Feeding the Birds in Winter
The birds are gathering with twigs and feathers to plump up their outdoor abodes in whichever ways they can. Winter time brings a sharp coolness to the air, and we need to help our feathered friends with sources of food, when nature doesn’t provide as much for them.
Gather your creativity and supplies- it’s time to make food for the birds!
You will need:
- a pair of scissors
- apple slices
- a knitting needle
- oranges and apples
- bird seed
- peanut butter
- coconut oil / lard / suet, if you can find it.
- bread slices
What makes this project different to other bird feeders?
We are focussing on adding healthy fats to the birds food supply. During winter this will help the birds stay warm, maintain weight, and is an important source of fuel for them.
The options are endless. Here are a few of our ideas:
- Empty out some orange halves. Place the fruit on the bird feeder. Use the orange halves as cups. Fill the orange cups with a mix of bird seed and peanut butter. Make several of these to hang around the garden at various heights.
- Slice some apples quite thickly. Make large holes in the top and bottom of each slice of apple, through which string or cord can be fed. Smear each slice of apple with peanut butter or coconut oil and dip into bird seed. We used the back of a paintbrush to push small holes into each slice to make it easy to thread string through. Hang these strands of apple slices throughout the garden. Bananas can also be used.
- Half a few apples or grapefruits. Scoop out some of the flesh and put on the bird feeder. Using your hands, mix seeds, breadcrumbs, suet and peanut butter into balls and stick into the middles of these fruits. You can use any combination of these ingredients but ensure to include a fat. Pop these onto bird feeders or hang from branches.
- Bread slices can be soaked in heated up suet and allowed to dry. Upon drying, roll through some bird seed to coat the slices. Coconut oil can be used to replace suet and offers nutritious fats to the birds. Be careful when heating up any sort of fat- use a microwave safe dish and heat gently in 10 second bursts, stirring until the fat becomes a liquid. Do not over heat.
Most cereals and breads can be used, but the more natural the better. Avoid dyed and processed cereals and breads.
Get the kids involved. These sorts of messy activities are fun ways of getting them to help out, and as adults we are able to explain why we are making these feeders.
As part of our apple slice feeder we used coconut oil. Our experience is that it flaked easily off of the apple slices. We would recommend peanut butter for this project, as it will allow the seed to adhere better.
Is your child a gardener?
Is your off-spring the type that accompanies you to lifestyle to buy plants? Do your nieces/nephews love to be in the garden? Are you raising gardeners? We would love for you to tag them on Instagram using the hashtags #raisinggardeners #lifestylehomegarden and #lifestylekidskorner
Have you read our Kids Korner post all about getting your kids into the garden? Read it |HERE|