Feed Your Backyard Friends!

February means that winter is beginning to come to a close, but it doesn’t mean that it over.  February has the potential to be severe which is why it is National Bird-Feeding Month.  Over 100 species of birds visit bird feeders across the United States.

In 1994 Congressman John Porter, from Illinois, read a resolution proclaiming February as National Bird-Feeding Month.  During this month, which is one of the most difficult months for wild birds, people are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help our feathered friends survive.

Watching wild birds feed in your backyard is entertaining, relaxing, educational, and doesn’t have to bust your budget. You can make some easy and inexpensive bird feeders at home and have a backyard full of feathered friends.

Fat Cake
Birds need fat to keep them warm and to provide energy.  Fat cake provides both fat and nutrients.  Cut up vegetable suet or lard and mix it with dry bird seed in a bowl.  The amount of fat and seeds depends on how big you want to make your fat cake.  Make sure that everything is combined and transfer it to a saucepan.  Heat until the fat melts down.  Find some small plastic containers, like old yogurt cups, and make a hole in the bottom large enough to thread a piece of garden twine.  Knot one end to the twine so that it doesn’t go through the top of the container but make sure there is enough twine threaded through to tie to a feeder or branch.  Transfer the melted mixture to the containers and allow them to sit in the fridge overnight.  Once solid, cut the container away and hang outside.

Pine Cone Feeder
Gather some large pine cones and attach them to pieces of string.  Dip the cone into melted fat or use a knife to spread peanut butter on it.  Rolled the coated pine cone in wild bird seed.  Once your cones have set, they are ready to be hung.

Bread Feeder
This feeder is almost as simple as making a PB&J.  You can use any kind of sliced bread for this feeder.  Place your bread slices on the counter, table, or somewhere safe from being eaten by pets, if you’re in this house.  Allow them to dry overnight.  After they have dried, you can cut them with cookie cutters or leave them whole.  Use a plastic straw as an easy hole punch.  You want to punch your hole about ¾ of an inch from the top. For easy clean-up, spread your bird seed out on a piece of waxed paper.  Also, place a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet for the feeders later.  Spread peanut butter, leftover bacon grease, or shortening on both sides of the bread and then coat them with bird seed.  Place your coated pieces on the wax paper covered cookie sheet and place them in the refrigerator.  Make sure your seeds are firmly attached to the coating.  An easy way to do this is to take a small piece of wax paper and firmly but gently push the seeds in deeper.  Cut yarn or string into pieces about 12 inches long.  Thread the string through the holes in your bread and tie the ends together.  Your feeders are now ready to hang.

Spoon Feeder
This is a simple bird seed feeder that can be made with things that are around the house.  Start with a clean 1-liter soda bottle.  Draw a ½ inch asterisk on one side about 4 inches from the bottom.  Rotate the bottle 90 degrees and draw another asterisk about 2 inches from the bottom.  Draw a 1 inch wide circle opposite each asterisk.  Use a craft knife to slit the asterisk lines and cut out the circles.  Insert a wooden spoon, handle first, through each hole and then across, through the opposite asterisk.  Remove the bottle cap and attach a small eye screw to it for hanging.  Fill your feeder with bird seed and recap it.  Use some twine and hang it from a tree.  Your feeder is now ready.

Birds do not know the difference between store bought and homemade.  They are concerned with survival.  Help out our wild feathered friends and make sure that they have plenty of food, water, and shelter.  You’ll be amazed what you’ll get out of it.

3 thoughts on “Feed Your Backyard Friends!

  1. I always take care of our wild birds! You never know when or if you will need to Eat them for survival. If u have plenty of “Store” foods, then just kick back & enjoy the little critters! But u never know….xo

  2. By “backyard friends” I thought you meant the squatters that live in my shed. :-D