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Although a bird table is one of the best ways to welcome wild birds to your garden it can also attract unwanted visitors.

Pigeon On Bird Table

However, by following some simple advice it is possible to prevent them coming to your bird table providing a safe space for your birds to feed.

Cats

Cats may attempt to climb the pole of your bird table worrying or even killing the birds who are trying to feed from it. They will often conceal themselves in nearby shrubs waiting for the right moment to pounce so make sure you position your bird table in the open to give birds time to escape if they see a cat approaching.

It is possible to buy baffles that you fit to the pole to prevent cats climbing up the table or you could make your own from an old metal mixing bowl or biscuit tin. Chicken wire or grease smeared to the pole may also prevent cats climbing up.

If you own a cat then try fitting a bell to its collar to give birds some warning and if you have trouble with neighbours’ cats visiting your garden then we have a number of ideas on how to deter them.

Squirrels

Although they are unlikely to harm the birds that come to feed at your table once they are aware you are putting out food they will do all they can to steal it before birds have a chance.

Squirrels are incredibly acrobatic so try using a baffle to prevent them from climbing up and don’t position your bird table near a bird table or fence which a squirrel could jump from.

Again we have plenty of advice for deterring squirrels so your garden birds can feed in peace.

Rats

Many people are put off feeding birds because they are worried they will attract rats and other rodents. Do not offer too much food at once on your bird table so that there are no leftovers and it is a good idea to remove any uneaten food at the end of each day.

Make sure you sweep under your bird table to clear away any food birds have dropped on the ground. You can also buy seed trays that attach to your bird table to catch any husks that fall or choose seed without husks to minimize waste.

Big Birds

Although you will want to attract a variety of birds to your garden some birds such as pigeons and gulls can dominate your bird table leaving little food left for smaller birds.

Choosing a bird table with a roof can help prevent bigger birds landing on the table as well as having the added benefit of keeping the food dry.

Don’t put out big pieces of food which large birds may fly off with and use a variety of other feeders as well as your bird table to give different species of birds a chance.

Disease

Feeding birds is meant to improve their health so the last thing you want to do is attract bacteria and disease to your bird table which may harm or even kill wild birds.

Remove uneaten food before it has a chance to go rotten and scrape away droppings which can contain dangerous parasites.

In warmer weather you should clean your bird table more often using a mild disinfectant and watch out for any cracks and crevices which could harbor rotten food.

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