With one of our focuses this year on studying more local nature we're making sure that our bird feeder is well stocked with food. From our DIY Fat Balls for Birds to some other simple recipes we're hoping to get a range of different birds in the garden this year and help them survive the winter. So as we're doing it we thought we would share these simple bird food recipes that we are using at home.
Wild Bird Food Recipes to Make
Our favourite recipe is our easy fat balls for birds. It's so simple that kids can do it and we've seen an increase in the seed-eating birds in the garden.
But, there are lots of other things that you can feed the birds that come into the garden without having to head to the store.
Fruit and Berries
Whether you plant a bush that will provide berries for the birds in the winter or you put out some apples birds love fruit and berries.
Good plants to grow for their berries are:
- Dog Rose
The added benefit for growing these plants (pick native varieties to your country) is that the birds will help spread the seeds as they eat the berries and more will grow.
If you have dried fruit such as raisins and cranberries then once you soak overnight you can chop them up and put them out for the birds to enjoy, or even mix them into the suet balls recipe above.
An apple either grated or chopped in half and hung on a bird feeder is great for them to eat as well.
One of my favourite activities to do with my mum as a child was to thread the monkey nuts to create a garland for our tree that the birds could eat at Christmas.
Monkey nuts are the peanuts in their shell and are ideal for feeding the birds and squirrels.
We had difficultly finding them in the stores for a while, but more recently we've been able to get large bags from the super market and this has been perfect for adding to our bird feeder.
We grow sunflowers every year and instead of throwing away the heads once they have bloomed we add them to the bird feeder or leave them throughout the autumn months for the birds to feed on the seeds.
Don't forget to leave out some water, we have a bowl on the ground that the dog uses whilst in the garden and over the winter months we make sure that it's full of water so that the birds can use it as well.
What not to feed the birds
There are some things that you really shouldn't put out for the birds.
Bread isn't really recommended for birds as it doesn't have any nutrients that they can use. However, when the bread is stale or starts to go mouldy this is even worse.
The mould can be dangerous to the birds and cause them to get ill, so leave the stale bread to make some bread and butter pudding instead.
DIY Suet Balls Recipes for Feeding the Birds
- Suet Ball Holder
- Pour the suet into a bowl and add in your bird seed.
- Mix well with your hands
- Now take a tennis ball size of the mix and squish and squash it together.
- The warmth from your hands push your squishing and squeezing will make it compact and turn into a ball. My daughter gave up after ball number 3 but my son pushed on.
- We made 12 balls in total 6 to use now and 6 to use later as they will store well in a closed container.
- Once you have them made add them to the fat ball holder and position in the garden.
More Nature Study Activities to Do At Home
Over the Autumn and Winter is an ideal time to build and put up some nest boxes in your garden. Check out our DIY Nest Box that even young kids can help you make.
Create a home for wildlife to live in over the winter using logs and different things from the garden. This is ideal for amphibians and reptiles that need protection from the elements. See our guide on creating a Gruffalo Log Pile Home for your nature area.