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Feeding the birds through the winter – how do you do it?

Posted by on Tuesday 30 November 2010 in frugal, growing | 1 comment

I don’t mean feeding the girls, they get more than enough. No, I mean feeding wild birds. Last winter, we had bird feeder on the balcony stocked with wild bird seed and nuts from our local miscellanea store – I think the squirrels raided it more than the birds but we regularly saw feathered ones at it too. We went through quite a lot of feed during the six weeks of snow.

Back in September, Colette at the Permaculture Cottage wrote about how wasteful it is to spend money – and all the carbon cost – of importing peanuts & seeds to feed to wild birds, when there are other alternatives. I had a bit of a smack-my-forehead moment when I read that – I’m doing all I can to minimise our food miles but importing food for them.

Colette has noted a number of trees & plants that are good for providing winter food – those suggestions alone are a good starting point for me. I try to maximise the good growing ground in our garden for food for us but further down the garden, in the shade of the trees, there might be some space for bird-friendly bushes. Perhaps my living fence shouldn’t be all focused around our wants & needs…

Alternately, Kate from Living the Frugal Life grows sunflowers in the summer for their nectar and cheer – and for the free-bird-feed seeds to use over winter. I’m tempted to use some of our under-utilised front garden to grow sunflowers next year – although I suspect I’d be tempted to offer at least some of the seeds to our chickens…

Do you feed the wild birds in your garden over winter? Do you buy in feed or do you grow your own? If so, what do you grow? I’d love to hear your comments/suggestions.

(Photo by PsychoPxL – I tried to take my own version but every time I went outside all the birds disappeared, the little pesks!)

One Comment

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  1. Colette O'Neill

    Hi there Louisa…Love the pic of the Robin! Another little tip for feeding the birds…As I live in Ireland and there’s lots of oats grown here, I scatter the odd cupful across the gravel or under the trees for the birds to feed on. No air miles there and it provides much needed carbs. Any veggie peelings can be boiled up and left out for the birds as can scraps. Using cheap lard, melt it in a pan and add lots of seeds to it that you have saved, such as fennel, parsley, sunflower, etc., then set in small trays and lay some string through it while still liquid…your very own bird feeder that can be hung from under the eaves of the cottage! Put a string through an apple and do the same…good for apples going dry in the fruit bowl!
    Love and Light, Colette

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