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Grey squirrels are a bit like marmite - you either love them or you hate them! Some people really enjoy watching the antics of squirrels as they raid the bird feeders and try to outsmart our inventive ideas for outsmarting them! However, more often than not, people ask us for advice about how to stop squirrels (and also larger birds to a lesser extent) getting onto feeders and scaring off your favourite garden birds. They are very determined animals and can cause major damage to property and land. They can also be extremely noisy, particularly during the breeding season.

 

 

Squirrels are rodents, and are born to gnaw. Their incisors never stop growing, so they must chew constantly to keep them worn down. They can have a seemingly insatiable appetite and can easily consume up to 1kg of food per week! They are also extremely cunning and physically equipped to successfully overcome obstacles that we put in their way, as you can see below.

 

Anyone who has ever tried to outwit a squirrel with a mechanical device knows how difficult this can be. Squirrels can climb polished steel poles. They can leap more than 8 feet. Their tails give them phenomenal balance, allowing them to effortlessly cross long lengths of thin wire. They can dig and, yes, they can even swim. However, building a moat to protect your bird feeders from squirrels is probably not the answer!

 

If you are troubled by squirrels in your garden and on your feeders and bird tables then you really have three options. The first is to adopt a few measures which may work. The second is to provide an alternative feeding station just for the squirrels. And thirdly- (no, we are probably not allowed to mention a catapult!) if the squirrel behaviour is becoming intolerable, then you can contact a local Squirrel Control Service who will come out, remove the offenders and give you advice about preventive measures. You are likely to find them on-line or in a local directory under Pest Control.

 

If you do decide to challenge their expertise (that is the squirrel expertise—not the pest control officer!) then here are a few things which you can try;

Try buying a squirrel proof feeder and hang it on a pole system in the middle of your lawn, approximately 10ft away from tree branches and bushes.

 

When buying a 'squirrel proof' feeder, it may be worth considering what this actually means!

 

Caged feeders like those in the NutteryTM range are also called 'Squirrel Resistant' since the cage surrounding the central chamber will prevent easy access to the bird food - but the squirrels can still be very adept at gaining access.

We do stock a range of tube feeder 'guardians' which are cylindrical mesh caged 'guards' which sit over the top of the tube feeders. These come in a range of sizes, depending on the size of feeder you wish to protect.

 

Finally, there are a range of feeders which will prevent the squirrels eating the food. One of the most effective is the Squirrel Buster Range. This range of seed feeders are weight activated and shut off feeding ports when a squirrel lands on them.

The biggest is the Squirrel Buster Plus which you can fill with seeds and mixes, without the need for frequent refills. It comes with a pole mount and a rain guard for wet weather.

 

 

 

Other things which might be worth trying are devices which help prevent the squirrels gaining access to hanging feeders. Squirrel baffles and squirrel domes (available for use either as a hanging dome or as a pole mounted dome) act as blockers.

 

Greasing poles or using a squirrel slinky to stop the squirrel scaling the pole may also be worth trying.  Ground feeding your garden birds may be another alternative. Rather than hanging feeders up, try feeding from trays which are protected by ground feeding guardians.

 

These guardians come in two mesh sizes and the small mesh (size 1) will prevent squirrels squeezing through and accessing the food.

 

And finally, if you haven't succeeded in keeping them off and are feeling despondent - just be grateful that its only a squirrel you will find in your garden helping himself!

 

When we got a call asking us to help out a Lincolnshire Florist with a design for British Flowers Week, (19-25th June 2017) we were only too delighted to say ‘yes’ and we sent them a large bag of RWBFC British grown sunflower seeds for Abigail MacNiven’s creation.

 Do you know that currently only 12% of all flowers bought in the UK are actually grown in the UK? British Flowers Week is a national campaign that showcases the best of British flowers and foliage; and with the beauty, variety and wonderful smell that British flowers can have, why wouldn't we all only buy British flowers?

Five florists within the UK were chosen by a team of top judges (two of which are the Queen’s florists of choice!) to represent this special week within the floral calendar. Petal & Stalk were the only non-London based Florist shop.

"A village florist and flower school set in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside, with a delicate neutral style incorporating herbs and unusual foliage", Petal and Stalk have made a name for themselves by combining exceptional seasonal flowers with their unique P&S style to service weddings, events, dinners and stunning bouquets delivered throughout the Lincoln area.

 

Abigail MacNiven, owner of P&S says:

“I was so pleased to have been chosen to be a part of this campaign. My design incorporated a beehive and a variety of Lincolnshire grown flowers from my local supplier Maria Clark, who grows in a natural way, without greenhouses or tunnels.  It has been a busy year for Petal & Stalk. In January, I opened Petal & Stalk Flower School in the Bell Tower within Wellingore Hall, a beautiful old building in the next village. We offer monthly flower classes and host a variety of bridal showers, corporate activity events and birthday parties. We’re also busy cultivating our own cutting gardens, which is very exciting."

Abigail says: “I wanted to create a hidden magical space which was full of detail and wildflowers, not too perfectly placed and as natural as possible… almost as if it had been self-seeded.  I have a lot of brides asking for a woodland style wedding - trees and lots of natural foliage brought into the venue - I am so lucky that we have access to the trees - we have also dug them with the rootball intact too!”

