Feeding the birds is something that is engrained in British lifestyle. We buy copious amounts of birdseed and feeders, an estimated £282 million each year, to feed our feathered friends throughout the year. At this time of year, Autumn/Winter, it is a good idea to put out food and water on a regular basis. The RSPB states that 'birds require high-energy (high-fat) foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights'.
Being sustainable and caring about the environment are 2 core values at the heart of Bud & Bee. I strive to think of ways to reduce my carbon footprint, reuse as much as I can and ensure everything can be recycled. After the festive season, which has been full of gluttony, it is wonderful to give something back to the environment and get out into nature to blow away the cobwebs and lethargy.
You probably had a winter wreath on your door this year and by the New Year it will probably be starting to look a little sad, so why not reuse your wreath to create a bird feeder? A wreath covered in berries, fruits, seed heads and fat balls, hung up high on fence/gate will be a fantastic feeding station for our wild garden birds.
First of all, inspect your wreath for any rotting or mouldy parts - dried fruit can often go a little soft and remove anything that looks gone over. Then you can go ahead and add any old, soft fruit you might have lying around, seed heads and net-free fat balls (I love the vegan version at the bottom of the blog, as I don't like using animal products but of course, you can use anything that you have already or that you feel comfortable with). Create your fat balls using good quality and suitable seeds and grains such Niger, millet, oats and sunflower seeds for an out of season treat. Apples, pears and other soft fruits are popular and are a great autumn food. Attach these too your wreath using natural twine or poke the millet stems, grasses and seed heads securely into the wreath.
Always adjust the quantity given to the demand, and never allow uneaten foods to accumulate around the feeders. Once you establish a feeding routine, try not to change it as the birds will become used to it and time their visits to your garden accordingly. For more information on feeding the wild birds in your garden visit: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/animals/feedinggardenbirds
The bird feeding does not have to stop there. Why not take your real tree outside and adorn it with homemade bird feeders?
I would LOVE to see what you do with your winter wreath and your trees! Please share your images on social media and tag @budandbeeuk.
Vegan Fat Ball Bird Feeder
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup vegetable Suet
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup linseed
1 cup good quality mixed seed
1/2 cup chopped raisins
Warm your coconut oil and suet in a saucepan until fully melted.
Stir in the crunchy peanut butter.
Mix in everything else thoroughly so that the oil is fully incorporated.
Place it in moulds or roll into balls then put in the freezer until solid.
Tip: If you want to hang these, then pour them into the mould with some natural twine attached so that when you freeze them, the twine will be frozen in place.