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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Home made bird feeding stations

Numerous common garden birds have been fledging during the last couple of weeks, so the fatballs and peanuts have been going down at an alarming rate. Thank goodness bird food has come down in price astronomically since I was first in France - once upon a time I calculated we spent about €20 a week feeding our birds!!!

My OH is very handy at DIY and likes a bit of woodwork, but his original wooden bird table didn't work so well here with the wind that comes through this garden, and also gravel is not a stable base. Thus the poor thing didn't last very long as it would fall over regularly and so my OH came up with this idea.

Take a garden parasol base (originally we had the cheap plastic ones that you fill with sand or water, but they started to crack after a few years), put an old curtain pole in, drill a hole through the top and put some sturdy metal through, strong enough to take the weight of the feeders plus birds, but which can be bent into a loop (my OH informs me he used a vice for this).  It works well for the other one which is on a sloping bit of the gravel drive as the umbrella base stops it from falling no matter how windy it is. On this feeding station I have a hanging bird table where I can put bits of bread - too much on the lawn and not only do the ducks eat the bread but my daft cat does too!

Bird feeder and bird bath

The bird bath is just two big plant pots with a big rock inside the upper one for stability and a plant saucer which fits inside perfectly. It can be lifted out to clean it. I had to raise it up like this because the ducks would come along and stick their bills in and filthy up the water so this is high enough that they can't do that.

We had a nest of Great Tits just near our back door in some gap between roof tiles and the wooden board thingy which sits on top of the stone wall (don't ask me roofing terms - I haven't a clue!). For a couple of weeks we could hear a 'bebebebe' sound every time we walked outside. Now that 'bebebebe' sound is to be heard all around the garden and it's so sweet. I'm also as useless as writing bird sounds as I am at roofing terms, but they don't translate into English very well! We also have Great Spotted Woodpeckers regularly visiting the fatballs and peanuts and just lately a juvenile has been coming along with dad. It's really funny watching them because all these juvenile birds are perfectly capable of feeding themselves (and they do), but also mum or dad every now and again will take a mouthful and go and feed their youngsters!

Great Spotted Woodpeckers taken from a distance, in the rain.
Dad is the one on the peanuts and the juvenile sits on top waiting for food.

When it stopped raining I was able to creep a bit closer to take some shots. Even with the 300mm lens I still had to get close. Luckily the juvenile birds have not learnt to be wary of humans yet so I was able to get quite close to the juvenile Blue Tit which is in the last two photos.

Adult Blue Tit

Punky looking Great Tit!

Juvenile Blue Tit

Juvenile Blue Tit again - not sure where to put its tail!

Now I just need to build myself a hide and spend time waiting! I'd love to be able to take more close up photos of birds so next I'll be experimenting with the 400mm lens but that has to be used on manual focussing so I expect a lot of blurs - but it's all good fun trying!


  1. I'm rather taken by the birdie- Mohican :)

  2. Yeah, what do duck DO with water to make it just so filthy?! Their DRINKING water, never mind the paddling pools I keep filling for them (until Jamie strimmed one of them). We had great tits nesting under our roof too... One of the young birds was pecking on the window the other day as though it was trying to get into the house. (Yes, our house full of CATS. Quite literally FULL of cats). I went out to try and put it back in the nest but it flew off into a tree! Very sweet. TINY thing...

    1. I don't know why ducks are so mucky but mine always rip up grass, put it in the bowl then sort of hoover it all up. I guess they always have dirt in their mouths even when they look clean - I mean they are always washing and preening! I'd love to have all your kitties - must be fun!

  3. Great feeders! Enjoying your bird photos. French birds are a bit different than those we have here in Washington, so it's interesting to see the different birds that look similar to ours.

    1. Hi Sherrie and thanks. I think our 'Tits' are your Chickadees (which is a much nicer name!) and we do have quite a few birds which are similar, but then you have lots which are quite different! I'd just like a few Hummingbirds here which would be wonderful. Oh and some of your Monarch butterflies too..... :-)