Love your Wildlife Garden!
Wildlife tips and ideas for your garden!
February is a brilliant time of year to help animals and wildlife in general, getting them ready for Spring and the start of the breeding season.
By putting out extra food on your bird feeders such as left-overs and stale bread you have an efficient and cheap way to feed birds. Leaving log piles alone is also very important at this time, although they may look messy they are a brilliant place for hibernating toads, frogs and newts that have found a moist and covered place to hide from the winter months. Frogs, Toads and Newts will start to emerge March/April time looking for a mate.
How about trying your hand at making a Bug Mansion, it can be as small or as big as you like and they look fantastic, easier on the eye than a log pile! By using different materials empty containers etc. you can make a warm and cosy home for millions of creatures and give your garden an added feature.
Make your own Bird Feeder
The moulds were anything I could collect up - washed out yoghurt and humous pots, some small jelly moulds, a couple of old baby bowls. You can use or recycle almost any kind of container - I did some with flat plastic trays that vegetables and meat came in to make slabs to go in the cage on my feeder.
I also used:
2 blocks of lard (cheap supermarket own brand) or left over fat from a roast meal
A bag of dried mealworms
A bag of wild bird seed
An empty food tin, washed and dry
A ball of string
A pan of hot water
A large dish of cold water
Some cling film
A nice box and some tissue paper (optional!)
Cut the lard into cubes, put them in the tin and stand it in a pot of hot water. I did this on the cooker so I could put a low heat to it if I needed to. You shouldnt need the heat on all the time - you want the lard to warm enough to melt, but NOT hot - it will melt through your containers and burn you if you make it hot.
While it's melting, cut lengths of string and tie them into loops - one for each mould. I put a big knot in each one to give the finished feeder a better grip on the string when hung up.
Put a layer of dried mealworms at the bottom of the moulds. Fill them almost to the top with the wild bird seed. You need to put the worms on the bottom so the seed weighs them down - otherwise they all float to the top.
When your lard is liquid, lift the tin carefully (I wrapped a teatowel around mine) and gently pour into your mould. I used a small skewer to gently stir the mixture to make sure the lard was evenly mixed through. Top up as necessary. Make sure you put enough in to hold the dry ingredients together. Poke the string loop down into the middle of each mould. If this leaves a hole, fill with melted lard.
Once I had done all of my moulds, I put them into a shallow dish of very cold water to speed up the hardening of the lard. Once they were set I put them in the fridge overnight to harden them. Lard is solid but quite soft at room temperature so these are best kept refrigerated until you use them.
You can then hang these from a bird feeder, tree branches or outside a window and watch your gorgeous birds feast on your creation.