Garden birds need a helping hand over winter, so learn how to make bird feeders and you'll keep little beaks filled with nourishing food. What's more, providing a ready supply of tasty treats during the colder months is a great way to encourage more birds into your garden. It's one of the easiest things you can do if you're looking for wildlife garden ideas to make your outdoor space more nature friendly.
At this time of year, birds will happily feed off the autumn and winter berries and seeds from the plants in your garden, but as these supplies start to dwindle over the coming weeks and months, they'll benefit from some much-needed extra nourishment to help them thrive during the winter.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) suggests providing a variety of feeders, so try placing some on the ground for blackbirds, pigeons and thrushes and then hang some of these shaped seed snaps from a branch or a plant bracket – even a washing line – and watch the blue, coal and great tits fly in to feed.
These no-bake treats are super easy to make. Why not get the kids involved this weekend and encourage them to join in too? You'll all get an afternoon of fun making them, and then once the feeders are hanging from the trees branches you can watch from inside as the birds swoop down to feast. You can discover more ways to attract birds into your garden in our dedicated feature, plus we've got the best bird feeders in our buying guide.
You will need:
- Dry bird food (we used nyjer seeds mixed with rolled oats)
- Lard or suet
- Greaseproof paper
- Wooden spoon
- Baking tray
- Biscuit cutters
Step one: mix your ingredients
Create a mixture of one part dry bird food to two parts lard or suet. Place the lard or suet in a saucepan and heat gradually until melted. Mix the bird food into the melted lard with a wooden spoon, until all the dry ingredients have been coated in the fat.
Step two: create the shapes
Line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper and lay the biscuit cutters on top. Spoon the seed mixture into the cutters until each one is full to the brim to ensure they'll form the shape of the biscuit cutter.
Step three: cool in the fridge
Refrigerate the seed snaps for five mins to allow them to harden slightly. Remove from the fridge and make a hole in the top of each with a skewer, then return to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Step four: remove from the cutters
Once the mixture has completely set, gently remove the seed snaps from the cutters, taking care not to break them. Thread a short piece of twine through the hole in the top and knot the ends to form a hanging loop. Hang them from the branches or even your washing line and watch as the birds enjoy tucking into their garden treats.