Last Spring, I could not keep up with the pace of bird feed that was consumed. The parents had shown their fledglings how to forage for food, also, where other sources of food might be available. Those young ones learned fast and without a doubt, took the easy option.
This hard Winter, the birds seems to have been quite fussy. The peanuts are nibbled down more noticeably at a pace, while the contents of seed feeder, admittedly a double length one with four perches, decreases more slowly. Two fat balls still hang intact, in their nets. One was a quarter nibbled. On the strength of this observation, I bought a peanut 'house'. It has a roof that overhangs that is supposed to keep the nuts relatively dry; there is a tray for tiny bird feet to cling onto or stand upon.
All the bird feeding containers are hung from a fence in an area that has some shelter from a bush and an even taller stone dyke. The feeders do wave about a little bit. But then, if I had a bird table, unless it was concreted in to the ground, it would constantly be blown over. I think, on balance, the present options are the best ones. I have yet to see the new peanut feeder used as the new meeting place in town. I wonder if the birds prefer their peanuts to be wet and soft?
I guess that there are many people putting out food for the birds, they therefore, can afford to pick and choose whose gardens and feeders they grace their presence with. Starlings, which we saw plenty of before the depth of Winter, who would usually chomp their way through fat balls, do not seem to be either ravenous or plentiful in our immediate area. Even the seagulls seem to have all but disappeared for now, likewise, blackbirds. We did have some visits from green finches in early November, and robins too just before the really cold snap.