Hanging Bird Tables and Houses
It is relatively straightforward to build your own bird table. Alternatively you can purchase a pre-built table. Either way the mounting or hanging of the table requires a little thought even if it is supplied with a post or stand. You need to ensure that the table is sturdy and safe for the birds and that you outwit the cats and squirrels!
Your first consideration will be where to position your table or hanging bird table. It is best to choose somewhere relatively close to bushes or trees as these will provide cover for the birds. Wild birds may wish to watch the table for while before feeding to ensure that they feel safe to use it. The birds also appreciate a haven to retreat to if a predator does happen to appear.
Posts and Stands
If you are making your own post or stand for the table then metal is better material than wood as it is much harder for squirrels and cats to climb it. However, it is difficult to attach a wooden table to a metal post and so it is easier to use a wooden post and then to slide a length of plastic drainpipe over it.
There are other ways to foil the squirrels by preventing them from scaling the post. Various cones and discs are available which can be attached to the post to stop the squirrels in their tracks.
When your post has been squirrel proofed you can then drive it into the ground making sure that you sink it deep enough for the table to remain stable in the wind. This would normally mean to a depth of at least 30cms. The table should be 1.2m to 1.75m above the ground. The ideal height will depend on where you view the birds from, how agile the local cats are and how tall you are. You must be able to reach the table in order to replenish the food and to clean it.
Alternatively you can construct or purchase a free standing table featuring a post with a cross shaped base. The base must be broad enough for the table to be stable in windy conditions. If you have purchased a bird table and you don’t feel that it is stable enough then you can place rocks on the feet to weight them down.
Hanging Bird Tables
If you have chosen to use a hanging bird table then it is best to suspend it using wire or a light metal chain as these materials cannot be chewed through by the neighbourhood squirrels. It is advisable to hang the table from more than one point otherwise it will spin around. Hanging bird tables can be suspended from tree branches or washing lines but do remember that cats can climb trees! This is also a consideration when choosing a site for hanging bird house. If your wires or chains will be in contact with a tree then the movement of the table could cause them to start cutting into the wood. You can get round this by threading the chain through a piece of garden hose. This may not be a particularly elegant look but it does the trick!