Homemade heart shaped bird feeder

Feeding the birds through winter

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, November 23

Feeding the birds through winter

There are few things more rewarding than seeing hungry birds feeding well during the winter months. At this time of year food is scarce and any food is more than welcome by them.

Shop bought feeders can be expensive but if you search around the house and garden you will find enough items to make your own and even involve the children.

Hunt out some cookie cutters and bits of ribbon.

  • Make up a mixture of bird seed, cheese, raisins and lard. Cut the lard into small pieces and mix in the other ingredients until you have a cake like constituency. Press into the cutters and thread through a piece of ribbon. Tie ribbon for hanging and when mixture is set, hang from tree branches at various heights for the birds to enjoy.
  • Recycle some of your old cans. Open them halfway round at both ends, trim off jagged edges with kitchen scissors. Fold the ends inwards to form a smooth surface. Drill a hole in each end and thread through a small round stick. Drill two holes in the opposite end from the perch and thread through string. Knot inside at either end to form a hanging loop and then put in the seed. Hang outside and watch them feed.
  • Search through your Christmas decorations and find a willow ring or buy a cheap one. Make loops for hanging, add an old plate or plastic pot saucer, fill with seed and hang up.
  • Left over pumpkins or oranges cut in half make good feeders. Scoop out the insides, thread with string to hang and fill with seed.
  • Stale bread has many uses and can be used as a bird feeder. Toast the slices and then make a hole through for hanging. Cover with unsalted peanut butter (salted is not good for birds) and then seeds. When these are hung outside not only will the seed disappear but also the toast, leaving no mess!

Don't forget that bird feeds make a mess so reduce the potential for weeds and vermin by laying a solid surface under feeds, a few natural stone paving stone will make the whole thing look a lot more tidy and you can even add a couple of evergreen shrubs in containers to extend your feeding station!


Paul has his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks and Spencers.

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