Living in a small second-floor flat with my two children, there is hardly room to swing a cat, let alone have pets... So when I stumbled upon RWBF's range of window feeders I had a lightbulb moment - why not feed the wild birds and create a bit of excitement for the kids at the same time?
From my rooftop location I regularly saw jackdaws and pigeons hanging around; neighbouring properties have house martin boxes, and I could hear flocks of smaller birds in the young trees in the car park over the road. Ideally I wanted to feed the small birds and exclude the bigger 'usual suspects', but I was aware that I couldn't really pick and choose, and that the small birds would be far more shy about flying across the road to my living room window. The road is not particularly busy but it does see a fair few bin lorries, being the back of the High Street, so I imagined that the noise and lack of shelter on my side would put them off somewhat. Nevertheless, my other windows are down a busy pedestrian alley where birds are less likely to go, and in rooms where we would be likely to miss the action, so the living room window it had to be! After divulging all this information to Sian at RWBF, she recommended the Droll Yankees 'Observer' window feeder - with a deep dish to hold a good amount of a variety of feed (seed, mealworms, suet, scraps) and a roof to keep the rain off and keep the larger birds out.
Expectations were of course higher than reality. There I was expecting wild birds of all kinds to flock to the window as soon as I'd filled the feeder, but no such luck! So, stuck to the window the feeder sat, full of delicious RWBF Premium Finch Mix, day after day, week after week. I even scattered seed on the windowsill underneath to entice them over, and then I added dried mealworms too! A couple of times, a pigeon ventured near - flapping around the feeder to get a good look, but not managing to land due to the feeder's roof. The kids got excited and came to tell me, but I'd missed it. Another time, the house martins were out in force, feeding on the wing, swooping past my window so closely, but not at all interested in the feeder! This was the most bird action I'd seen in a good few months, so I decided to remove the roof from the feeder and see what happened. I figured I might as well feed the pigeons if they were the only interested parties!
So the roof came off, the seed got damp in the rain, but within days the pigeon managed to get a few mouthfuls whilst balancing precariously and flapping a lot on the feeder - much to the delight of the kids! However, I guess all this action quickly alerted the jackdaws (who love to stalk up and down along the opposite rooftop), as, within a short space of time, the pigeon has disappeared and the jackdaws have taken over. It seems to be a pair of them in particular, working together and taking it in turns to grab a mouthful and take it back over to the opposite rooftop where they pick through it to find their favourite bits!
So now my problem is not having zero birds to the feeder, but having the 'wrong' type of birds! Of course any birds are better than none, for the kids' entertainment if nothing else, but now I'm worried that the small birds will never come as the jackdaws will scare them off, even if they did manage to cross the road eventually. So for the time being I will leave the roof off the feeder and allow the jackdaws to have their fill, whilst they get more brazen by the day and eat more and more feed! But as the weather turns colder, I will strongly consider putting the roof back on to allow smaller birds a chance. Or is it time to 'branch out' and get additional window feeders for the smaller birds, perhaps on my other windows after all? Watch this space!