feeder grey squirrels can't get & when to cut hedges

Wildlife

Wildlife
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Wildlife questions

feeder grey squirrels can't get & when to cut hedges

  • hello, firstly can anyone suggest a bird feeder that squirrels cannot get into, they are fun to watch but the birds lose out. especially our 3 year old blackbird ( called Billy :) that has white spots over his head and defends his territory fiercely. 

    Also re cutting hedges, when is breeding time over, so we can cut the hedges. The sparrows, blackbirds and starlings have lots of fledgings, do they lay again?  are ther late layers?  the collar doves are on their 2nd brood and will probably lay again but they are in the pyracantha.

    and while I'm doing this, my first post ever, any suggestion for working out which " little brown job" is which. I'm sure they are not all sparrows but move so fast it doesn't give time to look thrugh the book for all the small brown ones. Maybe someone could do a book just for LBJs :)

    hoping for advise  Dolly

     

  • Hi Dolly, and welcome from me in Lancashire.

    I don't have a squirrel problem, but have a friend who does. She provides them with their own corner of the garden, giving them their favourite food away from the other feeders. This seems to work for her.

    Sparrows usually have 3 broods and sometimes still produce babies up to September, so as Doggie says, leave the hedges until late August at the earliest. Blackbirds are the same.

    With LBJ's in your garden, the best way to tell them apart is to watch their behaviour. Sparrows gather in groups, chirp and chatter, and use the feeders. Dunnocks are more likely to be in ones and twos, skulking on the ground near the bushes. If you can get some photos to post on the forum there will always be help at hand to identify them for you.

  • Hi Dolly

    Not sure I can add anything to what the others have said, I just wanted to welcome you to the forum.

    I think Sparrow's suggestion re squirrels of "if you can't beat them join them" is worth trying. I found this purpose built squirrel feeder which might be worth trying. I'm sure other makes are available as they say.

    www.ukwaterfeatures.com/.../p-2599-Squirrel-Feeder-.html

  • Hi Dolly/Sheila

    Thanks for posting! I'll move this post into the wildlife questions section as it's in the forum for tips on using the site itself.

    First things first, grey squirrels. They can get into or on most types of feeder, even the squirrel resistant ones or cages might not stop the young kitts, so the most effective product that we sell is the pole mounted squirrel guard, see the link below;

    http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/bird-food-and-feeding/bird-feeding-accessories/squirrel-guard-pole-mounted-cone.html

    If this is used along with the feeder pole, mesh feed tray and birds feeders mounted on the top or hung from pole hooks then even ground feeding birds can use it without having to compete with the squirrels. Make sure you position the feeding station away from any jumping platforms such as tree branches or fencing, 2 to 3 metres should be too far for squirrels to jump.

    Alan is right about the hedge cutting, our general advice is to avoid cuts between March and August. If it is a berry bearing hedge then leave the cut until after the crop has been eaten by the birds as this is an important food source for our wintering species. If you have any really straggly bits that can be nipped off with a pair of secateurs then there is no harm in doing that during the summer as it would not damage any nesting birds but I would recommend leaving the power tools alone.

    For LBJ's, check out our online bird identifier and bird guide. Whilst many can be difficult to split, try to learn the calls, behaviours and differences in key features like bill shape - this should make life much easier.