The days are now slowly but steadily getting colder, and on a couple of nights there has already been ground frost. To keep warm, I have already pulled out my winter coat and drink an extra cup of tea every now and then. But we are not the only ones feeling winter creeping in. Birds know the cold time of year is coming as well. To help them get through the coldest days, it can be nice to present them with some additional food.
A Helping Hand
Of course, birds are adapted to survive in this climate, and therefore could perfectly well get through winter without our help. But in our increasing urbanized environment, finding food becomes harder and harder for birds. That’s where we can give them a helping hand by offering them some extra food.
Bird Watching in Your Own Garden
It might take a short while, but when birds learn there is food to be found in your garden, they are certain to come back for more. The only thing you have to do is keep them supplied regularly and you will soon get to know your returning visitors. Take some time once in a while to just sit still and watch the comings and goings of birds in your garden. You might learn to recognize some of the birds and get a bit of insight in the way they behave.
After feeding birds for a while, you might even become their favourite “caterer”. My parents (mostly my mum) has been feeding the birds around their house for years now and it is amazing to see how the number of visiting birds has increased over time. Lots of species are coming over every day, even some quite rare ones. And on lazy Sundays, when my mum sets out the food a bit late, some birds are already impatiently waiting. They seem to be looking around, asking why their breakfast isn’t there yet. Spoiled little things!
Bird Feed Fat Cakes
Specialized stores offer tons of bird feeding blocks, grains and other delicacies, all looking very appealing and delicious, and most of the time very healthy for the birds. But all those nice looking treats will never give such a satisfied feeling as seeing your own home-made bird feeders hanging outside. So why not give this “recipe” for bird feed fat cakes a try this weekend? It so easy!
You will need:
- Solid cooking oil (saturated fats are a lot better for the birds than unsaturated, liquid, fats)
- A mixture of seeds (and insects, optionally)
- A cup to pour the fat cake in
- Some rope
- Melt the cooking oil in a pan, but don’t let it come to a boil
- Mix in a portion of seeds and insects that is equal to the amount of oil.
- Attach a short length of rope to the cup
- Pour the fat-seeds mixture in the cup and let them stand still to cool. At first, the seeds will sink to the bottom, that’s no problem. When the fat becomes white again but is still a bit soft, you can stir once more to get an even distribution of seeds. Then let cool completely till the fat is solid.
- Hang out the fat cake and let the birds feast!
I hope you and the birds around your house will enjoy this “recipe”!