Just after Christmas this year my lovely dad bought me a bird feeder and some seed balls. When I got back to Oxfordshire in the new year I wanted to put them up straight away. The trouble is we live on the second floor and there's no space on the balcony to put up a bird table and no trees or other projections from which to hang a bird feeder. However, we do have some fairly stout railings around the balcony and I figured that in a pinch they'd do.
So the bird feeder went up, the first lot of seed balls went in and we had lots of little feathery visitors. We had blue tits and sparrows, long tailed tits and coal tits, robins, even the odd gold finch - it was fantastic. And as well as the birds on the feeder itself we had blackbirds and wood pigeons picking up the stray seeds from the edge of the balcony. Before we went away to Australia I filled the feeder up so that the birds would keep coming whilst we were away.
[sorry for the blurry pic - they tend to fly off when I get too close to the window]
I was a bit surprised when we got back to see that all three seed balls had vanished during our absence (they'd not been going down that fast before) but we bought more feed and filled it up again.
This time three seed balls went in as many days - we refilled it and again the seed balls diminished bizarrely quickly. I couldn't think what was going on. Were the RSPB seed balls just much more tasty than the first lot we'd bought?
Then on Sunday morning I got the answer. I woke up to a dull, low, irregular clanging sound from outside the living room. When I went to investigate I found two cheeky jackdaws* clinging on to the balcony railings and pecking away at the feeder (resulting in it repeatedly swinging against the metal railings) whilst a very plump wood pigeon hoovered up anything that fell onto the floor.
They flew off as soon as I came into the room so I didn't have a chance to take a picture but I came home today to find the three of them at it again and this time the jackdaws didn't take off until I tapped on the glass.
I've now moved the feeder to a new station hanging from a nail below the guttering so we'll see if that foxes them. I'm not confident they're beaten yet as jackdaws are famously smart birds.
* btw I have nothing against jackdaws - I love them - but they're a bit big for the balcony and it's not really fair on the neighbours to have them ringing the dinner bell first thing in the morning.