Monday, 3 February 2014

Bird table reviews… Mmm

One very interesting ‘fact’ I picked up in my searching around looking at bird table reviews and advice given, was that birds prefer natural colours and a table that blends in to the garden. This caught my attention - is there really any evidence of this? I would question this suggestion. Please do leave a comment if you have experience to share on this :-)

Okay, so we do know that birds can see in colour but it isn't necessarily in the same ranges as we do. For example, I have heard the colour intensity (that our human eyes can’t see) in the breast of male Blue tits is recognised by female Blue tits as a good mate choice. It’s well known that come Spring the more colourful male birds show off and look their best to attract mates as well as singing their little hearts out in their own bird world, singing competition.

Regular blog visitors might guess why I might be getting a little vocal here. I have added a beautiful, mint green painted bird table to my garden. After seeing my full garden feeder view below (detailed chat about my garden feeders here) it’s pretty clear to see that my new bird table doesn’t blend into my garden at all!




On the contrary, this 180cm high bird table is in complete contrast to the blending I do in scale, materials, colour, texture and planting throughout my garden. I have a fussy eye and change plants and garden beds around a lot.

My garden borders have been planted to lead you through my garden – not to stop you in your tracks. This brightly painted bird table stops my fussy eye – what’s that about then? There are two answers to this question. Please do read on :-)

My eye spotted this pretty Buttermere bird table some time ago. My initial thought was - could a painted bird table be more hygienic than a wooden table without a washable plastic tray insert? Keeping bird feeders and bird tables clean is what stops the spread of disease around the bird population of our gardens - perhaps we have a solution here :-)

Sorry, the image below is bad, but I’m sharing it again to highlight good hygiene at bird tables and feeders. This is a starving Greenfinch suffering from Trichomoniasis in my garden back in 2007.




So, it may come as no surprise to readers that I’ve sold my blogging sole for a Greenfinch with a review of the Buttermere bird table! My garden budget can only stretch so far and I do provide lots for birds and wildlife in my garden.


Back in November last year, I spotted an advertising request from ROSINDALES in my mail box. I instantly recognised the company name and replied, with a big smile, proposing a Butteremere bird table (free of charge) for review instead. Thanks again, Phil & Sharon, it was nice to speak with you both on the phone too :-)

As my bird table didn’t come through the normal ordering channels I can’t comment on delivery times or any notification of delivery given. However, I can comment on the size of my parcel – it was bigger than I expected and pretty heavy. At the time, I joked that it could have been a washing machine inside – slight exaggeration it weighs in at 16.4kg ;-)


Congratulations, Rosindales that was a pretty impressively packed bird table! Oh yes, I needed a second pair of hands to get the main table out :-) As you said, when we spoke, delivery of the slate roof intact requires careful packing. My slate roof arrived intact.

The reason for the weight of my parcel (apart from the obvious being slate) was clear to see as we unwrapped the many pieces of painted wood – this was a quality product. This bird table was made using hard wearing Swedish redwood sourced from managed sustainable forests.




It was great to see the main bird table came already made up in one piece! All the other elements in the parcel related to the stand. I liked the use of wooden dowels and glue although did feel a small bottle of glue would be easier to use than the sachet of glue provided. We used our own bottle of PVA glue so I can’t comment if there was enough glue in the sachet.

The main support pole came in two parts which fitted nicely together. The building of the base took the longest time and it should be noted that, at 74cm x74cm, it needs a good sized space in the garden. I staggered my base between stone paving and a paving brick in my border to prevent any deterioration to the base feet (not visible in my images).




The Buttermere bird table is much higher (134cm feeding platform height) and bigger overall than I expected. Having a small garden with limited space in the area I would choose to site a bird table, I really should have checked measurements but I was smitten by the product look! Come on, as gardeners we have all done this with many a garden feature or plant ;-)

For extra stability in high winds, which we’ve had, I positioned some colourful heavy pots from another part of the garden between the table base legs. These pots also camouflage the base a bit as I feel without them my eye would be drawn to the base and not the table. However, I completely understand the need for such a sound base on a solid product like this.

There are a good few flimsy stands/bases being sold with bird tables which is always disappointing to see. At a solid 7cm x 7cm thick, the Buttermere bird table stand cannot be labelled as flimsy - not at all.

Flimsy quality is often reflected in a product price - although not always. Where price is concerned, comparing the Buttermere to other tables of similar size in garden centres I'd say its a fair price/good value for money for the design, quality of wood and finish.

The regular price for the mint green painted Buttermere bird table is £149.99 but at the moment it is being sold at a special price of £119.99. At present Rosindales are the only supplier of this bird table although I have seen one in a local garden centre.


