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Video: Feeding The Birds In Winter: Ideas For Homemade Treats
2023 Author: Lynn Laird | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 21:10
When the cold arrives, the energy demand of wild animals increases but at the same time the food resources in nature decrease. If you want to help your feathered friends get through this difficult time, we've got plenty of winter bird feeding ideas and tips for you. As a start, it is recommended to provide them with various seeds, fruits and bars of vegetable or animal fat so that they can compensate for the lack of food. For this purpose, make feeders suitable for their nutritional preferences and lifestyle. We explain how to do it.
When to start feeding birds
Attract flocks of birds to your garden this winter with an attractive waterer and a few delicacies full of cribs. Place the feeders in front of a window and your children will have the opportunity to get to know the native birds in your area, especially if they want to stay warm inside with a cup of cocoa instead of braving the cold.
While birders agree on the importance of feeding birds during the colder months, not everyone agrees on when to start doing so. For some people, it's the end of November when the big frost arrives. For others, it's the month of October so that the little feathered balls can increase their fat reserves before the onset of winter. In any case, please note that once you take care of this activity, you must maintain a pattern. If you stop suddenly, it will be very difficult for them to find food on their own. It is best to gradually reduce rations around mid-March.
Indeed, birds should not be fed improvised. Despite your good intentions, you could endanger their health or safety. To make this experience as sequential as possible, here are some suggestions.
In the first place, it is better to place the feeders higher to prevent cats from taking advantage of the situation. For example, you can make a wreath from seeds and hang it on a branch. However, some species like thrush, sparrow or blackbird prefer to feed on the ground. If you can, make a nest box with a roof to protect them from the elements.
To prevent the spread of bacteria, remember to clean nurseries regularly. During this period, birds are susceptible and easily get sick. So never give them leftovers from your meals which are usually very salty for them. On the other hand, provide them with seeds, dried fruits, vegetables. Avoid bread as it will fill the bird's belly without providing it with the nutrients it needs. Prefer small quantities to large at risk of rot. Finally, do not forget to ensure water. Change it frequently so that it does not freeze.
Top 9 Best Bird Foods
If you are veterans of making bird feeders, you have probably gained a lot of knowledge about their favorite foods. If, on the other hand, you are a beginner and do not know how to invite different species into your backyard, we have made a list of homemade treats for you.
1. Sunflower seeds
These seeds are indeed a rich source of fat and energy. Almost any featherweight who visits your feeder will eat it, that's for sure. Even those who cannot break the envelopes will pick up pieces on the earth. The other option for you is to prefer shelled seeds.
Shelled, roasted and unsalted peanuts provide protein and fat, making them excellent fuel in winter. Woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, finches and chickadees will without hesitation make their way to a feeder full of this energy-rich food. By the way, birds also love peanut butter - just avoid brands that contain hydrogenated oil, which is trans fat. If you have the option, use homemade vegetable butter.
For birds in winter, fat is an excellent source of calories. Look for raw tallow in charcuterie, melt it, and use to make seed balls or crowns.
4. Milk thistle seeds
These seeds are avidly eaten by all the small specimens. However, be aware that they quickly become moldy in wet weather. A sure sign that you need to recharge your feeder is when the birds stop visiting it.
5. Safflower seeds
This white seed, with a thin, conical shell, is eaten by many birds and has a reputation as the cardinal's favorite food. Avoid offering it to the ground in wet weather, as it could get wet.
6. Cracked corn
Sparrows, blackbirds, jays, doves, quails, and squirrels are among the creatures drawn to corn cracked into small pieces. Whole corn on the cob is fine for squirrels, but it is not good food for birds because the kernels are too large and too hard to digest.
Most birds, with the exception of goldfinches, eat mealworms. Plus, they're pretty greedy for this treat, so don't feed them more than twenty a day.
Humans are believed to eat at least three servings of fruit per day. The latter are also an important food element for birds, but they can be difficult to find in the wild in the middle of winter. So fill your feeders with dried grapes, citrus slices, apples or bananas to impress your friends and ensure them a good dose of vitamins.
9. Homemade bird treats
In fact, you can create your own bird treat recipes. We give you some ideas below.
Tree ornaments made from bird seeds (basic recipe)
- ¾ cup of flour
- ½ cup of water
- 1 sachet of unflavored gelatin
- 3 tablespoons of corn syrup
- 4 cups of bird seed
- Non-stick spray
- Cookie cutters
The ingredients in this recipe are enough to fill about 3 medium-sized cookie cutter shapes. Of course, you can double the amount to do more, but be aware that the mixture dries up, becomes sticky and difficult to work with the longer it stays on.
So, use the cooking spray to coat the inside of the cookie cutters; this will make it easier for you to remove the ornaments. Combine flour and birdseed in a medium bowl. Heat the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan on the stovetop (it is not necessary to boil). Once the mixture is hot, sprinkle gelatin on top. Mix until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Then, spread waxed paper over your work area. Likewise add the liquid mixture to the birdseed and flour and stir until combined. Using a spoon or a small spatula, fill the cookie cutters with the preparation. Use the back of the spoon to smooth everything out.
While the mixture is still wet, remove it from the cookie cutters. Yes, it will still be brittle and slimy, so be extra careful and work slowly. For simple shapes, the nonstick spray should allow you to remove the mold right away. For more complicated shapes (like snowflakes), use a straw, chopstick, pencil, or similar tool to squeeze the mixture out and squeeze it out.
Then, using a skewer, make a hole at the top of your shapes. Let dry for 6 to 8 hours, or better, overnight.
Note: If your ornaments break during removal, just replenish them while they are still wet.
Now that you have already mastered the basic shapes and technique, you can create real eco-friendly garden tree decoration pieces.
DIY biodegradable bird feeders (with toilet paper rolls)
- 250 g unsalted lard
- 250 g coconut butter
- 300g oatmeal
- 250 g of sunflower seeds
- 50g coarsely chopped peanuts
- 50g coarsely chopped hazelnuts
First, melt the fat in a saucepan over low heat. As soon as it is liquid, you can first stir in the oatmeal and grains, then the nuts. Then remove the pan from the baking sheet and let the mixture cool. Ultimately, you should end up with a malleable mass that you can shape however you want. In this case, use to line a few cardboard rolls with toilet paper. Store in the refrigerator to harden.
Feed the birds with a cheesecake and egg
- 3 eggs
- 500 g low-fat cottage cheese
- 400 g of vegetable fat
- 300g oatmeal
- 100 g of raisins
- 250 g coarsely chopped walnuts
- 100-150 g flour
Melt the fat and add to the other ingredients. Stir well and transfer the mixture to a baking sheet or baking pan. Bake the "cake" at 180 ° C for about 15 to 30 minutes. Once cooled, cut into pieces and hang on trees. Store the rest either in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for six to eight months. Important: always thaw well before feeding the birds!
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Image credit: bettycrocker.com