The following is a shameless plug for my friends at Vine House Farm who asked me to try out Flutter Butter and see what our birds thought of it.
It’s always nice to try out something different, and despite there seeming to be a lot of peanut butter based bird food around at the moment, we’d not tried out any in our garden. So when the opportunity arose to see what our birds thought of peanut butter, we were keen to give it a try.
To put things in perspective we offer fat balls all year round, and always have done in many different gardens, but they don’t seem particularly popular in this one. They are eaten, but at nothing like the rate, the seed mixes or straight food is consumed. So it was with some trepidation that we tried out Flutter Butter.
Flutter Butter is a no salt peanut butter that comes in small pots (or pods and they are called) each holding 170g. These are quite small, but given the rate at which the birds were likely to eat an entire pod in our garden, it was probably for the best as the food was more likely to stay edible. The pods come shrunk wrapped in threes and are easy to store and to fit into the feeder.
The Flutter Butter Feeder (try saying that quickly) is quite ingenious in that it can be either hung on chains or located via a hinged bracket from a fence or wall. We chose the latter and fitted it to the top of the bird table. Then all you need to do is install the perch and locate one of the pods into the feeder, and it’s ready to go. Refilling is a doddle as the pods locate with a quarter turn into the feeder. Once empty, the pods can be put in with your domestic recycling as they are made from PET 1 plastic, the same as the majority of food packaging.
The all-important thing is, do the birds like it? Well, within a matter of moments of setting the feeder up a blue tit few to the perch and had a peck at the peanut butter. This was very encouraging, but apart from this inquisitive individual, not a lot more visits were seen for some time. We continued to feed as normal and slowly (over a few days) more birds paid a visit to try out what was on offer.
At the time of writing (just over a week into the experiment) we are seeing more birds making multiple visits to the feeder. This may not seem significant, but when you compare this to the fat balls on offer, which are seeing no visits at all at the moment, this is quite something. It’s also great to see the birds feeding up on high-calorie fat-based food at a time when they need to be building up reserves for the coming winter - a winter that is predicted to be harsh if the tabloids are to be believed!
So would I consider this a success? Yes, given that this type of food isn’t popular within our bird community and it will be good to be able to offer an alternative over the coming winter months. As the weather gets colder, it will also be interesting to see if the number of bird visitors increases. Offering a variety of foods will hopefully attract a broader range of bird species, and in doing so will also improve the survival prospects those that do visit your garden.