“This brightly painted bird table stops my fussy eye – what’s that about then?” The second answer to that is that I wanted to make a feature of a bird table to lift the wet, dark winter days. I also wanted to see the birds more clearly and improve my chances for photos and video of my visitors. Standing tall and catching the early morning light this bird table works a treat :-)

As yet, I can’t comment on how the paint finish of the Buttermere bird table will stand up to long periods of heavy frosts and cold temps. We had a few cold days when my table took its place in my garden. I became a tad concerned with the paint finish on an edge of the feeder tray and contacted Rosindales who found my images a mystery as they hadn’t seen this before and had no other similar customer feedback.

A faulty batch of paint was suspected and I was sent a replacement tray – what a great design feature there! Over, the weekend we finally got round to changing over the table trays and it was a very simple job. Before screwing the new tray on I took the opportunity to wash down the frame legs and that worked well too. As I suspected, I’m liking the wipeable paint finish on a bird table. My table looks like new once again too :-)

In answer to the statement that birds prefer natural colours - today, the birds in my garden have been looking for their colourful feeding spot! They have been missing it and so have I. My table will go back outside in a couple of days, after I add a bit of paint to the roof edges which saw a paint problem too. I don’t mind doing this as this table really looks good and I want to keep it that way :-)

One final, important point I should make about this very sturdy bird table – yep, I’m back to chatting about its weight and size again. I’d say you need two people to get it out of the box, build it and to move it into position so this should be considered if giving as a gift – what a great gift to get though!

If you are considering buying your first bird table/replacing an old one I might suggest you do a search on ‘bird table reviews’ where customers comment on how a bird table fits into their gardens as well as how they found the quality of product, delivery etc. Don’t worry, the 62,100,000 results that I just picked up won’t all be on bird table reviews ;-)



This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in February 2014.

10 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is a beauty. It sounds like the only drawback would be the shipping costs. Shipping is based on weight and size. At least it is here in the US.

Shirley said...

Lisa, it is a beauty :-)

Ah… I meant to mention delivery costs. Looking at the website (I think I’ve read this right) each purchase will incur a charge of £5.95 shipping and handling. Based on the quality of packing and weight I’d say that is a very good price. I can’t imagine what it would cost to send this bird table to you in Indiana :-0

L said...

Can anyone suggest a colour to put the squirrels off?
That bird feeder is a seriously handsome piece of garden furniture. Any bird should be proud to dine there.

Shirley said...

L, ha-ha… not off the top of my head ;-) What fun you could have experimenting with colour and patterns though. Ha-ha… you could paint peanut designs on your bird table to confuse the squirrels so they give up?

Yes, handsome is a good word to describe this bird table. :-) You can see more images and some video on previous posts (if you missed them) by clicking on the Buttermere bird table label at the bottom of this post :-)

Sue Garrett said...

It looks good, Shirl. Martyn made ours so it is quite rustic. When we were looking for a table we found the bases to be very small (area wise) and the roof too low as we have doves visiting. Having said that our flock of sparrows tend to prefer the very decrepit table without a roof nestle up against a tree.

Shirley said...

Sue, I'd like to make my own bird table one day too – probably with a few extensions so not a commercially viable table I suspect. I like the idea of a bespoke table ;-)

It’s good to hear that you have felt the same about small bases on bird tables. I’d say the base on the Buttermere one is in scale to its height and table.

I’ll be honest in saying I favour the arch sides in bird tables for their look but also as I like the idea of two sides being lower (as my worn wooden one has) to reduce Woodpigeons taking over. I get grief from my daughter there saying they should feed just the same as the smaller birds.

Doves, well they are another matter – we get the odd pair of collared doves visiting and I do like to see them on the tables. Ha-ha… flocks of sparrows make themselves home anywhere don’t they. I’m loving watching them on my rhododendron that they have adopted as a resting place :-)

SeagullSuzie said...

I love the bright colours and I can't imagine garden birds are put off by anything in our gardens as we tend to have washing and other objects that are not natural in colour all about the place.

Shirley said...

Suzie, you have a fair point re the washing line of colour – ha-ha especially where passing gulls are concerned!

My rotary dryer is over the edge of my new wildlife pond so it will be interesting to see how the birds treat it now – perhaps I’ll be changing my mind on that one ;-)

Angie said...

It's certainly a very fetching table Shirely - I'm sure the birds (and you) will be enjoying this for years to come.
I do have a table but it isn't terribly fancy nor was it expensive. This would be above my budget but I can always drop hints to loved ones come birthday and Christmas time ;)

Shirley said...

Angie, it is that’s for sure – I hope so! Yes, I completely understand cost is an issue when there are plants and other garden structures to buy :-)

When it comes down to it the birds aren’t fussy if a table is fancy, basic, new or old – all they want is a regular supply of food don’t they? I have chosen to blend all my feeders into my garden so the plants have the focus of my eye but was keen to try a feature bird table and this one certainly ticks all the boxes :-D