It’s the first time I’ve ever been asked to review anything, since starting my blog, so when I was given the opportunity of letting my garden birds try out some new birdseed, from Nature Feast, I couldn’t wait.
My garden birds are fed regularly throughout the year, as I love to watch them in the garden but I must admit in advance that they are usually given the cheaper stuff because I’ve always thought that most bird food from garden centres, and various bird seed companies are extremely expensive and have always felt it’s an expense not worth spending. So trying out something more ‘luxurious’ was going to be a treat, both for me and the birds and a real chance to see if quality mattered.
The set up
I was given two selections of food by Nature’s Feast to try: Premium Black sunflower seeds and Premium sunflower hearts.
Also a hanging bird feeder (seen at the back of the photo), which due to it’s nifty design allows three types of seed to be used at once.
In the feeder I added the two new seeds and the one I’ve been using previously. That way I thought I could also gauge an impression of which was most liked by the levels in the feeder.
Due to my garden being suburban it also means I couldn’t leave the front garden birds out from this feast either so in another feeder I added the black whole sunflower seeds to it.
The front garden feeder is attached to a fuschia bush. Its also next to a rather large hedge. This usually attracts three types of animals, sparrows, cats and foxes. To my knowledge there have never been any bird fatalities and I have to say I get more activity from sparrows in the front garden than I do the back.
In the back garden you can see the feeding station I have set up is next to a growing eucalyptus tree which I hope gives adequate cover for the smaller birds and perching ability for all.
The bird table is on the left hand side of the garden next to a garden fence. Close enough for flying between green areas of the garden and far away enough from any cats.
All feeders and tables were thoroughly washed beforehand and the feed was then laid out.
Watching began in earnest on the Sunday, and having already been feeding the birds, I suppose it was too much to ask for a massive bird invasion. However the sparrows and blackbird did start to approach until, having sat down to my lunch I look out to discover a sparrow hawk sitting with it’s back to me on the fence.
Not such a great start (especially when I couldn’t even get my camera turned on before it flew off). I knew we had this guy as an occasional visitor but I didn’t know he worked that quick! So needless to say that put the birds off for the rest of the day, which to be honest I can’t blame them.
Monday turned rather cold again (not that it been tropical but I mean it really turned cold!), being at work meant I hadn’t got much time to see any feeding activity before it got dark.
Tuesday, and I’m starting to worry if this is ever going to work. I check the feeding guides again (all okay), but so far all I’ve managed to really record are two ring neck doves and a blackbird pecking in my raised veg beds. This is hardly a worthy review at the moment, especially when I know we’ve had blue tits, great tits, coal tits, wrens, and our trusty robin all about at one time or another in the last few weeks. I don’t think it’s the food, I think it’s the weather. If I was the size of a teacup and had to withstand cold minus temperatures day after day after day for the past 12 weeks I think I’d be feeling less than sprightly right now.
It has all the beginnings of turning into and RSPB bird watching weekend session. You know the ones, you get the food ready, sit down at appropriate hour and low and behold, nothing! Yet only the previous day you’d had a dozen sparrows and four blackbirds.
Fourth day woes
Wednesday, fortunately working at home means I’m sat at the dining table looking right at the bird feeders in the back garden. Every so often I look up, and…nothing. My camera is poised at just the right angle. It’s like the birds know, I can see plenty of birds flying over head, and I can also hear much musing from the old oak tree next door where the starlings congregate but nothing is actually eating anything from my feeders. At this point I’d be happy if I just saw Bertie the squirrel (don’t judge me, I am a townie).
Just to add to my woes I took quite a few photo’s of the sparrows happily guzzling away at the hanging nuts and hanging fat coconut that was already established in the fuchsia out the front. Not one sparrow took a second glance at the new seed, even though I’d had to move the peanuts to make room for the new seed!
I did manage to photograph the sparrow hawk today as it took a rather leisurely look at the garden while deciding which bird to go after next. This is clearly putting some of the smaller birds off.
Thursday, things are finally beginning to pick up. After the cold, the wet and the sleet today is turning out just great. Blue tits on the feeder out in the front garden, sparrows, coal tits and a robin on the feeder out the back.
I’m hoping the feeders work in much the same way as a new restaurant opening. One bird comes along, likes what they eat goes away and tell his friends who then tell their friends so and so forth.
Friday, good weather again. The black sunflower seeds are literally flying out the hanging feeder in the front by the sparrows and blue tits. Interestingly the back one is still rather slow. This is in part to a black and white cat that keeps appearing and setting itself up on the fence ready to pounce, regardless of how many times my JRT, Mouse, goes out and chases it off.
Saturday and the front seed feeder has nearly all gone.
The feeder out the back has hardly been touched. I am getting the occasional bird coming to have a peck but not the influx I get in the front. It’s not just the seed they don’t eat, the hanging fat balls have also fared badly so can only presume the hangers are in the wrong place and will either need moving or I’ll need to add more shrubs to aid cover for the smaller birds, due to all the predators Needless to say both the bird table and the open feeder on the feeding station have been emptied (twice), within the week thanks to hungry blackbirds and greedy ring neck doves.
One week of birdwatching all done
I am really pleased with the feed from Natures Feast. It was easy to use and good quality. The selection I had to use eventually encouraged a variety of birds into the garden and it also allowed me to take a good look at the visitors and get some pretty nifty photos taken.
If you’re interested in trying out Natures Feast then head to your local garden centre or contact them direct for all local stockists. I will certainly be buying sunflower seeds again for the front garden.