• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Bird-feeding advice for a beginner starting out? (1 Viewer)

LeeUK2020

Member
Hey everyone! I'm new here and am a lover of birds big and small! I have a few queries but would also like general advice.

I live in London in the UK, not too central, and have enjoyed watching magpies, great tits, sparrows and robins flutter around in our back garden feeding from the two tube bird feeders, a mesh plate and water bowl all fixed onto a bird pole, although I have not seen any blue tits... I've been feeding them bird seed mix in the tubes, and dried mealworms soaked overnight on the mesh plate every morning - most of the birds eating those are magpies - do other birds not eat them? If robins for example are feeding their young I hope they'll be feeding them not only dry seeds!

I also read that finches, especially the goldfinch, are common in here and so have purchased a smaller Nyjer (or niger?) seed feeder, which will arrive in 1-2 weeks, in the hopes of attracting them. However, I've not seen them with my own eyes before, so do you think they will arrive (if ever) before the seeds go off? Is it a good idea to start feeding them now, since I hear it's nesting season soon?

Do you guys have any tips for me on what to do (and not to do) in terms of bird feeding and attracting more colourful birds to my garden? o:) Thank you!

(p.s. jealous of you people who don't live in big cities and get to see amazing species!)
 
Last edited:

Kits

Picture Picker
Welcome!

I'll answer both your posts here. It took me five years to attract goldfinches to our niger feeder, so don't be disheartened or give up if they don't immediately appear! We also get bullfinches and greenfinches on the niger.

You might find birds will prefer a large plastic plant pot saucer filled with water and placed on the ground for drinking/bathing. That would solve the problem of water spillage. Squirrels are, unfortunately, very clever and will easily climb the pole to get to what they fancy. However, a liberal application of vaseline to the pole does inhibit them somewhat.

The blue tits round here are very keen on suet balls (placed in a suet ball feeder and not left in the plastic netting which can cause accidents if they get their feet caught) and peanuts.
 

LeeUK2020

Member
Welcome!

I'll answer both your posts here. It took me five years to attract goldfinches to our niger feeder, so don't be disheartened or give up if they don't immediately appear! We also get bullfinches and greenfinches on the niger.

You might find birds will prefer a large plastic plant pot saucer filled with water and placed on the ground for drinking/bathing. That would solve the problem of water spillage. Squirrels are, unfortunately, very clever and will easily climb the pole to get to what they fancy. However, a liberal application of vaseline to the pole does inhibit them somewhat.

The blue tits round here are very keen on suet balls (placed in a suet ball feeder and not left in the plastic netting which can cause accidents if they get their feet caught) and peanuts.
Hello Kits! Thank you for your reply! I’ll definitely try and put the water lower down very close to the ground (but am worried that all the falling seeds from the messy birds will clog it up)!

If the goldfinches don’t appear for a long while, the Niger seeds go bad - would this mean I’d have to toss it out and keep refilling it despite the possibility of no visitors? Or will other finches come and visit soon?

Do blue tits (and other birds beside magpies) not eat dried mealworms even when soaked overnight?? It feels like I’m only feeding magpies which would be fine anyway... And do blue tits not eat sunflower seeds or millet either? :(

Sorry for posting multiple threads, not sure about forum etiquette but will aim to make just one next time and put it where it fits best! �� I also hope I’m not asking too many questions.....
 

Kits

Picture Picker
Don't worry about the multiple posts - it takes time to work out how a forum works and where best to ask things. Don't worry about asking lots of questions - it's the only way to learn. I learn something new most days. :)

Could you place the water saucer away from the feeding pole? I don't know how big your garden is. That way spilled food won't clog it up.

The niger should be replaced if they start to show signs of going mouldy, or every four weeks or so.

Blue tits like soaked meal worms, as do sparrows, blackbirds, robins, thrushes and starlings. We get blue tits on the mixed seed feeder as well as coal tits and great tits.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top