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Don’t let the rain spoil your enjoyment of feeding your garden birds

27th July 2012 Print

This un-seasonally wet weather has posed all sorts of problems regarding feeding garden birds, and this article will highlight some of the challenges when it rains – and some of the solutions to feeding your garden birds successfully during wet times.

The most obvious problem when it rains is that everything gets wet! Bird feeders, like peanut feeders and seed feeders will become damp or drenched depending on the prevailing wind conditions and the amount of rain falling.
There are many types of bird seed and during wet times, the best bird seed to offer your garden birds is a free flowing high energy seed mix which will flow freely through the bird feeders even if it gets slightly damp. The more free flowing bird seed mixes tend to have fewer peanut granules in them - so they clog less. Peanuts can be a challenge. To keep peanuts fresh and tasting good it is important not to let them stay too long in a peanut feeder. If the peanuts are not being eaten up quickly, then tip the remaining peanuts out of the peanut feeder, stir them around with your bag of peanuts and then refill your peanut feeders. This will reduce the moisture in the peanut feeders and will make the peanuts more palatable to your wild birds.

Continue to change the peanuts and the bird seed mixes regularly during the wet weather. You can also use rain guards on tubular feeders. Rain guards are domed ‘hats’ which fit snugly on to tubular bird feeders and will protect the bird seed and peanuts from the rain. They will also give some shelter to tits and greenfinches, sparrows and all the other garden birds which will perch on a tubular bird feeder.

A good quality bird table with an overhanging roof will also afford protection to bird feed you put out for them. Bird seed left on bird tables which gets wet will become mouldy and unpalatable in a short space of time - so make sure you scrape and clean your bird tables regularly during wet weather. Remove wet food from the bird table and discard into a bin. Do not throw on the ground.

At this time of year, many nest boxes are still full of broods being fed live foods by the adult garden birds. Nest boxes are a great source of shelter from the rain and empty bird nest boxes can offer respite from the cold and wet. When feeding live foods (like mealworms and mini mealworms) offer live foods in a mesh type of feeder. A mesh bird feeder will contain the live foods and will let the rainwater drain away – so not to drown the live mealworms!

When it rains, bird baths will fill up and a bird bath is a major attraction to garden birds. They use the water bath to take a bath in and to preen, as well as for drinking. The great thing of this rain is that bird baths are continuously filled with fresh water from above making garden birds happy to enjoy water bath and fresh drinking water. A garden without bird bath is like you’re missing great view in your garden.

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