When the birds aren’t able to get any food from nature easily I’m always allowed to put up some bird feeders. We slowly see more small birds come down from the higher parts of the mountains. That’s really nice to watch during day. How some birds are really relaxed and other are constantly on the move. With these balls of fat and nuts, we enjoy the presence of the birds even more.
I normally buy ready to use fatty balls with food, but accidentally last year we bought a big bucket with bird seeds & nuts that weren’t ready-to use. So this year I had to start making my own bird feeders. Today I went to get the main ingredient [fat] from the store. It was an interesting experience. I had to get non-fluid fat you normally use to deep-fry. We actually never do that, so I had no idea where this was situated in the huge French supermarket. But I found it in the end and now I can tell you what/how I made my first bird feeders of this season.
What’s in it?
– a mix of seeds, nuts without salt! (2/3 of total volume)
– unused vegetable deep-fry fat without salt! (1/3 of total volume)
– utensils that you don’t mind getting really fatty (and cleaning afterwards)
– a shape that can hold the mix, ideally something that you can use as a whole with the mix outside, like the peel of an orange for example
– bakers twine
Why do you need this special kind of fat you ask? Well it’s most important that it’s no fluid fat, so no margarine or butter and then it’s also important that there is no salt in the whole mixture. So you need very clean ingredients so that the birds don’t get ill after eating your home made mixture. If the fat is too fluid apparently the birds that get the fat on their wings and get in contact with water (in a waterpool or something) can become less able to move around. So whatever you do, remember to check what kind of ingredients you use. Then you can start.
- Melt the fat in a small pan on a low temperature and add the mix of seeds in the pan.
- Take the shape you want to use to hold the mixture and place the mixture halfway up the shape.
- Place a doubled piece of bakers twine all the way through the mixture vertically so that it sticks out on both sides.
- Now fill the shape up with the rest of the mixture
- Let it cool down in normal room temperature. You will see it will get it’s white color back in only a few minutes and then you are done, you can use the bird feeder that looks a bit like the one below!
What happened with the Moomin you ask? Well I’ve learned today that it’s really hard to get the mixture out of a mould when you are ready. So I managed to get one of them out and then I saw that I couldn’t see anything of the details on the bird feeder [obviously]. As I couldn’t get the other two out of the mould I warmed them up again in the oven and took the mix out and placed them quickly in a half orange which was spooned out. This worked perfectly.
So my advise would be to use something that you can use outside to keep the mix together. Something natural ideally. I have more ideas now. So I will make more different kind of bird feeders the upcoming months. I’ll share the ideas with you.
Where should you hang them? Well I have placed them on three different places in our garden. I have placed them in bushes in front of roomwindows that we sit next to often. In this way we can enjoy looking at the birds when they are eating.
It’s also important to see if the sun is not too bright at the place where you have placed them. The fat shouldn’t drip. If it drips and the mix comes on the soil you might get rats or other animals you haven’t asked for. So keep the bird feeders in the corner of your eye for the first day with a lot of sun.
Also be aware of what kind of birds you want to attract (or what kind of birds there are) some birds will only eat from a plate, others will only eat from a hanging branch. Some like to eat somewhere in between branches (to be safe) and others are less scared. It’s good to spread some different type of bird feeders around to be sure you are able to serve them all.
Unfortunately it turned dark shortly right after I placed the feeders. I have to wait to see how and if the birds will come tomorrow for their first breakfast.