As the weather becomes more hostile, now is the time to start feeding the birds.
You can begin with something as simple as a fat ball, (mix lard with bird seed) hung from a tree, or a bird seed feeder, filled with one of the many bird seed mixes available from most large supermarkets. Rodents though, are unbelievably agile and can climb almost anything in order to get to a good food source. Keeping raids to a minimum requires you to do a few things –annoying, but rather less so than the sight of a revolting rat stealing your bird food. Hygiene is a priority; keep the ground below the feeder clear of detritus. Next, site your feeder in the open, so that squirrels can’t jump from neighbouring trees. A pole system, such as the Garden Pole from Birdfood.co.uk, particularly if it is greased with Vaseline, and fitted with a ‘baffle’ (see the RSPB website) is harder to navigate than a typical bird table. Surround the food with a cage, such as the RSPB’s Bird Feeder Guardian, so that it can only be accessed by the little birds you want to see, rather than the big ones (and rodents) that you don’t. Lastly, vermin detest chilli, so put a generous amount of powder into your fat balls, or coat your bird seed with it by adding powder and shaking it about in the bag. It doesn’t bother the birds one bit.