Make your own Bird feeders

For our first Stay At Home Wild Wednesday, our Engagement Officer Mandy shows you how to make your own bird feeders for your garden.

I was really looking forward to joining Gill the Ecologist and lots of rooky bird spotters on our annual Dawn Chorus Walk at Hareshaw Linn near Bellingham. Each year the number of birds we hear (and sometimes even see) grows – it was over 40 last year!

The alternative has been listening to and learning to identify what birds visit my own garden.

So, let’s count our blessings. One, I don’t have to get up super early to travel to Bellingham. Two, if its not a walk and watch I don’t need to put my boots on. Three, I can attract birds to my garden with my homemade bird feed balls then watch them perform to my heart’s content.

So to go hand in hand with Gill’s bird identifying notes I’m going to share my bird feed recipe here with you.

Step One: You’ll need these simple ingredients:

Six bowls full of fat, nuts and oats

  • Porridge Oats
  • Grated Cheese
  • Fat (Lard or Dripping- I use dripping as it holds together better in hot weather and the birds seem to prefer it)
  • Mixed bird seed

I also found some out of date larder staples such as nuts*, dried fruit and savoury biscuits at the back of my cupboard and was delighted to find a use for them!

*Crush whole nuts and remember this ingredient should not be used if makers have a nut allergy

Step Two: take a small amount of each ingredient and pop it in a bowl.

Step Three:  Get stuck in

Squish all the ingredients together and form a round fist-sized ball. Squishing animal-based fat was a little daunting for a vegetarian like me but the fat is what holds the other ingredients together and gives valuable calories and nutrition to birds that need to be at their best for breeding season.

A collage of two photos show hand mixing ingredients and rolling them into a ball

The upside was a bit of rehydration for my hands after all that sanitiser!

Step Four: Pop your finished bird feeder balls in a suitable holder and wait for the interest.

Try and place the holder in and near greenery to make it easier for the birds to get to.  I had to make more balls the next day and so far have seen Jackdaws (they are a bit greedy); dunnocks; blue tits; great tits; a blackbird and a robin feasting . A real treat for them and me!

I just need to work on my bird photography skills now to capture my garden visitors…

A woman hanging a bird feeder in a tree and a close up on bird feeding