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Feeding birds fat balls etc...

Goatsmilkuk 12 783
23 Dec 2005 11:32AM
As I look through the site I see some stunning bird shots (feathered type) and see that quite a few people enjoy taking shots of them.

I found the following on the RSPB website and thought I would share it.

Mesh bags - a warning

Peanuts and fat balls are regularly sold in nylon mesh bags. Never put out any food in mesh bags. These may trap birds' feet and even cause broken or torn off feet and legs. Birds with a barbed tongue, eg woodpeckers, can become trapped by their beaks.

Source: Feeding garden birds wildlife information leaflet (2003)



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CaptivePhotons 14 1.7k 2 England
23 Dec 2005 11:50AM

Quote:Feeding birds fat balls

I thought I'd *ahem* inadvertently logged on to the wrong site for a moment there.
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
23 Dec 2005 11:55AM
PMSL I never even thought of it like that, well spotted.

When I read it now I laugh out loud

Take care

Tooth 12 5.8k 227 Ireland
23 Dec 2005 5:07PM
just back from the pub, and proud to let you know that Iwaqs left a list of things to do today (it's called me being on holiday Wink ) and one of them was feed the birds.... and I worked out that the mesh wasn't a good idea

So I'm glad to see I'm vindicated

happy christmas and all that

ellis rowell 13 2.0k United Kingdom
24 Dec 2005 1:23AM
The fact that so many fat balls are sold belies this, as there would be a lot of casualties if this were so. I have lived in the country for 70+ years and have never seen this problem arise. It could be a risk if you are putting them in woodland areas. I only put then in our yard next to the kitchen window, hanging from the catinery which carries the power line to the garage. Another problem which can arise (as I have found) is that feeders encourage rats. They can't get to the feeder but the Great Tits throw the seed all over the place. Being close to the window I was able to shoot the rat at about 8 feet range.
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
24 Dec 2005 2:29AM
Well that's it then the RSPB are so obviously wrong and you are right based on the research you have carried out for the 70+ years you have lived in the country.

I do wonder how you would know if a bird has broken it's foot/leg then flown off and died elsewhere other than 8 feet from your window, I would imagine that not all casualties would occur or go to your garden to die.

24 Dec 2005 3:15AM
With regards to the mesh article issued by the RSPB, this seems to be over exaggerated a bit, I have been using fat balls in mesh for years with no problems. Yes its an important safety issue as is the food people seem to supply birds during the winter months but personally I think cats, main roads & garden rodentacides cause much more damage to our wildlife. Note taken though on the mesh.

For the RSPB to make such an article surely shouldn't they add the results of their findings to back this claim up or even an image showing the danger
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
24 Dec 2005 3:18AM
I think the thing to remember is even if the information serves to prevent suffering to just one bird then it's been worth doing.

24 Dec 2005 3:19AM
I agree but wheres the facts
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
24 Dec 2005 3:24AM
Well I have e-mailed the RSPB with a link to this site asking if they have any further information, however they will be unable to answer q's this side of Xmas.

Soon as I get a reply I will post it.

klewis 13 1.9k 1 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2005 3:24AM
I would suggest that the benefit of the fat balls to thousands of birds far outweighs the risk of injury to a very very small % of the bird population. Far more birds would die over winter if they didnt have access to the food source
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
24 Dec 2005 3:28AM
Agree they need the food, but what stopping you buying a safe feeder to put the fat balls into, as they are available and cheap to buy, plus they look better than a mesh bag hanging in a tree. I don't know that it is a very very small percentage of birds that get injured if you know more of the number facts please post them here.Beside even if it is a small number it should not be reason not to use the correct feeder as as I have said before even one is too many to injure.


klewis 13 1.9k 1 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2005 3:34AM
I said a very small % purely based on the fact that there would be widespread advertising of the problem, if it was a serious problem, rather than a small note on the RSPB site. However, I don't disagree that there are safer alternatives that don't cost a lot to purchase. Just keep getting the food out there is the most important issue
24 Dec 2005 3:35AM
I agree totally Kev. The percentage of birds that are attracted to gardens will be huge, I would say that a high volume are killed by hitting patio windows or had by cats. Casualties from fat balls in mesh must be such a small percentage.

If its such a concern surely the RSPB really should be tackling the suppliers & not those who purchase them?

If they respond it will be interesting to read what the facts are.
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
24 Dec 2005 3:44AM
Surely it lies with both suppliers and buyers as if no one bought the mesh bags then they would not be sold, plus responsible people tend to purchase the correct feeder and take the fat ball out of the mesh before feeding the birds, it's really not difficult unless you really don't care about even a small amount of birds being injured.

I did a quick search on safe type feeders and found a basic refillable model complete with fat balls for 2.99 up to 6.99 for a more trendy type, so money should not be an issue. I really can't see a reason not to buy one.


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