The chunk of cold weather we’re having here in the UK at the moment is a bit of a problem for the birds. They’re having difficulty finding enough food. We wanted to help, but we have a bit of a problem – we live in the top flat in an old four-storey school building. We get to our door by climbing a set of metal steps on the outside of the building. Our outside space consists of a few square metres of metal panelling, with metal railings around it, and a long drop.
Feeders are available that attach with suction cups to the outside of a window, which seem like a good idea, but I’m not sure I trust them. For a normal house, if it falls off, you just have to go outside, pick it up, and stick it back in place. If one fell off our living room windows, it would fall four floors down, and land in a cut-out section below ground level, outside the basement flat’s front windows. Or, if it bounced a bit further forward by hitting the window sill, it could fall far enough forward to land on someone’s car.
Anyway, I hit on a solution last weekend – part of the packaging from our new microwave, some holes punched through with my Swiss Army Knife, and a couple of shoelaces:
It sat there firmly, and the food (a slice of bread and some seeds) didn’t blow away. Win. The birds, however, didn’t know it was there. Fail.
My boss had a good suggestion, though – add a couple of hanging bird feeders, and not only do we add more options for food, but we put something there the birds might actually recognise as a source of food. A white polystyrene tray probably isn’t going to say ‘food’ to a chaffinch, but a swinging tube of peanuts might. So, this weekend, we visited Pets at Home, and stocked up. Here’s the result:
Some food on the tray, and three hanging feeders, containing:
- Peanuts, with a spare bag ready for refills.
- Mixed seeds, with sunflower hearts to replace them when they’re gone.
- Fat balls, with a large tub full of replacements ready.
There’s only one problem with this now. You may notice the lack of snow – it’s pretty much all thawed here, and there doesn’t appear to be too much risk of more to come. We may be a bit late, but hopefully they’ll still enjoy a few treats.