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Feeding the Birds

Although winter is seen as the most critical time for feeding birds, they do benefit from being fed all year round. In an ideal world your local environment would contain lots of natural bird food in the form of insects and seed heads, but birds can experience episodes of food shortage at any time of year, and often appreciate any supplementary food that is put out for them.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

Due to having a highly predatory cat, we don't have a bird table, as it would be unfair of us to lure birds to an area he could access. He doesn't, however, climb trees (presumably due to being rescued from one at just a couple of weeks old, prior to us adopting him from the Blue Cross).

When the kids asked to feed the birds as one of their #30DaysWild activities, I started to think about ways we could do that without increasing the risk of our cat catching them, and this is what we came up with.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

We started by making fat balls. You can make these from lard or suet and a mix of seeds that are suitable for wild birds.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

We simply mixed our seed into softened lard, adding a little at a time until our balls held together solidly when pressed tightly, and then popped them in the fridge to firm up. The kids loved mixing up the balls; it's great, tactile, messy play!

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

 

If you made a large batch of these you could freeze some until they were needed.

In very warm weather, the fats can become rancid, so please bear that in mind during the summer.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

And for our feeder we used our rustic willow ball - it'll be perfect for the birds to hold on to, is totally bio-degradable, and can be hung up high in a tree well away from our prowling cat and other predators.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

Another great way to feed garden birds if you don't have a conventional feeder, and want to feed the birds in the trees, is to fill the bark holes in tree trunks with softened suet or lard containing insects, meal worms and peanut granules. This will be appreciated by birds such as tree-creepers and woodpeckers.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

We love our rustic home made bird feeder, and think it looks fab hung high up in our tree. We'd love to know if you feed the birds in your garden, and would be especially interested in hearing how you go about doing so if you have a cat.

 

Our home-made Willow bird feeder and home-made Fat Cakes are a great way to feed the birds in the trees.

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26 Comments

  • Reply Gina Caro @ Gypsy Soul

    Hi Sarah, This is great! My daughter would love to make these. We made some thrifty bird feeders a few years ago out of leftover milk cartons but I much prefer this as there’s no plastic involved.
    Definitely going to try this soon.

    December 13, 2016 at 12:14 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Gina, using just natural materials is great as you can just put them up and forget about them without having to worry about polluting the environment – Hope you all have a lovely Christmas x

      December 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Stephanie Robinson

    The fat ball making looks gorgeously messy! #goinggreen

    December 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm
  • Reply luce

    This is an activity we will be adding to our list :-) thanks for sharing! #GoingGreenLinky

    December 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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