Previously, I discussed the Spring time of year, and the great influence it can have on our crafts. Particularly there are a lot of functional crafts that can be carried out during this time of year, which can be put to real use, for example growing plants, as discussed in the last article. Furthermore crafts do not have to be just about using nature to help ourselves, but also about giving back to nature. In this article, we’ll look at how you can create your own birdfeeder, so that you can help the environment to thrive, and if you’re lucky you might get a good view of the birds from your garden as well.
There are various types of bird feeders that can be made easily at home from reused and easy to find materials. This helps the environment, since it means rather than throwing away these materials into landfill sites, where they will not decompose and will use up space, they can be used once again in a useful way. Which bird feeder project you want to take on will depend on what degree of effort and time you want to put in to it.
The idea I’ll describe today is incredibly simple and only requires a tiny bit of DIY to make. You’ll need a large, quite open pinecone, some lard or vegetable shortening, which can be bought from your local supermarket (and excess can be put to use in baking projects or for making further bird feeders), some oats or cornmeal, some birdseed, which is probably most easy to buy specifically from a garden centre, and finally a little string, which you can probably find lying around the house somewhere. Begin by tying the string to the top of the pinecone. There should be a couple of feet of string left before cutting it, as this will be used to tie the feeder to a branch. It is also important that the feeder hangs a little below the branch itself, so that it is easy to locate by birds from above.
Next mix together roughly 65g of your vegetable shortening or lard with 130g of the oats or cornmeal until they are well combined. Completely cover your pinecone in this mixture apart from perhaps where it is tied at the top. Then, roll it in the birdseed and suspend it from a branch.
In general, the more accessible and visible the branch is, the more likely a bird is to notice it from above and to visit it, but you might also want to keep it relatively high from the ground, as this will keep the birds away from predators such as cats or foxes. If you’re looking to make your feeder a real bird treat, they you could also consider adding dried fruit, chopped nuts or sunflower seeds to your lard mixture, as these are packed with good nutrients and lots of energy for the birds.
Now that you’ve hung up your bird-feeder in the garden, keep a watch out over the next few days for birds using your feeder. If it is a success and the food all disappears, then you may want to replenish the feeder with even more food for the birds. The longer your feeder is a good source of food in the area, the more birds will become enticed by it, and your garden may become a popular gathering zone for birds, bringing it to life.
Image from: http://www.marghanita.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/pine-cone-feeder.jpg