The first point to make is that your bird table should be practical and (if wooden) made out of FSC certified timber – a basic wooden tray, ideally with edges and drainage holes is perfect. Some people prefer to purchase one without a roof while others prefer a roof, to help keep the food dry. The table design itself shouldn’t be too complicated. After all, your garden birds are only really interested in the food that is on it. Secondly, check to see if the wood is smooth as any sharp edges can be a danger to birds’ feet. Never be tempted to buy a table that has a nest box in the roof. Encouraging birds to feed near to an occupied nest box is not a good idea also avoid thatched ones as you may find your lovely thatched roof disappearing in spring as birds make their nests.
Ground feeding birds need something a little different from the traditional table offerings: A ground feeding tray has shorter legs than a regular bird table, and essentially has drainage holes. This type of table is more satisfactory than putting seed directly onto the ground and it’s more hygienic too. Haith’s have a range of hanging feeders that could be suitable alternatives. The new (and more affordable) version of one of our all-time favourite live food and soft food feeders is our new X1 Robin Feeder, available in large or mini, the dome height can be adjusted to keep larger birds - like pigeons - off the food, this will attract birds like Robins and sparrows.
Where to site your table is very important, choose a quiet location, ideally near to the house so you can enjoy all the activity in comfort without disturbing your garden visitors. Try placing your table where the birds have a clear view of any predators approaching while they are trying to feed. It may help to site near a small bush or tree, at least 2-3 metres away, where birds can ‘queue’ to feed – and indeed escape to if they are frightened. Please be patient, it may take a few days before you see any birds on a new table. Once they have discovered the feeding station and they are confident that they can feed in safety, they should become regular visitors.
Your new table will be suitable for feeding a wide variety of seeds. Our Soft food range, including Golden Chorus, Softbill Food and Mealworm Crumble are ideal mixes to use, although any seed mix can be placed on it. We strongly advise against feeding loose peanuts in this way, they should always be fed from a mesh container to avoid birds choking on them. However Haith’s Peanut Granules are the perfect size for your table top.
You may ask, "What birds will visit my bird table?" Your most likely and most frequent visitors will probably be Greenfinches, House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds and Collared Doves. Birds such as thrushes, Chaffinches, Robins, and Dunnocks are more likely to be attracted to a ground feeder.
Hygiene is also another important factor. Table tops must be cleaned regularly and never allow a build- up of old food. Dirty tables can be a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria which may lead to an outbreak of disease. Try to brush off any leftover food every time you put out fresh clean seed. Scrub yours with a disinfectant or a special spray regularly, our Safe 4 range is suitable for this job. Clean even more regularly if you know of any sick birds in your area.
Move your wooden table from time to time to help prevent an accumulation of droppings underneath. We would always recommend wearing gloves when cleaning, and please wash your hands immediately after you have finished. Should your clothes become dirty whilst cleaning, wash these too.
Finally, please do not expect a wooden table to last indefinitely. As it ages, it may become difficult to clean, and any cracks and splits in the wood may be a hiding place for harmful bacteria we discussed earlier. Once you see signs of decay maybe it’s time to buy a new one. See our range of bird tables, ground feeders and accessories by clicking here
Bird tables broaden the appeal and advertise that your garden is a feeding hot spot where birds can gather to feed - so go on – treat you and your garden birds to a table and the whole family can enjoy the bird feeding spectacle.