The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to attract birds to your winter garden. Part three: supplement regular feeding with fat balls

fat balls attract birdsWe have three feeders hanging in the winter flowering honeysuckle just outside our kitchen window. If we hang fat balls over the hooks at the top of the feeders when we refill them, different species of birds feed simultaneously from the same feeder. If we are lucky we see six species of birds feeding, three at the top and three at the bottom. Usually different species form an orderly queue in the honeysuckle and wait their turn. Why not add a penthouse restaurant and double the covers?

The two feeders that contain wild bird seed are emptied within a couple of days. They only need to be topped up every four days if we hang a fat ball on top of each feeder. There isn’t such a great demand for the peanut feeder but at least it ensures there is generally something for the birds to eat. But even the peanuts are wolfed down quickly if the others are empty.

Sometimes I’m so rushed in the morning that there’s no time to refill the empty feeders. At this time of year it’s often dark when Jalopy and I return home in the evening.

So I bought a large drum of fat balls at the garden centre recently. I always keep my eyes peeled for bargain offers and stock up when they are on sale. Now, if the feeders are empty on a busy morning, I grab a couple of fat balls and hang these over the hooks of the feeders . This only takes seconds before I open Jalopy’s door and purr into oblivion. It guarantees that the bird restaurant is open 24/7.

We woke to snow this morning. I was really pleased to see that there was a thick cluster of birds around the fat balls.

Tricks and tips:

  • Locate your feeders in areas that you pass by every day. Then you will notice if they are empty. This sounds obvious but all to often I am working in houses where the feeders are out of sight of the house. During winter they swing empty for months. If the feeders are located outside a window, you will enjoy watching the birds feeding and know instantly if they have run out of food.

***The RSPB online shop has a great selection of feeders and bird food***


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