Sunday, 3 March 2013

Homemade Bird Cake

I don't know why, because it still feels like the depths of an Antarctic winter to me, but our nesting box already has residents! No babies to show you yet, but above is a picture of the blue tits we had in 2009! The new arrivals this year look a little familiar and I'm pretty sure they're the same coaltits we had last year, but anyway, they were queueing up eagerly in the tree for breakfast this morning. We have had nesting birds for the last few years and the children love it. The first year we had them, they flew the nest and made their way into the world, only for the local children to keep bringing them back to us! Two little girls even knocked on our front door and asked if they could have one! It's always good to get children involved in nature and show them how precious and wonderful our world can be, but it doesn't have to cost a lot! Today, I bring you... a bird supper, on a budget!

Home-Made Birdcake

This 'recipe' can include all sorts of kitchen leftovers and is brilliant for using up the half eaten boxes of cereal that everyone has got fed up with! Here is a selection of the old bits of stuff I found in my kitchen. Raisins, muesli, breadcrumbs, biscuits, the bottom of the weetabix tin and some cheese (grated). You could use bacon rind or other dried fruit, I'm sure they would be grateful! Now here comes the messy bit... Take a block of lard (it needs to be room temperature, but not melted) and roughly chop it into small sections in a large mixing bowl. Next, add all your dry ingredients, and get your hands ( or your children's hands!) in the mixture, smooshing like you've never smooshed before! You basically knead it, like dough, until all the ingredients are combined.

Take an empty yoghurt pot and make a small hole to attach the string. You can tie a knot, but it's sometimes easier to tie the string around a spent machstick to hold it in place. Then fill with the  bird mixture.

Then you just have to find a good place to hang them. We don't have much room for a bird table, so we have added hooks to the side of our shed. Or you can hang them in a tree, if you have one. The birds will surely thank you, and if you invest in a little nesting box (nothing fancy, they're not fussy!) you never know what you might find!


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