Monday, 9 February 2009

Feeding the birds

With all the recent snow, it must be pretty hard for the birds to find enough food. I like to feed the birds but unfortunately every time I put food out it attracts rats into the garden. I blame all the decking in my neighbours' gardens, as this provides perfect rat runs.

Yesterday afternoon as I tucked into my lunchtime sandwich, a couple of birds came down to the patio right outside my back door and looked at me as if to say "well, where's the food." How could I resist? So for starters I threw out my crusts then later I cleared the snow off the picnic table and put out some stale crackers and refilled the bird feeder with sunflower seeds.

Less than two hours later the rat arrived and remained a persistant visitor for the rest of the day, despite my attempts to scare it with shouts, claps and snowballs.

So today I have resigned myself to the fact that I can't put food on any low surface, which is a great pity for the ground feeding birds such as the blackbirds and robins. But not totally defeated, I decided to make a bird cake to hang in the tree for the tits. They are so easy to make and are a good use of left over food that would definitely be rat food if put on the ground or table.

Bird cake

Bird seed mix
Kitchen scraps such as bread, cheese, bacon
Solid animal fat such as duck, goose or lard

Put the seeds and kitchen scraps into an old yoghurt pot then melt the solid fat over a low heat. Pour the fat into the yoghurt pot and mix well. Place the pot in the fridge until the fat has set again. Once set, attach a string to the yoghurt pot and hang from a tree.

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