Talk:Bird feeders

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all, After there were birds before people had gardens so what did they do then?There was a time when most of our nation was undeveloped leaving plenty of places for birds to nest.But as the human population has grown, more and more buildings have been erected in areas which were previously open countryside.Urbanisation has not only removed potential nesting sites, it has destroyed the habitats of many of the creatures on which the birds feed.Until relatively recently, many species were still able to prosper because domestic architecture offered plenty of handy places for birds to nest including the eaves.There were also many run-down and dilapidated old buildings, out buildings and barns for the birds to use.But the human population has continued to grow and the result has been a huge demand for housing.Many old buildings have been renovated to provide homes for people and this has reduced the number of potential sites for the birds.To make matters worse, people have become progressively more house proud and have tidied up their homes and outbuildings, removing valuable nesting sites in the process.Modern homes are not constructed in a way which helps the birds in any way and many barns and agricultural buildings have been converted into houses.Our gardens have become increasingly more formal and manicured which hasnt helped the birds either.The British Trust for Ornithology has confirmed that natural nesting sites for birds are on the decline across the country.The nooks in old buildings have largely disappeared.Do you have nesting boxes around your house and garden? If not, then what are you waiting for? You could play a significant role in helping bird populations to recover whilst enjoying many visits from a variety of interesting feathered friends.Birds can transform your garden with colour, interest, song and photographic opportunity.They are an endless source of joy and on top of that you can do your bit to ensure that endangered species enjoy protection.All this can be done regardless of budget.You can purchase a virtual forest or just make a few seeds available.As long as you do something the award always outstrips the investment.Offer a little food, water, somewhere to shelter, something to make life more comfortable and maybe an environment to make them think they are back home.What should be borne in mind as well is that the natural habitat of many birds has been, and is being, eroded to an ever increasing degree and this means that their natural source of food is also becoming much scarcer.Gardens are a massive resource when it comes to supporting birds and for a few pence you can do your bit to balance the harm we have done to them.A well thought out bird table will protect both the bird and the food you put out and give reassurance to both parties that next-door’s cat will not interfere.This will encourage birds to eat at the table rather than take the food elsewhere for consumption.Don’t be upset that you can’t see the birds at this stage as they will gradually become used to you and you can, over time, movethe table nearer to the house or where you want to sit to observe them.A bird table enables you to encourage specific breeds of bird and yet at the same time discourage the more feral kind such as starlings and pigeons.If there is a specific type of bird in your area which is becoming a nuisance, then a brief chat at your local garden centre will show you what you can do to stop them overpowering those ones you wish to see.Very little care is needed with regards to a bird table but you should be aware that bird droppings can be toxic, especially to children, so place the bird table on a surface which can be cleaned and disinfected easily.Food should be removed once it is no longer fresh and the table also cleaned.A source of clean water is an essential for birds both to drink and occasionally bathe in, the latter being essential for their good health.Again regular cleaning is required and birds will go elsewhere if the water is not fresh.Offer nesting boxes for the type of bird you wish to attract together with nesting material.A brood will result in many visits to your table or feeder by the harried parents.Try and stop cats using your garden as a shortcut as nothing is more likely to make a bird go elsewhere than a cat sitting on a garage roof licking its lips.The table or feeder should be placed away from buildings or overhanging trees and the ground should be clear of cover for predators.Birds are a wonderful addition to any garden.Not only that, you are doing a bit towards preservation of a type and perhaps even reversing a decline.All this you can get for very little investment.Word soon gets around, and in no time your garden could become the bird equivalent of Piccadilly Circus.Not all are welcome of course and some people rather resent the fact that Starlings tend to arrive mob handed.People who put out and do so to encourage the prettier types of bird such as the tits, the dramatic mix of colours being especially attractive.This goes also for the Goldfinch and Chaffinch, both of which generate excitement when they are spotted.And who could fail to be attracted by the cheeky bravery of a Robin? Whilst the humble House Sparrow cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as gaudy, to ignore this cheerful bird is to miss its fascinating domestic life.One of the favourite British garden birds is the Blackbird, the name is slightly misleading as the female is normally brown with streaks on the breast.Males have an orange yellow beak and distinctive eye ring to make them stand out.The most notable feature of the bird is its beautiful mellifluous song.As the name implies, its song is remarkable and is becoming sorely missed.Depending on the size and make up of your garden, it is increasingly common for Great Spotted Woodpeckers to occasionally make an appearance.They are not the most brave birds and the norm is that you will hear them, either their call or their rather distinctive drumming at the beginning of the mating season.Even though you will only catch the occasional glimpse they are well worth keeping an eye open for.Magpies are a frequent visitor to gardens, unfortunately often scaring away smaller birds.They may arrive in rather large flocks or you might get [ a] breeding pair.The plumage is remarkable, mainly black-and-white from a distance with a long tail but up close, and many are confident enough to allow you to approach, they tend to sparkle.