Charlara Dieback of Ash

Infographic courtesy of Crowders.

They also have an article presenting a look at the potential impact on the UK of Chalara Dieback of Ash.

Regular correspondent Jenny, from Scotland ,sent in this wonderful picture of a tame Robin that eats from her hand and poses beautifully for pictures. I think it's a great shot.


Thanks to my own dear father for this nice picture of a pheasant strutting through the stubble of a farmer's field. It's easy to forget that we have such a colourful and exotic bird in the UK.

A few months ago the folks at Nature's Feast kindly sent me a bird feeder to review, along with some food to put in it. A couple of my existing feeders had become quite damaged so this was timely and meant I had a good comparison to make. Would this new feeder fare better than the old ones?

Those old feeders were cheap and plasticky 'value for money' purchases from a garden centre, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that they fell foul of the elements, squirrels and next door's cat. The biggest problem occurs when they get knocked down by the wind or animals and break on hitting the floor. I was hopeful that this Nature's Feast feeder's more robust construction would prove more successful, and indeed it has proved to be so far. It has solid metal fittings on the main plastic tube, with the perches for each hole being metal pegs that screw in. These shouldn't break off nearly as easily as moulded plastic perches.

Those metal perches are also part of a rather neat design where the base of the feeder can be removed by unscrewing the three around the bottom, which makes it very much easier to clean. I have always struggled in the past to get at the crevices at the bottom of my feeders, poking at them with a bottle brush from above or through the feeding holes, but here there are no crevices once the base is removed. Cleaning feeders is very important to get rid of rotting food and prevent spread of disease and I'm often remiss because it's usually such a chore.


The tube itself is in this case split internally into three twisting chambers, so you can fill it with three different foods to attract a greater variety of wildlife. Or just for the novelty effect, which is actually rather pleasing. It probably also adds to the overall robustness of the tube. Alas I avoid bird food containing peanuts owing to an allergy and this means I struggle to find 3 different things to go in it (most mixes have peanut granules in them). I originally stocked it with sunflower hearts and black sunflower seeds, also kindly supplied by Nature's Feast and it was regularly festooned with finches, as per my picture below.

Overall I'm very pleased with this feeder and would recommend it for its solid, easy to clean construction. The triple twist is a nice feature too.