What type of bird table is it?
It’s a “Kelburn” from the Johnston and Jeff premium range
What are its vital statistics?
It’s 1.5 m high, and the roofed top bit is 59cm x 59cm. It weighs 7.47 kilos.
Does it come with full instructions and components?
Yes everything is included, fixings and all. There are only five separate pieces, plus the bits you need to fix it together with. You can have a look at the assembly instructions here: The Premium Boxed Instructions – Generic V3.
Does the bird table need any maintenance?
It’s recommended that you clean it regularly, using a bird-safe disinfectant. You can buy specialist veterinary disinfectants but the British Trust for Ornithology suggests you use a weak solution of domestic bleach. Dilute it by one part bleach to 9 parts water. Scrape off any old food and poo and stuff, give it a clean, then spray it with bleach. Because bird tables attract in a lot of different species (including non-birds!) it’s important to keep it clean to prevent the spread of disease. Greenfinch populations declined by 35% in 2006 – 2009, partly due to diseases spread on bird feeders.
The product has been dipped in a water based non toxic woodstain with should keep it in good condition for a good few years. If you need to re-treat it make sure you use a bird safe, non toxic treatment.
How to keep rats and squirrels off the bird table.
This is a tricky one and there are all kinds of solutions offered. The RSPB suggests fixing an inverted biscuit tin on the bird table support. This makes it tricky for them to climb up. I’m trying to get hold of a dome thing that fixes to the support which is a bit neater and saves taking a tin opener to your biscuit tin which sounds dangerous. Try to ensure there isn’t food lying around on the ground for rodents, especially rats. It’s nice to see the ground feeding birds but just make sure it’s them getting the food and not our furry friends.
What food can you put out on the bird table?
When my son was young we used to have heaps of fun feeding bread to the ducks. Recent advice has been not to feed bread to wild birds. However according to the RSPB a bit of bread is fine so long as it doesn’t make up the whole diet. Damp bread is better than stale bread but it will go mouldy and make the bird table acky more quickly. You know we hate waste a Chimney Sheep? And you know how you mustn’t put fat down the sink? So you can pour fat onto stale bread, let it soak in, and then put it out for the birds to make it more nutritious for them and avoid putting food waste in the bin.
What’s better, a bird table or a bird feeder?
It’s really a matter of preference, and depends on what space you’ve got in your garden. The advantage of a bird table is that you can put out more leftover scraps. You can also fit hooks to the bird table and hang feeders from it, so you get the best of both.