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Old 21st August 2012, 01:24 PM   #1
lesley167
 
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Default Mess under bird feeders

My elderly Mother who lives with us is a bird fanatic and spends all day feeding and watching birds.

She has a feeding pole with several feeders and hangs others in the trees, the problem is I went to remove what I thought was a load of grass from around the pole and when I tried to pull it I found it was covered in seeds under the ground and crawling with insects! very difficult to remove.

Anyway she said she would only put out nuts, fatballs etc. but is now miserable because the birds have dwindled!

I already had a large round plant saucer which we put a hole in to go through the pole which did collect quite a bit but as the surrounding area is either garden or gravel we can't sweep it up.

Do you think she is putting too much seed out or using the wrong sort? the amount on the ground is quite substantial but she insists that the birds drop it but I would have thought some birds would take it from the ground unless they don't like it we have a lot of wood pigeons who seem to feed on the ground.

Any help would be appreciated.

thanks
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Old 25th August 2012, 02:11 PM   #2
Lisa
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Hi Lesley

Unfortunately this is quite a common problem when feeding the garden birds.

You don't say how large the round plant saucer is that you have tried, but it may be that this isn't quite large enough to catch the seeds being discarded. Perhaps a larger saucer or the large CJ Wildlife Feeder Tray would help.

The types of seed that you mother is putting out may be contributing to the problem. Some lower cost mixes will include "filler" ingredients which the birds will simply discard onto the ground. Trying a high quality seed that has already been de-husked will significantly reduce the amount of waste produced from the feeder. Sunflower Hearts would be the most effective at reducing waste, or if you prefer a mix, our Hi-Energy No Mess does just what it says on the tin!

Hope this helps!
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Old 8th September 2012, 12:29 PM   #3
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Hello Lesley.

I have this problem under a pole feeder as well. The main culprits with mixed seed on horizontal trays attached to a pole feeder are collared doves and starlings.

Those two types of bird have a tendency to search for bits that they prefer within the mix, and they seem to do this by throwing stuff everywhere, assuming that underneath maybe some more tasty pieces.

On the hanging port feeders, it is sparrows which seem less able to eat certain seeds without dropping them, and they can drop half a dozen before they manage to eat one.

I sorted the sparrows out by taking off all the perches under each port which feeders tend to be supplied with. This will cut the numbers of birds able to feed at the ports, but the ones that are less messy will tend to dominate. By this I mean various tits and green/goldfinches.

In fact, this is just what I wanted anyway because tits tend to get pushed out if the feeders are full with slightly larger birds, and all of the three varieties that I get (blue, great and coal) tend to fly into the bushes with each seed and not eat them at the feeder.

The collared dove and starling mixture throwing was harder to deal with, but I eventually bought a couple of these:-

http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/rspb-mes...y-nibbles.html

(Sorry, no CJ equivalent that I could find) and placed them on the ground underneath where the food trays were. I dont put any food on them, but just allow them to catch anything that falls from above.

In my garden, it did not take long for blackbirds and dunnocks to realise that if they inspected these trays at regular intervals they could eat quite a lot without much competition.

In fact, it was quite amusing to see them react as bits came raining down on them from above. It became a race for who could get to the best bits quickest.

I cant promise that everything will be 'hoovered' up by the ground feeders but at least the mess becomes much less. Sunflower hearts are better than black sunflower seeds because the outer seed casing has already been removed.

John

Last edited by 70007; 8th September 2012 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 9th September 2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Hi John,

CJ do stock what they call Suet Pellets with Insects, currently on P. 77 of their catalogue. These would probably be quite similar to the Buggy Nibbles, I would think. I am not sure how the price compares, CJ's being 3.50 for 575g, or 11.00 for 2kg.
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Old 9th September 2012, 06:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandy View Post
Hi John,

CJ do stock what they call Suet Pellets with Insects, currently on P. 77 of their catalogue. These would probably be quite similar to the Buggy Nibbles, I would think. I am not sure how the price compares, CJ's being 3.50 for 575g, or 11.00 for 2kg.

Sorry Jandy. I was referring to the mesh ground feeder that the food is pictured in, not the food itself.

John
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Old 20th September 2012, 08:33 PM   #6
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Sorry about that, John, I didn't realise. I have also got one of those mesh ground feeding trays, which I got due to the difficulty of keeping my old wooden ground feeder as clean as I would like, and it's fine as far as it goes, but it is only half the size of the old tray. I have it on the patio now instead of in a flower bed, so less chance of spilt seed sprouting under it, and of course it's so easy to keep clean.
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Old 21st September 2012, 07:36 AM   #7
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Yes, they are quite useful and I was thinking two or maybe three of them directly under the hanging feeders might help to catch the fallout from above and prevent the mess that lesley was asking about.
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Old 23rd September 2012, 06:01 AM   #8
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I, too, have put a ground feeding table under a large tube feeder which overhangs a border and have found it helps considerably. It's easy to keep clean, having a recycled plastic frame which looks like wood:

http://www.livingwithbirds.com/birdf...k-ground-tray/

There is an all metal one available too:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chapelwood-L...d_sim_sbs_lp_1
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Old 30th October 2013, 11:39 AM   #9
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I've seen that Lisa's links don't seem to lead anywhere anymore - but in case anyone is still interested here is the High energy no mess bird mix on the CJ Wildlife site:
http://www.birdfood.co.uk/ctrl/produ...s#.UnDudfnIZng

An alternative sunflower hearts that I've used and would recommend would be Garden Bird Supplies Sunflower seed hearts...they leave no mess and are pretty good nutritionally for birds too!
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Old 2nd November 2013, 11:13 AM   #10
Lisa
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Default Mess under bird feeders

Hi All

Sorry about those links no longer working, we relaunched our website back in August to incorporate lots of new features (multi-buy pricing, product galleries, product videos, easier navigation etc) so unfortunately some of the old links on forum posts may no longer work.

Lots of exciting new products have been added to the range in the last 12 months, but we still have our wide range of wildlife care products so you can use the search facility on the site to find what you are looking for, or get in touch and I will be happy to point you in the right direction!

All the best
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