Sunday, November 24

A table for lunch

In the depths of winter the birds that visit our garden provide us with the main source of garden interest. In winter we spend many an hour watching and photographing the various species of bird that visit our garden. I've posted about the varieties that visit us here.  Some are regulars whereas others are rare visitors that cause much excitement when they are spotted.

Birds will only visit your garden if you have something that they want and in winter this is food, water and shelter. Birds have different preferences as to what they like to eat and where they like to eat so we try to provide lots of variety in our garden. One way of providing food is to grow plants that have berries and seeds that the birds like to browse but such supplies rarely last right through winter,

We have a variety of bird foods and ways of offering it to our bird visitors. 

This post concentrates on our bird tables. A while ago we tried to buy a new bird table but found that the ones on offer seemed to be built more for decoration than anything. The table area was quite small and the roof of many was too low. As a result Martyn decided to make a bird table. 
In the end he made three - one of which was given to my sister. The table above is very close to one of our house windows. The birds are used to this and if we keep very still we can get a really close view of them feeding here. We have a male blackbird with a bad leg that has been visiting this table for months. When we first noticed him he was in a very sorry state and we thought his days were numbered. He sheltered on the table during the day hardly leaving it. I really don't think he would have survived without us providing him with food and shelter. Now although he can't use one of his legs he waits each morning for his breakfast of buggy nibbles. When we stand in the window he looks straight at us unconcerned.
Our second table is a bit shorter and is close to the summer house. The lower height means that even though it is positioned at the top of some garden steps we can still see visitors from the house window. 
Our old bird table had lost it's roof and the legs were rotting but the birds still visited and so it was left in place. Being under a crab apple tree and snuggled in amongst a rhododendron the birds have somewhere to hide whilst waiting for a turn to feed and also can easily fly out of the way if danger threatens.
Our fourth table is a ground feeding station and is situated under the sunflower heart feeder. When the feeder is being used some food spills out and lands on this table providing food for birds unable to find a space on the hanging feeder.

In winter birds really need fatty food and oily seeds which are high in calories. The bird tables are kept supplied with a range of foods - mainly a seed mixture but they also sometimes have buggy or fruity nibbles and dried mealworms (sorry too squeamish to provide live ones) as well as other suitable bits and pieces. On the rare occasion that we put out bread we first soak it in water so it is really soggy as dry bread can choke birds. Magpies tend to know this and so you will often see a magpie bring a chunk of dry bread and dunk it in the bird bath before eating it.

I was going to go on to mention our other feeding devices but I think this post is long enough and so I'll leave those for another post.

Allotment Planner Giveaway:
The winner of the draw is Tanya. Congratulations Tanya - can you email me your address and I'll send the Allotment Planner book off asap.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

14 comments:

  1. I find watching the birds ever so entertaining and like you have a variety of feeders/stations around the garden. Only this morning I've added a new one.
    It's nice to see visitors return to the garden for winter isn't it?

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  2. It certainly is Angie. Last year we had our first ever redpolls so I hope they and the siskins pay us a visit again this winter.

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  3. What a great post. You know I'm a bird lover, so I enjoyed reading about your different tables. I agree about the mass produced tables on offer and agree that they're more for decoration than anything else. It's a good idea to position a ground feeder underneath the hanging feeders. I have lots of greedy wood pigeons and collared doves which make short work of hoovering up any spills.

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    1. We get wood pigeons and collared doves too Jo. Wood pigeons are more welcome in the garden than the plot though. They often like to sit on the ball at the top of the summerhouse roof or Martyn's weather station which at times causes his rain gauge to block/

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  4. So many bird tables! Watching the birds in the garden gives so much pleasure doesn't it. Unfortunately at the moment we have a sparrow hawk making a nuisance of himself so the birds seem to be staying away - but I reckon we must spend hundreds of pounds over the winter to keep the birds fed - the price you have to pay to keep them visiting!

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    1. It does, Elaine. We occasionally have a sparrowhawk too but not regularly enough to bother the birds. It certainly is expensive we shop around on the Internet for the best prices and also have a local nursery that is reasonably priced. We buy large bags and store the food in dustbins in the garage,

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  5. Martyn's bird table looks very sturdy. I love your story of the blackbird, hope he makes it through the winter.
    In the space of a week so many feathery friends have returned to our table. When the temperatures drop they must need more food and food that is easier to come by.

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    1. I hope so too Jessica. He has been around for months now and seems bright eyed and to manage really well now. In fact he is rather cheeky.

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  6. I let the birds come and spent the time in my garden. They eat so many kind of insects and berries. I have no idea about lunch table for the birds. I think it's a good idea

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    1. You see bird tables in many garden here Endah. Lots of gardeners like to feed the birds. Many birds rely on it.

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  7. What a lovely post, I did enjoy it. I'm glad you feed the birds so well Sue, as you say they need it to survive the winter especially as their habitat is shrinking each year along with their food supply.
    I was touched to hear your blackbird is still alive, I remember you mentioning it on one of my posts, awww it sounds so trusting.xxx

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    1. I hope Blackie survives the winter Snowbird. We'll definitely be doing our best to help him .

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  8. A lovely post Sue, how nice to see all of your bird feeding stations. I find bird food rather expensive at the moment, but the blackbirds have been visiting a lot to eat the grapes left on the vines and the last few raspberries.

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    1. It is expensive CJ - you certainly have to shop around.

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