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Leon Roskilly

Baiting the birds

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Early in the year I came to the conclusion that our three cats are now at the age where they prefer to lounge around, rather than chasing flying things, so indulged myself by buying a bird-feeding station, and a supply of bird-feed (a number of years ago I'd previously fed birds from a couple of feeders in the garden but what with one thing and another hadn't put out feeders for a number of years).

Being early in the season when food was in short supply and they hungry birds hadn't yet started nesting, I quickly ticked off a fair few species (and some I wasn't sure of identifying which led to the purchase of a compact zoom camera (x30 optical), but that's another story).

All went well until the arrival of the juvenile starlings which scattered feed they weren't interested everywhere, attracting a flock of feral pigeons, and scaring everything else off by their quarrelsome fighting over the fat-balls.

They only seemed interested in fat-balls and sultanas, so feeding just that soon had the feral pigeons losing interest in visiting the garden.

An occasional visit from a the odd gold-finch and great-tit when the starlings were busy elsewhere had me putting on my thinking cap.

Leaving the feeding station as a starling feeder and putting out some feeders with niger seed and sunflower hearts at the other end of the garden as bait for finches and tits seemed to work, so much so that for the last few days I've consistently had specific bird types feeding on the intended feeders in different parts of the garden.

A small flock of goldfinch are now semi-resident in the apple-tree, frequently visited by great and blue-tits, collard doves have their own feeder with a handy perch where they can dine on mixed grain.

I've still got to work out how to feed the dunnocks without inviting the pigeons back, and the robin without setting up a competition with the starlings over the meal-worms.

What is interesting is how like angling this all is.

Putting out the right bait in the right place and time to attract the right species without being bothered by other unwanted creatures :)

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As we are in the Ivy League, we have to pull some of it off the house from time to time, or it gets out of hand. It has to be removed from our wooden fence also.

 

Amongst the usual suspects that this activity attracts, disturbing ivy growing on wood brings tree-creepers within minutes.

 

So not only does the baiting-up analogy hold, but digging or raking the garden, and clearing vegetation off structures is akin to raking a tench swim.

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RNLI Governor

 

World species 471 : UK species 105 : English species 95 .

Certhia's world species - 215

Eclectic "husband and wife combined" world species 501

 

"Nothing matters very much, few things matter at all" - Plato

...only things like fresh bait and cold beer...

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For a few seasons, when I was growing my own veg and doing a lot of digging in the spring, a fearless black-bird would be under my feet almost as soon as I bought the fork out of the shed.

Several times I only narrowly missed spearing him as he darted for a grub.

 

Although they would turn up to pick over the dug ground, I never had such a 'friendly' blackbird since he failed to arrive one spring. :(

 

ps I now have around a dozen gold finches feeding on the apple tree feeders.


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Putting out the right bait in the right place and time to attract the right species without being bothered by other unwanted creatures :)

 

The real challenge comes when the Squirrels find the food supply. :wallbash::crazy:

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The real challenge comes when the Squirrels find the food supply. :wallbash::crazy:

 

I've seen the odd squirrel scampering along the top of the back fence, but I reckon that the cats will dissuade them from coming down :)


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