One of the pitfalls of putting out food to attract birds to the garden is some of the other wildlife which it attracts. One which can be a nuisance merely because of the amount of food it can eat or just steal is the grey squirrel. In spite of that it is still nice to observe them at close quarters. Not so welcome (if at all) is the brown rat. Their numbers are increasing and as easy food becomes scarce in Winter they are attracted by any food left lying around. This is especially so with the seed I scatter on the lawn for the birds which prefer to feed on the ground. A few weeks ago I saw one in broad daylight which joined in with the birds to help itself. It was so bold it almost rubbed noses with a pheasant which was feeding at the same time. Needless to say I got in touch with the local pest control officer who, for a price, came round and left some special food in safe places for Mr. Ratty. All that food has now gone and so has my unwelcome visitor.
My intention, when it warms up a bit, is to build a large low table to put the seed on. I think I will use some spare plastic water down pipe for the legs and hope that Mr. Ratty's relatives will not be able to climb them. After a previous time when I saw a rat on the bird table I fixed a large plastic plant pot upside down half way up the upright post so rats and squirrels cannot climb up it. I think it stopped the rats but the squirrel just jumps across from a nearby fence!