Make a bird cake

A great activity for children to do during the winter months to support birds is to make yummy bird cakes. Different birds like to eat different things so before starting check out what type of birds normally visit your garden and prepare the treats accordingly. This page on the RHS website is very helpful in describing what different birds like to eat. 

In our garden we have been using bird cake feeders from Ashortwalk, refilling them regularly with new bird cake. However, last weekend I tried to make some with the girls using a couple of plastic containers from my recycling bin to be used as moulds as I did not want to spoil my cookie cutters (the melted suet is really hard to clean off).

I have used a 1:2 ratio of suet to dry ingredients (in this case it was a mixture of seeds, meal worms, oats and raisins) and melted it all together in a pan before spooning it into the mould. If you make a hole while it is still not set, you can then attach it to trees using some sting or ribbon. Below are a few pictures of what the girls did with a bit of help from mum!

Empty food containers         Child cutting

New mould for bird feeders 

When you can't find yogurt pots and you need to improvise!!

Ingredients for bird cake feeder

Suet        Adding seeds to the suet in the pan 

Once you have all the ingredients, it is time to negotiate and agree which child does what....without causing a major incident in the process!!

Suet and seeds melted in pan on hob

Spooning the melted bird cake mixture into the mould           Pierce a hole in the mixture  

Once the mixture has been melted on the hob the children can spoon it into the mould and don't forget to make a hole at this stage so you can thread string or ribbon to hang the cake.

Set bird cake out of the mould Bird cake with string in child's hands 

Voila', once the bird cake is set (you can put it in the fridge or place it outside for a little while until the suet sets), string can be used to attach it to trees or shrubs.

Further info on fun activities for mini gardeners to attract birds to their outdoor space can be found here.

NOTE: Please do not use use fat from cooking meat as it could stop the birds from keeping warm in winter and eventually die. Also you should not feed birds anything salty so any nuts should be unsalted. We often feed birds leftover bread but it is not the best thing for them as in winter they need food that gives them more energy and also in spring when birds have chicks, the pieces of bread might be too big for them. If you notice any mould forming on the cake, it will no longer be suitable for consumption.

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