Having a selection of bird feeders hanging in your garden is a perfect way to draw in the local birds, and many of them are easy to make. One of the simplest forms of bird feeder are fat cakes. These high energy pots of fat, seed and fruit make ideal food sources for garden birds, especially in the winter months when other food is scarce.
Fat cakes can either be made in containers, to be hung from trees, or simply molded into shape in a tin or an old egg tray and placed on a bird table once they’re set. Kids will find it exciting to see a bird eating from their feeder. While you’re watching them is a perfect opportunity to talk about the different birds you see, where they live, and the types of food they like to eat, engaging children with wildlife at an early age.
You will need:
- lard – softened to room temperature
- birdseed – whatever type is most suitable for your garden birds
- dried fruit
- grated cheese
- string – cut long enough to create a loop
- container – such as a plant pot or empty yoghurt pot
- mixing bowl
Attach a loop of string to your container. If you’re using a plant pot, thread the string through one of the holes in the base. If you’re using a yoghurt pot or other type of container, you’ll need to punch a hole first using a pencil or knitting needle. Wrap the string around the side of the container before tying so it hangs sideways and angled so it won’t gather rainwater.
Chop the softened lard into pieces and place it into the mixing bowl.
Add the birdseed, dried fruit, cheese and peanuts to the bowl and squish it into the lard. You’ll need two parts dry ingredients to one part fat to make your bird cake a manageable consistency.
Fill your container with the mix. Place it in the fridge for an hour to ensure it’s set before you hang it out in the garden.
If you’d like to try making a bird cake using suet rather than lard, you can watch this video from the Wildlife Garden Project for instructions.