The birds start to prepare for nesting this month, and already they are claiming their territories. According to tradition, February 11th is the day when the birds begin to sing. They have certainly been pretty quiet over the winter, but as this month progresses the dawn and dusk choruses increase in volume and complexity with new voices being added. It reminds me that the birds sometimes need our help during the winter, so I am making fat cakes to give them a much-needed energy boost, which will help protect them from the cold. (Please remember to wash your bird feeders often, as accumulated dirt and bacteria can make the birds ill.)
Homemade Bird Cake
Just mix up some bird seed – or even kitchen leftovers like currants, oats, breadcrumbs, cheese and peanuts – with melted lard, suet or coconut oil (two parts dry mix to one part fat). Take an old yoghurt pot and put a hole in the bottom and push a piece of string through it. Pack the pot with the mixture and pop this in the fridge to set overnight. Take it out, cut away the pot and tie a knot in the string to secure it. Then just hang it in your garden, and watch the birds come along for a treat!
NB: Never use leftover fat from frying or roasting, as this can coat the birds’ feathers and prevent them flying.
Image Kathrin Swoboda