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.
Due to having a highly predatory cat, we don’t have a bird table. It would be unfair of us to lure birds to an area he could access. He doesn’t, however, climb trees so when the kids asked to feed the birds this is what we came up with.
How to Make Easy Bird Seed Fat Balls
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.
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!
If you make a large batch of bird seed fat balls you can freeze extras until they are needed.
In very warm weather, the fats can become rancid, so please bear that in mind during the summer.
For our feeder we used our Rustic Willow Ball. It’s 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.
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 method is appreciated by birds such as tree-creepers and woodpeckers.
If you want to bring the birds in closer to your house, why not try a window bird feeder. We made ours from an old cake pan and the birds love it!