It’s easy to DIY bird feeders using scraps from your kitchen and your garden. Here’s how I created a bird feeding station that had hungry chickadees, sparrows & towhees bellying up to the counter within an hour of the time I hung these tasty treats made from by-products of cooking our meals and detritus from the garden.
Here I slathered a long pine cone in pork fat I had skimmed off of last night’s meal. I skimmed the fat after browning the meat & before adding anything else to the pan. The fat was left to solidify over night. After slathering the cone, I rolled it in sunflower seeds and a few berries that I’d accidentally gotten wet while filling the coffee maker — oops! But no waste! I used a bit of jute to tie around the cone & hang it in the tree. If you have strong fibrous grasses to clean up, those might work well too. On a hot day, this might turn into a mess of drippy fat, but with our day temperatures barely getting to 50F, not a drip or drab hit the patio below.
Chickadees like this one will forage for insects & over wintering pest eggs tucked into bark layers & bamboo — even if you offer them supplemental food.
And maybe they’ll nest in that cute little house come spring.
Oh, and see that golden shrub in the background? It’s a late summer through early winter blooming magnet for hummingbirds. Learn more about Gilt Edge Elaeagnus here.
This little Chickadee chases all the other birds away so he can enjoy the berries, seeds & pork fat slathered over this pine cone from the yard waste. And, despite the fact that we look at our neighbor’s ugly shed while this Maple is defoliated for winter, the bird activity changes our perspective so much that we hardly notice the ugliness in the distance behind it.
As summer sunflower heads ripen, we harvest & dry them to hang in trees in winter for the birds.
Easy peasy & it’s one of the Chickadee’s favorite foods!
I also hung a few smaller cones, slathered with nut butter and rolled in seeds. The cones were yard waste, but the nut butter and seeds were fresh from the pantry, so those don’t totally count in the recycling world. But, the birds really love them. If I can catch a shot of the birds on them, I’ll try to share them later.
So far the squirrels (and rats) haven’t found them. Our hope is that by putting out only a little at a time, the songbirds will polish them off long before any rodents get a chance to take a bite.