Five ways to get more birds in your garden in time for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch

Put a string on your pine cone - and then squeeze in as much of the bird seed mixture as you can.

Put a string on your pine cone - and then squeeze in as much of the bird seed mixture as you can. - Credit: Archant

With the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch fast approaching, this is a great time of year to attract birds into your garden.

Put a string on your pine cone - and then squeeze in as much of the bird seed mixture as you can.

Put a string on your pine cone - and then squeeze in as much of the bird seed mixture as you can. - Credit: Archant

As winter gets into full swing, out in the wider countryside, nature's larder is running short of supplies and we can begin to see a surprising amount of wildlife activity from our windows as birds seek out crucial calories to keep their energy levels up to survive the colder months.

From cheeky robins, to sociable starlings and vibrant blue tits, a wide variety of birds will become loyal visitors to gardens that regularly provide their favourite treats. So keep your bird buffet stocked up daily, and you might just make feathered friends for life.

FIVE WAYS TO GET MORE BIRDS IN YOUR GARDEN

The finished bottle feeder.

The finished bottle feeder. - Credit: Archant


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1) Suet nut log

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-Find a broken branch that is covered in rough bark – only take a branch that has alreadyfallen from a tree.

-Cut it into 50 cm lengths with a saw.

Put a string on your pine cone - and then squeeze in as much of the bird seed mixture as you can.

Put a string on your pine cone - and then squeeze in as much of the bird seed mixture as you can. - Credit: Archant

-Drill holes of different sizes through the 50 cm sections of branch.

-Hammer hooks into the top of the pieces of branch.

-Fill the holes with some or all of the following: peanuts, raisins, suet, sunflower seeds and kitchen scraps.

-Hang up your suet and nut log with the piece of string and watch for the birds to start feasting.

2) Pine cone feeders

Recipe

-100g suet or lard, cut into small pieces and left in a warm place for about an hour.

-A handful of sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds or special bird seed.

-A handful of raisins (but don't use if you have dogs)

-Some grated cheese.

-Some unsalted peanuts (be aware of any allergies - and don't put out whole peanuts in the breeding season)

What to do:

-Place the ingredients in a bowl and squash them together with your hands.

-After making your speedy bird cake mix, stuff some of it in the cracks of your pine cones.

-Tie a string on to the pine cones to hang them up.

-Hang the cones from a tree so that you can see them from your window.

3) Recycled bird feeder

-Things you'll need:

-Plastic bottle/Yoghurt pots or milk cartons (make sure they're clean)

-Scissors

-Wire or string

-Bird seed

What to do:

-Cut a hole in the side large enough to allow a free flow of seeds, but in such a way that it won't all fall out on the ground in the slightest puff of wind, and won't get wet if it rains.

-Make a few small holes in the bottom of your feeder to allow any rainwater to drain away.

-Hang it with wire, or even strong string from a tree or your washing line.

-If your feeder starts to wear out or the food in it goes mouldy, then recycle it and make another one.

4) Edible pictures

-Draw a picture with a pencil on a piece of wood.

-Paint over the pencil lines with soft lard or vegetable fat.

-Sprinkle or place bird seed over the lard to complete your seed picture. Shake off any extra seed.

-Put your picture out on a fine day in the open. Watch the birds eat your artwork!

5) Crumble pastry maggots

You will need: 85g flour, 30g lard, a mixing bowl

What to do:

-Put the flour into a bowl.

-Mix in the lard with the tips of your fingers.

-Rub the dry mixture into little pieces that look like maggots!

-Sprinkle these onto the ground, on your birdtable or around bushes and flowerbeds.

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