Proper Feeders Required
It now seems remarkable that I didn’t have Goldfinches in my yard until I put out Niger seed. Since the trial tube supplied by Jacobi Jayne [ see their website for product details http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/ ] I have moved on to their full sized feeder (complete with a tray as Niger can be messy) – now I regularly get four or five goldfinches at the same time with others lining up on the telephone wires over the feeders. What’s more they sit on the feeder, eat some Niger, look around in a rather bored way, then eat some more. These sessions can last half an hour and if we go to the composter or washing line the goldfinches sit on the wires and tinkle and twitter as if to say “b****r off, you’re interrupting our dinner”!
It is so successful that I am going to try another Niger feeder outside the study window where a goldfinch has only once chanced my normal feeders.
The context is a very narrow strip between house and high garden wall – only six or seven feet wide but full of planters – this is where we have the Droll Yankees® feeder and suet feeders. This is the plastic tube type feeder with a number of openings and perches allowing a lot of birds to feed at once. I get a pretty well constant show throughout the day as birds come and go. This month we have been using a different seed mix – Jacobi Jaynes “Special Mix”. This is mostly sunflower seeds which are extremely popular with the House Sparrows and Greenfinches. In fact it is only since using this feed and feeder that Greenfinches have become so common… they always made the odd appearance but not anywhere near as often or in such numbers. The other regular visitors are Starlings, Collared Doves and Woodpigeons. The Suet feeders attract the same cast plus Blue Tits [occasionally] and Blackbirds [regular but always precarious] – and once a rather poorly Carrion Crow. A Herring Gull stands on the trellis from time to time but I think he is more interested in the sparrows than the feed!
What drops from the feeders is investigated by Dunnocks and rarely a Robin and Songthrush – although he prefers to try to rid my garden of snails – an uphill task but a welcome one!
The main feeder has a large tray attached to it and the highest count I have had so far is seven House Sparrows on the tray at the same time – about half my average flock. At times it swings violently when two collared doves try to use it at the same time.
However, there is one great big drawback as my wife has pointed out loudly and regularly – the ground beneath is littered with sunflower husks and whole seeds which are now sprouting from every flower pot and tub! I am under orders – no more of the special mix – I must now only use the Special Mix Husk-free. It is a tad more expensive, but hey, so is divorce!
I have also noticed that, whilst Bluetits do occasionally visit and feed this is nowhere near as frequent as when I just used to feed peanuts [although this might be because of the bullies in residence]. So the next trial will also include a peanut feeder or two. I have plans to find a ground feeder for the Thrush family too and maybe some fruit feeders to see if I can tempt the parrots back. When I used to hang up apples I would get up to 7 Ring-necked Parakeets in the yard… but I stopped feeding them when they began to pull apart the peanut feeders more effectively than any squirrel. I know I should hate these interlopers – they are aggressive and take every available woodpecker-excavated nest hole in Thanet – but they are the most intelligent and entertaining of birds too.
A final thought for this episode of the feed trials – how did I ever do without proper feed and proper feeders?
Created: 03rd Aug 2005