Make your own bird cake for the garden
These bird feeders not only attract birds to your garden; they’re also fun for kids to make. Use this simple bird cake (or ‘fat ball’) recipe as a way of feeding birds throughout the winter when bugs and berries are scarce.
What you need (makes several)
- 5 digestive biscuits
- 1 cup bird seeds or peanuts
- Half a pack of lard
- Pine cones (optional)
- String (optional)
How to make the bird cakes
There are several ways to make these cakes. If you’d like to hang them from a tree, you need to form the cakes around knotted string or pine cones. Or you can make free standing cakes which you simply place on a bird table or windowsill.
To make the bird cake mixture
- Crush the biscuits in a mixing bowl using the back of a wooden spoon – and set aside.
- Do the same with the seeds or peanuts.
- Cut the lard into small pieces.
- Mix the biscuits, seeds or peanuts and the lard together in the bowl.
To make free standing bird cakes
- Take handfuls of the mixture and form into small cake shapes with your fingers. (You should have enough for several.)
- Put them in the fridge to harden, then place on a table or windowsill ready for the birds!
To make hanging bird cakes
- If you have pine cones to hand, first make that their scales have opened out, because the bird cake mix needs space to stick. You can open them out by placing the pine cones in a sunny spot or somewhere warm like in an airing cupboard or on a radiator – for a good few days.
- Take a handful of seed mix and press it into the spaces between the scales.
- Next tie some string tightly around the pine cone so that you can hang the bird cake from a tree.
- If you don’t have any pine cones, simply tie some big knots all along the length of a piece of string and squeeze the bird cake mix over these, then hang the string from a branch.
If you want to put your homemade fat balls in a nice bird feeder, or are short of time, check out these gorgeous globe-shaped ceramic bird ball feeders in the Eden Project online shop.
Why feed the birds?
Here are three reasons to feed the birds:
- They’re great fun to watch and listen to in the garden.
- They’re helpful to gardeners because they eat pests like slugs and snails.
- Birds need a helping hand during the winter, when bugs and berries may be scarce.
Image credit: Dan Hughes