How To Make A Winter Buffet For The Birds.
A winter buffet for the birds in our garden is the activity for today.
The weather has finally turned cold and frosty here and the little birds are chirping loudly. They seem to raid our seed ball feeder daily. My children love to watch the birds and help wildlife, so today we decided to decorate a whole tree for the birds and animals. We can count the animals and watch what animals we attract.
Need more ideas for Winter?
Firstly, gather some materials.
We have gathered some:-
- monkey nuts (peanuts) in their shells
- loo roll tubes
- some lard
- left over seed balls
- cereal hoops the kids didn’t finish
- and some peanut butter
How To Make A Winter Buffet For Birds.
Bird seed and lard coconut shells
We recycled our old bird feeder coconut shells and made a hole in the bottom then threaded some sturdy string through. In a bowl we mixed some of the lard. Some raisins, bird seed and we crumbled the fat balls we had into the mix too. Once we mixed the goop to a nice squashy consistency, we filled the shells to the top squeezing it in well then we set these aside to dry out a little. To make a winter buffet though we had to think of more than one treat so we came up with a few more.
We regularly have popcorn for snack and usually there is some left over, so, we carefully strung it onto a thick thread mixing in some raisins, cereal hoops and peanuts in their shell. This reminded me so much of the popcorn garlands we used to make for our Christmas tree when I was little.
Little TIP!!-Don’t use fishing wire or anything fine for these chains as the birds can be caught up in the thread.
Peanut butter pinecones and loo rolls.
This one was fun but very messy. We used open pine cones and toilet roll tubes for this one; after attaching a string to the top end of the pinecone we tied it tight. Then used some spoons to smear a thick layer of peanut butter all over the cone, pushing it into all the gaps before rolling it in a layer of bird seed. We had a plate on the table full of the seeds, so it was easy to roll the pinecone and loo rolls around. A perfect treat for our winter buffet for the birds.
The kids loved this so much and started eating bits of the peanut butter, we had a wonderful afternoon chatting and coming up with ideas of types of feeders we could make for the birds and mixing and matching different ingredients.
Why not try it out and let me know what you come up with??
The kids worked so well as a team and the older ones helped the littlies with trickier bits such as threading the needle. It also led to a lot of discussions about other wildlife and how to help them so stay tuned for more wildlife posts.
Time to Decorate.
We chose which tree to decorate in the garden and set to it. I have a small Buddleia that I have grown into a small tree shape, we can see it from the window. We set about covering this in our treats.
We had lunch and sat watching the tree for a while. Nothing happened to begin with but then a robin hopped onto the tree, he seemed to like the sprinkled seed better than the feeders. After 15 minutes the hole tree was covered in tiny birds from sparrows to bluetits. The kids were so excited counting the birds and seeing which the birds ate first.
The birds seemed to prefer the bird seed coconuts from our winter buffet, as they ate these first. It took a couple of days for the birds to get through all the other feeders. It was so much fun watching the birds. We downloaded and printed the bird spotter sheet from Nature Detectives and spent a while checking off the ones we saw.
It was such a feeding frenzy that we’ll definitely be making more of these feeders to add to our normal offerings.
Have food in different ways, some hanging up and some on the flat ground or bird table as each bird has its own way of feeding. Robins prefer eating from a bird table or ground and black birds avoid feeders altogether and prefer to stay on the ground. They also seem to prefer fruit and berry based food. So spread it around so everyone gets a chance.
To get ideas, I bought a couple of books which ive listed here. They really helped us think about birds and other wildlife and how we can help more. I think they make wonderful reading, They are so full of ideas and suggestions. We have so many more ideas to try now. So if your looking for more inspiration check them out.
A set of starlings that ate our food have decided to nest in the roof edge too, so the kids watch every day listening for sounds of baby tweets. Maybe next time we could use some of the ideas in here to put up some nest boxes and come up with different ways to feed them?
Nearer Christmas in planning on adding a version of this idea of an amazing bird seed wreath, to go with our decorations. The birds will love it.
Do you feed the birds? What other things do you do to help wildlife through the winter? Leave a comment and let me know!
Need more ideas ??