted elsewhere?
I have had several frustrating watches and last year was no exception as I had been getting up to 9 Reed Buntings in the garden every single day and for very long periods but during the count from memory I only seen one or two!!
Luck of the draw I suppose...
I suppose we could always count all weekend, dividing the individual hours up, and submit the hour with the highest number - if we were feeling that competitive and if we had nothing better to do
I think the birds know their being watched that weekend and go into hiding - our feeders are usually full of birds but never anything much on birdwatch weekend.
Or do you think it's because lots more people are putting food out just for that weekend so they're spoilt for choice and neglect their old haunts?
Dove, think you could be right. We had far less eaten than usual. Fickle I say, just plain fickle
Blackbirds still loving their chopped up windfalls, but why do 3 have to bicker over one piece when there are about twenty bits to pick from!
Because that piece is obviously better than the other pieces - otherwise why would the others want it?
At last we have got a couple of chaffinches and I haven't seen them for a long time - bet they don't come by for the big count though.
I find that I get more birds at the feeders around 9 - 10am when I'm washing up the breakfast things than later in the day, so I'm going to do my count then
I must have half douzen bird feeders suspended from branches in my garden. We have been here two years now, and all we have are two resident sparrow, a couple of very shy and retiring there which seam to gorge on the mixed seed feeders. I did have lots of starlings last summer.
I sit in vain hoping that one day there will be a family of blue tits and robins nesting in the bird boxes.
Can somebody please advise me on
1. Which bird feeders keep the seed/ feed dry because of all this rain my worry is it'll become contaminated. It always ends up soggy!!
2. Which is the best food to attract Blue/Coal/Great tits to my garden??
Thanks a million folks
Shy and retiring Doves that is which are lovely but eat allthe feed!!! not to mention the pigeons
A lot of mixes for birds are bulked up with wheat, which the little birds won't touch, and chuck out for wood pigeons and possibly rodents to become a pest.
I use Ultiva premium feeder mix, which is non clog in feeders, or straight naked sunflower seeds. I also use Droll Yankee feeders, which are solid and fairly squirrel resistant, plastic ones are a waste of money if you have squirrels.
With bird food, you get what you pay for. Cheap stuff in the supermarket doesn't attract the birds. Most garden centres will have a higher quality bird food, look at it and look for small seeds for finches and tits.
I have my bird food sent by carrier from here.
Blue tits also like a fat block of some kind.or half a coconut hung up.
are there blue/great/coal tits around in your area Rose lady? and are there trees and bushes around for them to retreat to if necessary?
Blue tits and great tits like fat balls, sunflower seeds peanuts and nyjer. They may like other things but that's what they get here plus handfuls of grain and meal worms on the ground, they could be picking and choosing there.
I rarely see a coal tit so I don't know.
I wouldn't fill yours to the top then you won't waste so much if no-one turns up.
Thank you both. Very helpful advice. I live in Rutland. There are definately blue/great/coal tits here. I live by the side of Rutland water, and by a bird watching area. I'm in a fairly modern house. The garden is now packed with fruit trees, bird friendly shrubs and climbers which I planted last year. We did spot the occasional mummy blue tit last year feeding her chick from one of our feeders, but now its become really quiet. We don't get very many squirrels although they would be a welcomed sight. I do use sunflower seeds NC, although I will try Nyjer seeds. You're right about quality bird feed though FB. Birds do like quality food. When i'm having to throw away feed beacuse the birds arn't coming in masses it does upset me. still the RSPB have said 'don't give up the will come'
Right then fat balls it is, and I will look up these bird feeders FB
Rose Lady, all of the tit family like the same food. I feed them mainly peanuts and have blue/great/coal and sometimes the gorgeous long tail tits coming into the hangers. I have tried several different food hangers and find that this type are the best:
You have to cut the larger peanuts in half, which is a pain, but easy enough to do, otherwise they won't pass through the feeder into the 'windows' where the birds can get at them. We have our fair share of rain here in Lancashire and I find that this type of feeder keeps the food driest. If it rains heavily you can just scoop out the damp nuts that have fallen into the bottom of the window area, and the dry food drops through in it's place, so very little is wasted (and anyway, the Dunnocks feed on the bits I scoop out onto the floor). I use the metal feeder as the squirrels gnaw away at the 'window' surround in an attempt to steal the nuts if you use the cheaper plastic feeders.
I'm still looking for the 'perfect' feeder, but this is about as good as it gets from my own trial and errors!
Something else I should have added - like Nutcutlet advises, just put a little food in the feeder so you don't waste as much if it isn't taken. I fill mine to just over the first window level.
I never thought about cutting the larger nutsand putting them in a tubular feeder...great idea. that way the nuts will stay drier than the mesh ones!!