I’ve tried all sorts of different things that birds are supposed to go mad for, most have been a complete failure. Fat balls would sometimes get eaten, but would mostly go manky. As did the feeder full of peanuts, the mixed seeds, the Niger seeds, the fat blocks, and probably a number of others.
What does work are sunflower hearts, for the goldfinches, although their numbers have dropped dramatically, suet pellets, although the ones with mealworms in are most popular, calci worms, which I use instead of mealworms – I have a clear plastic tube feeder that originally had mixed seeds in that never got eaten, so I tried mealworms, and the starlings spotted those and will empty it in twenty minutes! I changed to calci worms because the hedgehogs gobble up the stuff the birds drop, and mealworms aren’t good for the ‘hogs. I have found fatballs the birds do like, the Peckish energy balls, which have sunflower seeds and other stuff in. They’re a bit more crumbly than most, which might be why most birds seem to like them. I’ve got them in a long plastic feeder with fairly large holes in, which I’ve managed to hang in a position that the pigeons can’t get at now, but the starlings, sparrows, several varieties of tit, a pair of magpies and a pair of carrion crows all take advantage of it, which is good to see.
I was watching the crows this morning, and they’re surprisingly delicate about eating from the feeder, (unlike the starlings…), they peck at the balls, almost picking out the best bits, then drop down onto the patio and pick up the bits they’ve dropped.
I get mine from Wilco’s, but Homebase and other places sell them, I buy the All Season energy balls, in a 12 for the price of six pack, so a good tryout without spending lots on a tub.
Something else I’ve noticed as well; I’ve made up a new feeding box for the hedgehogs, it’s one of those storage boxes that go under the bed. I put three saucers along the lid, because the box is upside down, and cut two holes one side, one the other, so the ‘hogs can get in and out if there’s several of them. It used to be that there would always be food left on the plates I used to use the next morning.
Except the plates were almost completely clean. Then I got up fairly early one morning and checked out the birds, and the starlings are going in and out of the holes and clearing up the leftovers! That’s a benefit I hadn’t considered.