Posted: 04/01/2013 at 16:57
I understand you all too well. I used to love feeding the birds, watching them go about their busy lives.
I first noticed the rat (probably more likely rats) during an unusual snowy winter; I was feeding more than usual and noticed the paw prints in the snow. I was willing to accept it (them) for the winter but when it started appearing everyday during the daytime I decided enough was enough, stopped feeding the birds and called in the council.
Fast forward a couple of years and I decided to try feeding the birds with just meal worms thinking the rats wouldn't be attracted to them but they came back again quite quickly so they obviously hadn't gone far.
I have now stopped feeding altogether and am in the process of planting more bird friendly plants and leaving water out for them to drink and bathe in.
Last summer I had less birds in the garden than when I was feeding but quite a number did come for the water and to feed off aphids and seed heads and hopefully will keep coming for the extra berries and seed pods which I am hoping will come from my new planting.
I am sure the rats are still around the area somewhere which is fine; just as long as they don't appear in my garden again.