Like most people, I get a lot of enjoyment out of watching the birds visiting my garden and from knowing that they are benefitting from my help at the same time.
There are several ways you can make your garden much more tempting to them, ways that will help them not only when food is scarce in the winter months, but all year round. One such way is to think long term and to grow lots of wildlife friendly plants and flowers which will provide the birds with a natural source of food.
At the time of year when these natural sources of food are less available to the birds we can help by providing them with food on a bird table or in some hanging feeders, along with some fresh water. In winter a high energy food is best as it helps the birds survive the cold temperatures and fat balls are ideal. Either buy them from the shop (remove the nets before putting out) or try making your own with our lovely easy recipe.
Nice and Easy Fat Balls Recipe
- A pack of lard (don’t use cooked fat)
- Mixed pack of bird seed
For hanging fat balls:
- Small yogurt cartons, coconut shells or pinecones
- Cube the lard and add it to a bowl. Add a couple of cups of bird seed and mix together with your hands aiming for an even mix of seed throughout the mixture.
- Either form into balls and then place in the fridge to harden. When ready just place on the bird table or in a hanging bird feeder.
- OR press into a yogurt carton or coconut shell, place in the fridge to harden. Hang it of the bird table, trees or bushes with string.
- OR use a pinecone with the scales opened up and press the mixture into the spaces between the scales. Tie some string to the top of the pine cone and hang!
Other foods suitable food for birds:
Sunflower (black if possible), nyjer seeds, millet, chopped peanuts (unsalted), oats, raisins (poisonous to dogs), hard cheese, bacon rinds, breadcrumbs, pasta, rice, boiled potatoes. Fruits – apples, pears, plums, soft fruits.
To prevent disease, regularly clean out feeders and tables and only use fresh food.
Remember to always place fresh water out for the birds too.
Wildlife Friendly Gardening:
- Grow plants which have fruits and berries. For example the berries of holly and ivy are an excellent source of food for birds in the winter months.
- Avoid using slug pellets and pesticides.
- Leave some fruit on the trees and bushes over the winter months.
- Leave cutting back your herbaceous plants as long as possible so the seeds heads and berries remain for the birds.
- Create a wild area in the garden and allow plants to grow such as nettles and brambles which will create great hiding areas as well as food for the birds
Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy watching the birds from the comfort of your home!