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....is a line you would have heard a lot round mine these last few months My family began donating to the RSPB last year, and my daughter receives magazines every so often updating her on what to look out for in the garden. Since joining, we've made a point of leaving food out in the garden for the various birds and wildlife, and one of the items we have had swinging from our trees since around March is a Gardman coco fat feeder. These are available in packs of various sizes - we purchased 2 from the local garden centre, and we paid around £2 a pop, though having looked online at prices I can see it would work out much more economical to buy in a pack of six from Amazon, which is just under 9 quid. Essentially, this is a small coconut, lopped in half and filled up with all kinds of delicious goodies - delicious to birds, and to tits in particular that is, not to us. Essentially it's a mix of suet and seeds, designed to give a high energy food to your garden visitors, and comes complete with a short loop of rope attached to allow it to be hung up. These fats and seeds make excellent food for birds year round, although more so in winter when there aren't as many insects and seeds to be found.Some species of birds, such as the aforementioned Tits. When I first hung this ball up, it was still very cold. I did notice a few birds pecking at it and taking the odd nibble out of it, though I never saw more than a couple having a bash at once. This may well be because the garden of the house I have moved into was, at the time, just lawn, whereas neighbouring gardens had an abundance of berried hedges and overflowing bird tables. However, as the weather warmed up, I noticed a larger number of birds pecking at it, perhaps having now discovered where it was. Now, I'm not the bird watcher in my family (that would be my daughter) but I've been able to identify a Blue Tit, a Great Tit, and a Robin feeding directly from the balls, whilst other birds gather underneath to pick up the suet crumbs and seeds that drop. Sadly, I'm not sure how long these balls last . The first one vanished after two months, and we had no idea where it went. However, having witnessed just yesterday what has happened to the second one (hung up after the mysterious disappearance of the first) I now have my suspicions. I was doing the washing up, looking out of the kitchen window, I noticed a squirrel bouncing over the lawn and up the tree to get to the ball. As I watched, he bit the string, and before I could do anything, ran away with the whole thing! It would seem these are popular with birds and squirrels alike, and they are worth the money in amusement value alone for watching the squirrel theft. A great way to feed winter birds, 4 stars!
I like to feed the birds that venture into the garden and we have several feeders but I like to use these sometimes because they look a bit more natural and the birds seem to love them. I buy the Gardman Co Co Fat Feeder from my local garden centre. The first time I bought them they were on offer but the regular price is round about £2.00. The CoCo Fat Feeder is half a coconut shell filled with high energy suet and seeds. It comes with just a plastic wrapper and a label stuck tot he front. This tells the customer that it is a feeder for wild birds and attracts long tailed tits, great tits, blue tits, starlings and siskins. There's also a little picture of a bird with the caption "bring your garden to life". It also displays the BTO logo, the British Trust for Ornithology which is a charitable research organisation that records wildlife population, particularly birds. More information about this can be found at www.bto.org. The co co feeder comes with a string loop attached to the top of it so it can be hung, We hang ours in the tree in our garden but if you have a bird table they can be hung from this too. The feeder is full of suet and seeds. You can see the little seeds in the fat and there seems to be a good amount of them. Birds need to build up fat reserves to see them through the winter so food like this is important to give them an extra layer of fat before the cold weather really sets in and food becomes less available. We always have small birds feeding on the co co feeder, particularly blue tits. They really seem to love them and eat every bit from the shell. Of course when the shell is empty you could fill it with fat and seeds yourself. Before I do this I do give the shell a very quick rinse with boiling water first. To fill the shell I just melt some suet and add whatever I happen to have. Sometimes some crunchy peanut butter or oats. I sometimes buy a big bag of mixed wild bird seed and mix this in. Raisins are another thing that they seem to like added to the suet. Whether you re fill your co co feeder or just use it the once they are reasonably priced and the birds will thank you for it. The coconut shell with the string hanger looks natural and will blend in nicely with most gardens. This is a simple little bird feeder but they certainly do seem to love it.
As part of our efforts to incite birds into our garden we have tried various suet fat balls and one of the ones we really like is the Gardman coco fat feeders. I tend to pick these up when I visit our local garden centre as they seem to be stocked there individually, however you can buy these off the Internet in packs of 6 or 10 shells from Amazon. These fat feeders are the traditional type of fat feeder of a filled half a coconut shell. The shell is filled with high fat suet rich in oils for your local wildlife and is stuffed to the brim with lots of different types of seeds. The mixture in this fat feeder is supposed to attract various tits including long tail blue tit and also starlings. The design is straight forward there is a piece of Hessian type string threaded through the coconut shell and this then loops onto either a tree or a bird feeding station. The birds that do come to this feeder does appear to be the mainly the tits and starlings in our garden but we do also get the odd thrush having a try too. All of which are nice and pretty to watch and my son and I love watching them trying to get the shell in place to get the seeds out. We hang ours from a tree and the birds just seem to adore this quality of the mixture inside this feeder as they only seem to last about 2 weeks at most before they are empty and you are left with the husk shell of the coconut. These are easily disposed of and the beauty of this compared to a fat ball feeder or similar is there is no washing out of the feeder to do to keep it clean. A friend of mine who has an allotment rather than throwing the shell out actually smashes it up and uses this around some of her plants to keep the slugs and snails away she claims it seems to work. I am going to try it this year with some seedlings that my son and I are currently growing in our garden as it seems a nice eco friendly way to stop those pesky slugs and snails attacking plants. These are a lovely feeder for any garden they are eco friendly and easy to use and I would recommend them at around £2 individually for a garden centre or online for £10 for a 10 pack I think it is a small price it pay for the joy and beauty the birds bring into the garden.