I’ve been reluctant to put up bird feeders in the past because of the presence in our household of an ageing but wiley cat who, after barely moving through winter, comes back to life in Spring at the sound of baby birds tweeting.
But then I saw these feeders that you attach directly to your window, removing any possibility of the cat being able to intercept any feathered visitors on route. With great excitement, my three-year-old and I attached it to the window, filled it with a bird banquet, and waited…
For a couple of weeks, I made bold claims of having seen flocks of flamingos and a pair of eagles popping by for a snack. But the truth is, no one came. My bird restaurant was a flop.
I had another go – repositioning it close to where there was existing bird traffic and a only short, safe hop over from a fence.
A little time later, we got our first visitor – a beautiful, fearless robin.
This little chap had a plan. I’m pretty sure he wanted to keep this new source of food to himself. But a few days later more visitors started to arrive – more robins, great tits, little baby blue tits with ruffled feathers, a pair of blackbirds (male and female), and sparrows.
They all seemed to realise that we were no threat, and soon there was a constant stream of birds flitting onto our feeder. My three-year-old and I weren’t the only ones to be delighted. My other half suddenly found an interest – even the cat tormented herself by having a look.
“It’s the robin!” my three-year-old would excitedly announce.
We had a few weeks of pure enjoyment until this happened…
A squirrel managed to climb on and eat every single sunflower heart in the feeder. That marked the beginning of a battle of wills – me v the squirrel – as I repositioned the feeder until I found a spot that the blummin’ thing couldn’t reach. I’ll admit I enjoyed watching it try and jump up the door – and fail.
Our bird feeder has provided far more than a tenner’s entertainment. It’s brought the beautiful birds of Bow right up close. It really is lovely to look up and see a robin beadily looking back at you.
So I recommend it, with the following tips:
- You don’t need a garden or a balcony to have a lovely view of local birds and help feed them through the weeks when they’re run ragged feeding the squawking babies in their nests (I think I know how they feel). You just need a window to attach your feeder to, but bear in mind you’ll need to refill it regularly so make sure you have easy access.
- Avoid putting your feeder anywhere a cat can climb, or a squirrel or even big birds like wood pigeons.
- The model I bought has three suckers to attach it to the window. It also comes with a string you can use to prevent it crashing to the ground if, for any reason, it’s knocked loose. Be sure to use it as the feeder will break if it falls.
- There’s a variety of food available online or in your local garden centre. What you choose will affect which breeds of bird visit you. We went for fat balls and sunflower hearts that you can get cheaply in Tesco. Our bag came with instructions to put food out twice a day. Twice a day? I don’t even do that for more children (Note to Social Services, I do).
- According to the RSPB it’s fine to feed birds year-round, but here’s a little extra information on what they need. Don’t forget fresh water – there’s a little compartment on the feeder for water.
- Once your bird feeder is up, be patient. But if you don’t get any visitors after a couple of weeks try repositioning your feeder.