In the cold months of the year, our local birds need plenty of help to stay toasty and healthy until spring rolls around. Bird feeder balls from mainstream shops often contain cheap or questionable ingredients like palm oil. Much better to make your own and treat your local chirpy friends to some really delicious, energy-dense winter sustenance!
Keep your birds happy with these bird food cupcakes!
What you will need:
A cupcake tin
A microwave proof bowl or large saucepan
Vegetable suet, lard or coconut oil
Wild bird seed
You can also add: crushed eggshells, currants, raisins, sunflower hearts, unsalted peanuts, uncooked oats
Do not add: salted seeds or nuts, dried rice or beans that could swell once ingested, bacon rinds, cooked oatmeal (clogs birds beaks), desiccated coconut, avocado, crisps, chocolate, stale, mouldy or dried bread, polyunsaturated fats like margarine.
Birds need good quality fats in their diet. Fats that are solid at room temperature are the best. Coconut fat is high in saturated fats and would be suitable for making vegetarian cupcakes for wild birds.
- Line your cupcake tins with cupcake cases and fill each casing two thirds full with your bird food ingredients.
2. In a saucepan/or microwave safe bowl melt 250 grams of vegetable suet or lard at a low heat/2-3 minutes in the microwave. Do not leave unattended and watch carefully until the suet or lard is just melted. Residual heat will turn it to liquid.
3. Pour the liquid fat over the ingredients in each cupcake liner until just full.
4. Leave to cool until the fat turns solid. You can also put the tray in the refrigerator.
5. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled down and solid, you can store them in sealed tin or plastic bag until you are ready to feed your birds their happy cupcake treats.
Don’t forget to remove the cupcake casing before putting them out. Like you, the birds won’t want to get a beakful of paper!
You can place the cakes on a bird table or tray, wedge them tight between branches or within the knots of trees. You could also stuff a loop of string into each cupcake before pouring the fat in so that you can hang the cakes from tree branches. Avoid using plastic mesh bags used by supermarkets for packing lemons and limes – birds can get their feet tangled in the mesh and woodpeckers which have barbed tongues are also at risk of getting caught up in them.
If you have any cupcake cases left, return to the kitchen and use your favourite recipe to make happy cupcakes of your own. Both you and the birds will be happy!
Don’t forget to take some adorable photos of the birdies enjoying your offerings – and send the photos to us! Thanks to Caroline Nicholson (from the famous pomanders) for this brilliant activity!