I am a recent feeder having just moved into the edge of the country. We have had a brilliant selection of birds coming to our feeders and on the ground: blackbirds, robins, songthrush, chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, sparrows, starling, blue/great/willow tit, nuthatch.
The great tit spilt a lot but the ground feeders enjoyed this. But recent weather (I assume( has now caused a real crop of green hoots to start. This is not what we wanted. I've put a plastic sheet out but this does mean that the ground feeders have stopped visiting. The sparrows who used to feed both on the ground and on the feeder are now entirely on the feeders. With the recent young they are dominating everything.
this should read 'a real crop of green shoots to start.'
Hi John, a warmwelcome to here from me in staffordshire.
Do you feed Niger seed? if so that's what it is, I had the same trouble. Replace it, instead with sunflower hearts, the finches love these the same and you won't have the 'shoots'.
EDIT dig out the shoots and sweep and hose the area to remove risk of mould growing, then if you can, move the feeder to another part of the garden, but near to where it is now, then let the ground recover and grow new grass on. Then put the feeder back there. If you like, to ensure the birds know they have new food, leave the feeder there with the sunflower hearts in it for a couple of days before moving it, trust me the finches will love the hearts (you'll need a seed feeder for these as the niger feeders are no good for sunflower hearts)
The truth is I'm mad. We are all mad and many are too mad to know the truth.
Thanks, Birdie Wild. I should mention that I'm in North Northumberland.
I have a niger seed feeder for the gold finches. There is certainly some growth beneath it but hte real problem is beneath the main mixed feeder which doesn't contain niger.
I have a small garden and no grass. The feeders are above an empty border. Will the tits eat the hearts?
Yes they LOVE them :-)
EDIT : So do a host of other birds. You can get large bags quite cheap on line from bird feed suppliers, including the RSPB, I use Brinvale (pay with PayPal, free next day delivery)
I only feed sunflower hearts now, along with peanuts and RSPB sprinkles and mealworms, the nyger shoots and mixed seeds used to drive me crazy.
Birds which eat my sunflower hearts are bullfinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, woodpecker tits of all descriptions, blackbirds infact the only ones that leave them alone are starlings
Enjoy the world around you and keep taking photographsSee all my photos here Cheers Judi
If the shoots are growing in an empty border why not just pull it up it will be shallow rooted,the plastic sheeting may put ground feeders off.There are trays available that hang under the feeder to catch the spillage but I have not tried them.
Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can
Hi John and welcome.
Are you feeding a mix that contains wheat? If so, that is probably what your "crop" is. You can buy mixes that don't have wheat in them, or as suggested, feed sunflower hearts, which just about everything loves.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
I like the idea of green hoots
I have plastic trays at the bottom of my feeders and get no or very little spillage.
If it is in an empty border, why not just pull it up or rake over the border each evening?
I agree with the others - sunflower hearts are the best by far, and if an odd one does shoot you will get lovely sunflowers growing. One year I had sunflowers growing in my window boxes. I can only assume the seeds were dropped by birds.
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