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.

what to feed the birds pinterest image

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.

homemade bird food on the bird feeder 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.

blue tit hanging on a bird feeder with homemade suet balls inside one of the many bird feeds you can make at home

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:

  • Holly
  • Rowan
  • Dog Rose
  • Hawthorn
  • Elder
  • Honeysuckle
  • Ivy

Check out our plant guides for easy seeds to grow with kids and what to plant to attract ladybirds to your garden.

chaffinch on a bush eating the red berries in autumn

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.

black bird eating an apple from the tree in winter

An apple either grated or chopped in half and hung on a bird feeder is great for them to eat as well.

Peanuts

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.

garden bird eating monkey nut peanuts hung in a tree

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.

Sunflower Seeds

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.

goldfinch eating the seeds from a sunflower head

Water

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.

sparrow drinking water from a bowl

What not to feed the birds

There are some things that you really shouldn’t put out for the birds.

Stale Bread

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.

FREE Printable Bird Watching Journal

Looking to observe the birds coming to the bird feed you have put out with the kids? Then why not head over and get our FREE Printable Bird Watching Journal!

Step by step guide to making suet balls with kids, a fun and essential winter wildlife activity for nature study and kindness challenges.

DIY Suet Balls Recipes for Feeding the Birds

A simple and easy recipe for suet balls that kids as young as toddlers can help you make.
3.5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: Bird Food, Preschool Activities, toddler activities
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 Small Suet Balls
Author: Cerys Parker

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Suet Ball Holder

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour the suet into a bowl and add in your bird seed.
    Step by step guide to making suet balls with kids, a fun and essential winter wildlife activity for nature study and kindness challenges.
  • Mix well with your hands
    Step by step guide to making suet balls with kids, a fun and essential winter wildlife activity for nature study and kindness challenges.
  • Now take a tennis ball size of the mix and squish and squash it together.
    Step by step guide to making suet balls with kids, a fun and essential winter wildlife activity for nature study and kindness challenges.
  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Mention @rainydaymum or tag #rainydaymum!

More Nature Study Activities to Do At Home

homemade nest box with a great tit going in that kids and you can make 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.

Wildlife gardening with kids building a log pile home

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.

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Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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