Make Your Own Bird Feed
Plants aren’t the only way to bring life to a garden this winter, our feathered friends can add a touch of colour and warmth to any landscape, and much like humans they all have their favourite foods. If you’re an animal lover like us, then it’s important to do your bit for nature and help them get through the harsh winter. A great way to do this is by creating your own bird feed! It’s also a great DIY project to keep the kids entertained on dreary day!
What’s on the Menu?
In winter Birds need all the saturated fats that they can get a hold of, so if you are making your own feed, use ingredients such as lard or suet. Try to avoid soft fats such as vegetable oils and margarines, as these can end up smeared on feathers.
Larger birds such as Blackbirds prefer flaked maize, sultanas and rolled oats. Make sure you feed them uncooked oats, as porridge can harden around their beaks. Tits and Greenfinches are partial to black sunflower seeds and peanuts. However, if in doubt, put out rolled oats and cooked rice, as most species of bird will have a nibble.
If you prefer your bird feed to be a little more home-made, then you can make your own suet cakes by mixing together rolled oats, lard, flour, cornmeal/polenta, peanut butter and some black sunflower seeds. Mix everything together and wait until it hardens, then place on top of a bird table or wall.
Two Birds One Stone
You can be as creative as you want with your bird feeders and use them as an excuse to decorate your garden and add a bit of colour when the weather and landscape is a little miserable! You can spruce up your garden with dome decorative bird feeders, which are extremely easy to make and very festive.
To make one; halve an orange and scoop out the pulp. Prod two cocktail stick through, making sure they cross over in the middle, and wrap string to the cocktail stick still outside of the orange, making sure that the string is long enough that it can be tied to a branch, with the orange hanging below. Now fill up the peel with birdseed, oats, millet or any other combination. The Birds will no doubt be grateful and the orange peels will add splashes of colour to your garden!
Alternatively, you can tie a string to either end of a feed covered pinecone. All you need to do is make a mix of sunflower seeds and lard, then cover your pine cone with your bird feed, making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies and hang them around your garden either in groups or one or two solitary ones.
Spread the Love
If you are in the mood for something a little bit more interesting, then make a base mix of gelatine and water. Once all of the gelatine has dissolved, add in any combination of birdseed until the birdseed is well coated. Lay out some cookie cutters on some baking paper, and then pack the birdfeed into them, making sure that everything is patted down tightly. Finally, added either thin wooden dowel or a straw into the top of your shape so you have a hole to thread some string through and either chill in the fridge for a few hours or leave overnight. Now simply add your string or ribbon and hang outside.
Al Fresco Tea Party
Another surprisingly easy DIY bird feeder will create a quirky Alice in Wonderland feel to your garden, as well as utilising any old or unloved mugs you may have lying about. Either melt down a pre-bought suet cake or create your own using lard and birdseed and fill up an old mug with the mix. Add a twig or stick to make a perch, and let the mixture cool down and solidify. Tie some string to the handle of the mug and hang.
However, you choose to make your own feeder, the birds will no doubt thank you!