We provided the sunflower seeds which Abigail used to represent bees. She says “I thought about having a magical enchanted woodland scene and set within the scene was a beehive (a hive of activity with British bees swarming around and swishing through the trees etc..) - I wanted to decorate around the hive with flowers and woodland style planting and then on top of the hive have a collection of flowers which looked like they had almost self-seeded on top of the hive.  

When I researched images of swarms of bees - you can’t really see any detail at all they just all mass together and I thought using seeds would be ideal but I wanted them to be British grown sunflower seeds.  We sprayed some dull gold and some bright gold to give a bit of shimmer and texture to the swarm.  When I was drawing up the shape I suddenly thought why not make it into the shape of the British Isles!! So I drew an outline on paper, lay the chicken wire on top and cut around the silhouette of the UK.  Onto the chicken wire, I laid a thin voile material and sprayed it gold.  The seeds were stuck on and then stuck to the hive too individually and the swarm effect had to be held up with the thin chicken wire!”

 Well done Abigail - we love what you have created with our sunflower seeds!

Abigail also bagged up the unused sunflower seeds which we sent her into little bags and gave them out to the visitors for their garden birds!

Rona Weeldon, Founder of Flowerona writes:

In Abigail’s magical woodland, set within a hexagonal honeycomb outline, a vintage wooden beehive takes centre stage. It’s embellished with a ‘swarm’ of bees, represented by sunflower seeds, in the shape of the British Isles. Sprouting from the top of the beehive are ferns, chive flowers, flowering nettles, poppy seed heads, flowering parsley and Saxifraga.

We agree - we think it is lovely!

Started by New Covent Garden Market in 2013, British Flowers Week is a week-long celebration of the wealth and variety of the best of British cut flowers and foliage. It aims to showcase great British flowers through great British floristry, raise awareness of which British flowers are in season and encourage the public to buy more British flowers

British flowers and foliage are enjoying a long-awaited resurgence in popularity. Buyers are increasingly demanding more locally grown produce to celebrate the seasons and support British growers. Often scented, British flowers have a natural charm, beauty and ‘just-picked’ freshness that make them the florist’s favourite. 

 The Fantasic Four judges who chose the five florists to represent are:

  • Simon Lycett, head judge and celebrity florist
  • Shane Connolly, florist by appointment to both HRH The Prince of Wales and HM The Queen
  • Alice Vincent, Daily Telegraph journalist ‘treading the line between plants and pop culture’
  • Amy Gray, Horticultural Adviser, National Farmers’ Union

 About Petal and Stalk (Lincolnshire)

Petal and Stalk are a village florist and flower school set in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside, with a delicate neutral style incorporating herbs and unusual foliage. Abigail opened her shop in 2015 after she launched a successful Christmas pop-up shop, they’ve gone from strength to strength, managing to decorate 30 weddings in their first two years alone. With a devotion to locally sourced foliage and flowers, often from their customers’ land, this is a florist wowing their local community. Part of the team of top florists selected to create the still-life floral installation in Trafalgar Square earlier this year, Petal and Stalk has made a name for themselves using exceptional seasonal flowers for weddings, events, dinners and unique bouquets delivered throughout Lincoln.

 Would you like to grow wildflowers in your own garden? We offer a range of wildflower seed that will help you attract bees and butterflies into your garden!

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["The Really Wild Bird Food Company"]
 
 
This is the time of year when garden bird numbers soar as fledglings appear en- masse.
 
This is also the most critical time of year to offer high quality, easily digestible food, especially if the weather is dodgy and the insect population is low.
 
That is because if you feed more youngsters now - you will have more adults all year - it is a simple equation!
 
Here are some ideas for you to help fill those hungry beaks over the next few months!
 
 
High Energy Fledgling Mix - NEW for 2017!
 
 
 
 
  • Mini pieces make easy feeding for   
             fledglings and adults with little beaks
 
  • Highly Digestible
 
  • Ultra High Energy
 
  • A 'no-mess' mix which won't grow or sprout
   
  • It is delicious!
 
  • Save 10% when you try it!
 
 
More Info
 
 
Mini Suet Pellets - NEW for 2017
 
 
 
 
  • Peanut and cherry flavour
 
  • With added calcium to aid bone growth and
              improve bone density
 
  •  Perfect for fledgelings and younger adults
               who will find them easier to manage
 
  • Available in handy re-sealable 3kg tubs
 
More Info
 
 
Live Mealworms
 
 
Live mealworms are the best source of protein and water for nestlings

Read my vet page on feeding live mealworms.

Advice and answers to the most frequently asked questions.
 
 
 
 
My Vet Page
 

I am often contacted by people who have found a young garden bird (or birds) sitting on the ground, which look as if they have been abandoned by their parents and are giving cause for concern.

The first thing to say, it is very common and I would say that in over 95% of cases, there is no need to be worried or to intervene. This gorgeous young robin is clearly doing very well for himself and feathering up.

 

Most youngsters that are found are feathered fledgelings, doing as nature intended and leaving the nest to check out the big wide world before taking to the sky. Most of our garden birds will fledge once they are fully feathered ( at about 2 weeks of age) but before they are able to fly. They tend to hop out and spend a day or two on the ground finishing off the development of their flight feathers, which would otherwise take up too much space and be too uncomfortable in the confines of an outgrown nest! This young robin may look like he needs help, but actually he is just a bit behind the one above and you can see he still needs to grow flight feathers ( and a tail!) but his eye is bright. The Sparrow is also just young and needs his parents.