BE A BOTANICAL BOSS WITH THE LADY GARDENER - MAKE YOUR OWN BIRD CAFE
So it's the school holidays and you are running out of things to do with the little rascals. Let's make ourselves feel all virtuous by showing them the importance of recycling, and giving back to our environment by making some feeders for the birds! The below activity will take AT LEAST 30 mins so that just leaves another 11.5hrs to fill before bed time.
Bird are sooooo vital in our gardens. They eat pests like aphids, snails, and slugs that destroy all of your planting hard work. They can help to pollinate and also with weed control. Many birds have a beautiful chorus. Even the pigeons can be quite charming (as long as you aren't looking to grow brassicas). Basically birds are awesome. I have a cat, so I make sure any feeders we have are placed up high. To be fair though, Tiny Dancer (the cat) isn't massively athletic these days and I think she quite enjoys the company the birds provide. If you don't have any birds, don't worry, they will come, as long as you regularly top up your feeders. We had no wildlife in our concrete outside space when we first arrived, now we have robins, loads of tits *cough* dragonfly, frogs, sparrows, pigeons, chaffinches etc etc.
So I will be honest. These feeders that you are about to make may not be the permanent stylish looking feeders you will have forever in your garden, but they are cute and can be as temporary as you want (Mr Lady Gardener has put a ban on them in our garden as he only likes straight, clean, hygienic lines in grey and white - so very German that he is). So whilst we were away at our cousins in Banchory and it was pishing down, we made these. However they wouldn't take them either so I donated them to the nursery to help encourage the wildlife :D
You will need:
Empty bottles (4 pint milk or big fizzy juice-type bottles)
Stanley knife or similar
Paint Pens or if you have it, coloured electrical tape
String for hanging in the trees
1. Wash and dry the bottles as foostie milk stinks and believe it or not, birds are extremely fussy! In fact you should wash out your bird cleaners as often as poss (fortnightly) and replace the food as they simply turn their beaks up at it and it goes to waste.
2. ** Parent job only ** cut out openings in the sides, back and front.
3. Leave about 5cms of plastic at the bottom of the openings for the birds to get in and so the feed doesn't spill out.
4. Make 4 holes in the front and back for 2 x wooden skewers. You can also put fresh fruit on these for the birds which is handy.
5. Now it's time to let the wee uns go wild. Let them paint the bottles with their own unique and creative designs. We didn't have any paints but did have electrical tape so we used that to spell out my kids names. We also used the tape to cover the areas that had been cut so that the birds could see the sharp edges and to make the feeders look a little more stylish.
6. Wrap string around the lid so that you can hang your feeder from a tree or existing bird feeder.
7. Fill the bottles with feed. I buy dried meal worms in bulk from Amazon. It is a little pricey but I have wasted too much £ on other types of bird feed like niger seeds, peanuts, etc that never end up getting eaten.
8. Now it's time to put your feeder up and watch all your new pals hanging out at their bird cafe with a well deserved cup of tea :D
FYI the RSPB do a Big Garden Birdwatch event every Jan which you can take part in from the comfort of your own home. It's such a great way to get the kids excited about wildlife and it's dead easy and a great way for the RSPB to record increases or decreases of bird populations, do it!
Next time i'll be showing you how to make late Summer/Autumn window boxes!
You can keep up to date with Susie's gardening and general antics on her Instagram @The_Lady_Gardener