Friday, 11 December 2015

Tutorial on how to make (feathered) friends!

A post a bit out of the ordinary this, but as 'tis the season to be kind and compassonate, I want to share with you a great way to score some last minute brownie points with Santa!

It is no big  shock for anyone who knows me, that I am very fond of animals. Always have been, and always will be. I don't disciminate, either. I think all animals deserve to live a full life, and if I can help when things are tough, I will.

Not my photo, but I've had lots of these pretty birds coming to feed :)

Winters here in Norway can be hard for our small wild birds. And I guess this applies to many other areas of the Northern hemisphere, too. The daylight hours are few, and the little critters spend most of their day trying to find food just to stay warm. There are no insects this time of year, and seeds can be covered by several feet of snow. It surely is a scramble for survival.

These two fell for my bribery!

So far this winter, it has been very mild and it has hardly fallen any snow. This is good news for the birds, but things rapidly change, and today it is frosty. 

Since having more time on my hands, I have enjoyed setting up a birdy restaurant in our garden. It is right outside of my sewing room (aka the dining room), and I can sit and watch them come in. Mr P even made a copy of our house, with a detachable roof, to put seeds and breadcrumbs in! 

You can buy fat ball for wild birds in various stores, but I have found they are old and rancid and contain quite a lot of sand. Poor value for money, and poor nutrition for the birds. So I decided to make them myself :) And my rep as a birdfeeding establishment has gone through the roof. I now have three times as many different spieces as before, and it is really fun to watch. And I am hoping for squirrels, too :)

Here's how to get new friends. You will need:
  • 500g coconut fat, or (unsalted) lard if you don't mind using animal products.
  • Leftover wholegrain bread (about half a loaf/ 300-400g)
  • 1 cup of rolled oats (use the small, steamed ones)
  • Sunflower seeds without husks
  • 250g peanuts (dried, unsalted, non-roasted) for birds
  • 2 cups of wild bird seed mix
  • Whatever else you have in your cupboard (I found some outdated sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and hazel nuts)
  • Small containers
  • Twine or cord of some sort
Melt the fat slowly, do not let it boil. Put aside.
Take your dry bread and tear into small pieces and put in a blender. Blend to crumbs. Lightly blend your peanuts and various seeds, just to get a bit smaller pieces. You dont need to blend the sunflower seeds, or wild bird mix.
Put all your dry ingredients in a big bowl. Pour over the melted fat, and mix it with a spoon. Get out your twine and cut into foot long pieces, and tie the ends together, forming a long loop. Leave the ends a couple of inches long, as they will secure better in the finished ball. Get out your containers. These can be anything from little yoghurt cups, to coffee mugs or tea cups. Milk cartons or any other cartons, halves of coconut shell, you name it. I used candle holders and coffee cups. Put them on a tray with baking paper (you will spill some.....). Fill your containers, and be sure to put a twine loop in every one. Use a spoon to tuck it down to the bottom. Set to cool.

The recipe is just an idea of what you can put into them. You could also put berries in along the seeds. I have budgies, and they don't always finish all of their seeds, so I blow off the empty husks and save them for when I make wild bird food.

When the balls are completely set, dip the containers it hot water, to get them off. Hang the balls into trees, if you have left overs, put them in the freezer for later.
All that's left is to enjoy all your new birdy company!


  1. These birds are so cute! I love birds, whether the exotic tropical kind, or the adorable little puffy ones like these. We get lots of them in our yard too as we have a little waterfall as part of our landscaping that they like. Unfortunately our cats try to catch them and occasionally succeed and then bring them into the house. Luckily our cats aren't allowed outside in winter so the birds are safe for the season now!

  2. What a wonderful and caring thing to do! I am sure your feathered friends are eternally grateful for the help to see them through the winter! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! x

  3. We put a lot of food outside for the small birds, however, many people in our quarter have cats and there are almost too many red kites in the area, so small birds are hard to find, unfortunately. Still, we feed them, and it's a great way for kids to watch them and learn their names and habits. My favorites are European goldfinch, robin and bullfinch, and sometimes we even spot a shy blue tit. All of them have become very are the last few years, sadly.

    I hope you had a pleasant Christmas time - all the best for 2016!