Feeding the birds is not something that the French seem so keen on. If you see a bird table or feeder hanging down from a tree its a good bet that the property is owned by British people. My neighbour is French and he does put out food for the birds and also has a few nest boxes in his garden but having said that the feeding only amounts to throwing some crumbs outside his front door and to spreading some food onto a large up turned barrel in his back garden. I think he is the exception to the rule.
As a result I don’t think French birds are that used to visiting feeding stations, not like in Britain where every other garden has something out for the Blue tits and Robins. You can buy fat balls and bird food in the supermarkets now, I think this is largely sold to the growing ex pat population, incidentally the fat balls are generally much cheaper in France than in Britain.
Putting food out for the birds is well worth while though, as once they do learn what it is all about you can attract quite a good number to your garden.I have an old log stood on end that acts as a bird table and then I have some nails in a tree which I attach fat balls to. I did have a container for the fat balls but something got the hang of removing all the balls in one go so I dispensed with that, probably the squirrel or maybe rats. So don’t use anything too elaborate or artificial. I think that could put the birds off. We get lots of Blue tits and Great tits and sometimes a party of Long tailed tits. These birds are often accompanied by other birds, they seem to go round in a mixed group, safety in numbers I suppose. The birds that sometimes tag along with the Tits are Tree creepers, Nuthatches, Firecrests and in summer various Warblers like Chifchafs and Willow Warblers.
What we get quite often is Black Redstarts, Pied Wagtails, Woodpeckers, Stonechats and lots of Chafinches. The stars of the show are Golden Orioles, Nightingales, Hoopoes, Buzzards and Hen Harriers. There are many more besides but even if you are not a Birder, I think putting the odd bit of food out for the birds will be quite rewarding, but be patient and don’t expect them to turn up half an hour after you have put out the first fat ball. They have to get used to it will be a little while before they learn but then you will have the joy of birds every day.
We also get Red squirrels on a daily basis but sometimes we also get Fat Dormice, (that’s their proper name, I am not being rude to them) and we have had Beech Martens and Garden dormice but not recently… I think the garden has become a bit too manicured in the last few years. Is that an excuse to spend less time keeping it under control?
If you want to know more about the birds in this area have a look at the LPO site its League for the Protection of Oiseaux its like our RSPB or a good local site is Les Mousellines both of which are on my Blogroll.