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Bird-friendly gardens

Great tit feeding on peanuts

Place feeders high off the ground but away from surfaces from which a cat could jump

Image: Chris Gomersall

A range of relatively simple measures can be recommended which could help to reduce the risk of cats catching garden birds, especially where food is being put out for birds.

  • Where cats are a problem, avoid putting food on the ground, but use a bird table where cats cannot reach it.
  • Place feeders high off the ground but away from surfaces from which a cat could jump.
  • Place spiny plants (such as holly) or an uncomfortable surface around the base of the feeding station to prevent cats sitting underneath it.
  • Place an upturned tin or cone underneath the table to prevent cats from climbing the post (squirrel baffles are already commercially available).
  • Make the table-stand slippery using a metal post, or plastic bottles around non-metal posts.
  • Plant wildlife-friendly vegetation, such as prickly bushes and thick climbers in the garden to provide secure cover for birds. These should be close enough to where birds feed to provide cover, but not so close that cats can use it to stalk birds. This kind of planting may also provide food and nesting sites.
  • Position nestboxes where cats cannot reach them or sit close to them (preventing the parent birds from getting to the box).
  • The RSPB recommends the use of 'Catwatch' cat deterrent. Follow the link from this page for more information.

How you can help

Help keep cats away from your garden birds

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