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Best Bird Feeding Station For a Small Garden

Updated on October 22, 2014

Collared Doves at my bird feeder

"Bottoms up!" A pair of collared doves vying for position at my bird feeder. They are actually trying to get to the bird seed on a tray just below this water dish.
"Bottoms up!" A pair of collared doves vying for position at my bird feeder. They are actually trying to get to the bird seed on a tray just below this water dish. | Source

When I moved to this house with its tiny garden I thought I wouldn't be able to feed backyard birds again. Wrong! When I took the time to look around on Amazon I discovered these Gardman feeding stations that are ideal for small spaces. To let you understand, my garden isn't so much a garden as a tiny triangular piece of land that is around 4 feet at its widest point. I do have neighbours on either side so when I look out I see their gardens too but I only have this tiny piece where my birds can claim munching rights..

Being on my own I knew I would never be able to put up anything complicated especially if it needed to be set in concrete or anything. This one was so easy to set in place and it takes us so little space I actually have two. With the end of the pole pointed, it was no problem to push it deep enough into the ground to ensure it remains stable, then all the pieces just slotted together.

Basically the wild bird feeder is a tall pole with a combination of hooks to hang feeders, a plastic tray for water (essential for birds all year round), and a mesh tray for seed. The mesh ensures the seed doesn't become waterlogged. Altogether it actually gives plenty of scope for attracting a variety of birds. Some like finches and tits can perch of feeders and take seeds and nuts that way while others like blackbirds and robins prefer a flat surface to eat from since they find it more difficult to hover. Not that stops the most determined. I have a regular little British robin who frequently defies all the books by using a feeder with no problem at all.

I would advise you to place it close to a bush, a tree or hedge rather than out in the open, so the birds feel more secure. I'm lucky enough that my neighbour has a hedge and bushes right next to mine.

If I have one complaint with the unit it is that the plastic dish for water is a bit flimsy around the rim that rests on the frame so after time I've had to replace it when it crumbled. Still well worth the money in my opinion and the ideal gift for anyone who loves birds.

Scroll down if you would like to share some of my garden birds.

Simple Trick

To stop larger birds eating all the seed on a flat tray - place the water bowl ring directly above it. Little birds can get in but large ones can't.

Different Birds - Different Feeding Habits

As you attract more and more birds into your space you will find that different kinds of birds have different feeding habits and you should cater for them all!

Clingers: tits, finches, nuthatches, woodpeckers and so on - they cling to feeders so hanging ones are ideal.

Ground Feeders: robins, blackbirds, sparrows, dunnocks, doves - they need a flat surface to feed from. Try to use a tray that has some form of drainage as seeds can quickly become water-logged and rot.

The joy of these multiple feeders in that you can feed all types of birds from it.

How to attract birds

What to feed birds

The RSPB, the leading bird charity in Britain, has some great advice or what to feed wild birds.

  • Bird Seed - you can get seeds for particular birds - niger seeds for finches for example or black sunflower seeds or a general one that tried to please them all.
  • Nuts - peanuts in particular are popular and cheap. Place them in a proper cage though not loose so the birds have to peck at them and break them down rather than try to swallow whole. Ground nuts in their shells are great too especially for the birder watching.
  • Suet - you can buy suet in slabs or balls - again don't go for the cheapest as there have been reports of problems with them.
  • Peanut butter - some birds love it.
  • Fruit and berries. Many people forget how much birds love fruit.
  • Meal worms and insects - during the breeding time and in winter adding some meal worms will give the chicks and adults a protein boost without them having to roam miles around searching.
  • Or - you can make up your own! This is an easy recipe that is also a great craft for the kids - Winter Food Cakes for the Birds. or how about this Toilet Roll Bird Feeder with peanut butter and bird seed? There are plenty more out there and it is a great hobby to get the kids into.

There are certainly no shortage of places to buy bird seed but be careful about buying cheaper brands of this or peanuts. Cheap peanuts in particular were responsible for killing off a huge number of tits in Britain just a few years ago because of cheap imports that carried a virus.

DON'T

Don't feed birds bread. There is no nutritional value for them and they cannot digest it properly.

Photo Gallery of birds at my feeding station

Click thumbnail to view full-size
DunnockMale and female greenfinchBlue TitCollared DoveFemale BlackbirdGoldfinchLongtailed TitSiskinStarlingWoodpecker
Dunnock
Dunnock
Male and female greenfinch
Male and female greenfinch
Blue Tit
Blue Tit
Collared Dove
Collared Dove
Female Blackbird
Female Blackbird
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Longtailed Tit
Longtailed Tit
Siskin
Siskin
Starling
Starling
Woodpecker
Woodpecker

Best video on British Birds in your garden

There are any number of stations available and if you click on the links you can go into Amazon to browse to your hearts content. But if you have a station you also need feeders. Different types of bird feed attract different types of birds so you need several. Personally I have a normal seed one that most wild birds like, one for niger seeds for finches, a peanut feeder and a cage for suet or fat slabs.

If you are interested in which attracts which visit my Bird blog for regular updates. I do talk about British birds but the basics are the same across the pond. We are just coming into winter so now is the time to be getting organized.

Birds need water too

Remember to put out water for bathing and drinking.

There are a huge number of videos available for you to watch wild birds and to show you how you can attract wild birds into your garden too. They also help you in identifying birds.

© 2013 Ann

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great tips for optimizing your bird feeder.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      I would love to have feeders again, but I'm afraid my dog would make the birds miserable. I was surprised to see your photo of the doves up on the feeder. We have mourning doves in this area. When I used to put up a feeder, I always found them on the ground under the feeder eating what the other birds spilled.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 2 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Love the photos you included of the birds visiting your feeder. Enjoyed your article about this bird feeding station.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      It is vital to feed the birds in Winter. It is very mild where we live but there just isn't much food for them. These bird feeders hopefully will inspire folks to feed the birds in their garden.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 2 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Always enjoy your bird articles, Annie!

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 2 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Sadly, my immediate locale is home only to pigeons and seagulls - smaller birds stay well away,

    • annieangel1 profile image
      Author

      Ann 2 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      yes I do Elyn but I also have a squirrel box which they tend to use more

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 2 years ago from Valencia, California

      Very nice Annie, still have my bird pages up and running, have got my own backyard birds now, little hummingbirds and other varieties, thanks for sharing

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      The winter birds are starting to arrive and I'm really looking forward to setting up feeders for them. Right now there's plenty of food available, but it won't be long that we'll be supplementing their diet and watching them from our kitchen windows.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 2 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Looks like it works well. Do you get squirrels or any other type of animals eating the seeds?

    • profile image

      dmhonz 3 years ago

      I love bird I have a parrot. is that bird is yours or they just eat there and leave