Predators in perspective
By providing well for your garden birds it is inevitable that you will attract some unwelcome visitors. However, most can be discouraged simply but effectively.
Sparrowhawks, for example, have to kill to survive and it is difficult to begrudge the hawk its essential food. However, it is upsetting to see your birdfeeder regulars picked off daily by a marauding hawk. The answer is to move your feeders closer to cover, thus giving the birds somewhere safe to escape. You can an also slow down the hawk’s attack with a number of strategically placed canes around the feeders. Consider, too, the Raptor Globe, a proven deterrent of birds of prey.
There can be a problem with feeding close to cover since it can easily hide a waiting cat. Domestic cats kill millions of birds in our gardens every year and are a far greater problem than all our magpies and sparrowhawks put together. Cunning devices like CATWatch will discourage prowling cats, as will prickly plants like pyracantha. Alternatively, gorse clippings placed where the cats lurk will also persuade them to move away.
Grey squirrels can be entertaining but they have a voracious appetite for peanuts and are major predators of eggs and young birds. Most of our feeders are highly resistant to squirrel damage, while Squirrel Guards, such as the Squirrel Slinky, offer added protection. For a 100% squirrel-proof feeder choose the Squirrel Buster® or the remarkable Flipper.