Wednesday 10 December 2014

Christmas Craft #2 - Bird feeders

It's cold outside - no denying that. And though I like to think of myself as the rugged, outdoorsy type, I'm definitely more of a snuggle-by-the-fire-with-hot-tea-and-knitting sort when winter rolls around. Which isn't especially conducive when you're trying to instil a love of nature in small people.

Cue bird watching. Something that can be done from the comfort of your own windowsill with a pair of binoculars and a Dorling Kindersley birds sticker book. Hooray!

But how do you get the birds into the garden, I hear you ask? I mean, we've got three cats, so they'd have to be fairly daft birds...

Food! Food is the answer!*

Last year we made this colossal-sized bird feeder from a 500g yoghurt pot as it was the only disposable container we had. As you can see from the picture, it took the birds longer to eat it than it did for the seeds contained within to begin sprouting...

This year, I decided to try something a little different. Instead of cutting the mould away as countless Blue Peter kids have done before me, I used foldable, silicone moulds (the kind usually reserved for cupcakes). The results were pretty good and the birds haven't seemed to notice the difference.

If you've not made bird-feeders before, they're really easy. You need a mould, some bird-seed and some fat. We use lard because it's cheap and you can pour it at low temperatures - ideal for small people - but any solid fat is fine if you're a vegetarian/vegan household.

Basically, all you need to do is fill your moulds with seeds, then pour the fat over the top and leave to set. Place these on old tree stumps, stab a hole through the 'cake' and attach a string to hang on a brand or pop on a bird table and wait... inside. Where it's warm.

Mmmm... tea.


*For the record, two of the cats are too fat and old to catch anything and the one which does hunt broke her tail so she can't actually get any sort of height/balance thing going on in her little catty life (the highest she's ever jumped is the sofa - about 30cm from the ground). I'd also like to make it clear that I'm totally not advocating luring unsuspecting wildlife into a garden full of predators...

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