BBC Autumnwatch – bird feeder experiment

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The Mystery Bird Quiz

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All about ground feeding birds – some tips

November 16, 2015
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Ground Feeding Sparrow
EVERYONE HAS SEEN BIRDS feeding from bird feeders hanging from trees, as well as bird tables filled with seed, but what about feeders for birds that primarily forage for food from the ground?

See all our ground feeders
Song thrushes, wrens, chaffinches, dunnocks, blackbirds, house sparrows and robins are such birds that mostly scour for insects and other forms of sustenance from soil.

Providing feed for these ground-feeding birds may seem unattractive or cumbersome at first due to its immediate disadvantages, but taking these following measures will solve these problems and will prove very beneficial for you and your ground feeding garden birds.

The main, and probably the biggest, problem of putting feed directly onto the ground, is how other animals such as squirrels, pigeons, and, even worse, rats, get attracted to the feed. In contrast to more inaccessible hanging bird feeders that rats cannot easily get to, putting bird feed on the ground allows pests very easy access to the food. To prevent squirrels, try using using a caged squirrel proof bird feeder.
Image of metal ground feeder
Gardman ground feeder cage, designed to deter squirrels and large birds
LUCKILY, THERE ARE GROUND BIRD FEEDERS fitted with metal brackets to deter any large birds and animals that allow your little robins, thrushes, blackbirds and wrens to feed in peace. In addition, metal-fitted ground bird feeders also deters predators such as cats, owls and weasels from preying on your little feathered friends if you live in an area with a lot of pet cats roaming around, thus giving your unsuspecting garden birds more ease to feed. Otherwise, make sure to avoid placing ground bird feeders without metal fittings away from trees, vegetation and fences to avoid predators.

Another major problem of scattering bird feed directly on the soil is extraneous growth from fillers in low quality bird food, which will also attract more pigeons and rats into your garden.
MAKE SURE ONLY TO PROVIDE high quality bird food to your ground-feeding birds to prevent pests as well as unwanted weeds popping up all over your garden. Most bird feed can be fed on ground feeders, but avoid feeding seeds still in their husks such as black sunflower seeds, as the husk is not readily degradable by the soil and can lead to bacterial growth, as well as preventing other plants beneath it from flourishing.

Metal ground feeders are excellent for preventing these from happening because the height can be adjusted, making it harder for to rats to access, as well as preventing any extraneous growth from growing directly onto the soil. Remember to move around the feeder from time to time to prevent disease and bacteria from developing and potentially infecting your garden birds.
Image of metal ground feeder
Chapelwood metal ground feeder, solid surface for ground feeding birds

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  1. Thank you Sanjeev, for your comments. Send us pituercs of the bird-feeder that you and your kids have made and we will include it on our Web site.