Bird pemmican

We are still in the midst of a cold snap and some parts of the country have had their lowest temperatures for two years, and most of the country has also experienced some snowfall.  In one of my blogs last year I highlighted the importance of not depleting the hedgerows of all their seeds and berries so that wild birds and other wildlife had food available during the winter especially during cold spells and snowfall.


Fieldfare – by G Palmer

Increasingly, as we lose our wild spaces and hedgerows, back gardens are becoming increasingly important wildlife havens for birds, insects and other wildlife.  The RSPB states that providing food for birds during these cold periods  plays “ a valuable role in helping your local birds overcome periods of natural food shortage, survive periods of severe winter weather and come into good breeding condition in the spring”.


Wren by G Palmer

We have stocked a range of bird food and feeders at the World of Bushcraft for a couple of years and since moving to our current location by the marina in August have had a bird table and feeding station right outside the front door.  Don’t forget that all our bird food and feeders are currently half price in our January sale so if you live nearby why not pop over before it is gone.

ABlue Tit3

Blue Tit by G Palmer

However if you can’t get to the centre, no worries here is a quick, straight forward recipe for a bird cake that provides a mix of nutritious, calorie ingredients that will provide and excellent winter food to a variety of bird species.


Select from a mixture of;-

  • Mixed bird seed
  • Uncooked peanuts (not salted!!)
  • Raisins, sultanas or currants
  • Grated hard cheese such as cheddar (can use old dried out cheese)
  • Stale cake
  • Dried Mealworms (available from petshops) or alternatively you could use finely chopped cooked bacon
  • Chopped dried apple

Then to bind it all together use lard, dripping or suet, you need a ratio dry ingredients to fat of about 2:1 by volume. You will also need  plastic containers such as yoghurt pots and some thick string or twine.


To make the cake it couldn’t be simpler.

Punch a small hole in the bottom of the pots and then thread some twine through the holes.


Mix all the fruit, seeds and dried ingredients in a large bowl.


Meanwhile melt the lard in a saucepan over a low heat until it has completely melted then pour into the bowl of dried ingredients and mix well.



Whilst still warm pack the yoghurt pots with the seed and fat mixture, holding the string centrally in the pot.


Place in the fridge and cool overnight. Once set, remove the yoghurt pot, tie a couple of overhand knots in the cord to stop it pulling through the set mix and they are ready to be hung in the garden.


Goldfinch by G Palmer

For more advice on safely feeding birds in your garden go to the RSPB website

Kev Palmer

Thanks to Gerry Palmer for the use of the photos.

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