Tuesday, September 26

How to make food balls to help sparrows survive winter

In winter, urban birds need fat, and they need it in large quantities. The reason: Our little urban birds, like sparrows, robins, and blue tit, use a lot of energy just to stay warm at night. It is no small thing: birds are a fundamental part of our ecosystems, and there are fewer and fewer.

Therefore, provide them with help in the form of high-fat bird food ballsIt can make a huge difference, and help them survive, especially during the harshest months between November and March. And they are so easy to do!

Bird food balls: ingredients

We are going to need:

  • Grated cheese, “one of the favorite foods of urban birds, such as the robin”, explains the Spanish Ornithological Society, Seo-Birdlife.
  • A fat (such as butter or tallow)
  • A selection of seeds rich in fatty acids, such as sunflower seeds (without salt), some crushed peanuts (without salt), flaked corn and other seeds that we choose. This mixture is perfect to give our urban birds the extra calories they need during the winter.

Here, we are going to elaborate the basic recipe, with the previous ingredients: cheese, seeds and fat. But we could also add dry oat flakes (they are great for them), breadcrumbs, cold roasted potatoes (mashed), even some dehydrated raisins to the cookies or poultry balls.

Another surprising ingredient that birds seem to love, according to SEO / Birdlife experts, is “bacon crust, not too salty and thinly sliced.”

Step 1: prepare the mold, with a container of yogurt

Once we have the ingredients ready (seeds, cheese and fat) we only need an empty yogurt container, one of the most common, that is, 125 millimeters (ml). We have to pierce it at the base, and cross it with a cord or a piece of wool, so that the knot is at the base, on the outside.

Thus, the rope remains inside the container, and there must be enough left over: this cord will help us hang the ball or bird cookie from the branch of a tree, or from another hanging surface frequented by the birds of our neighborhood.

Another important thing: before filling the yogurt containers, you must reseal the hole in the base with a little tape or adhesive tape that resists moisture: this will prevent the mixture from being lost or falling.

Step 2: add the seeds, cheese and fat

Once we have the mold ready, we add a good handful of seeds, another of grated cheese and, again, seeds and cheese until the container is practically full. We must leave approximately one centimeter free at the top, so that the butter can fit.

Important: remember that the string will be surrounded by the seeds and the cheese, inside the yogurt, and that it must protrude above the container.

Now, before adding the fat or butter, we must melt it in a saucepan, over low heat. Once it has a liquid consistency, we can pour it over the mixture of seeds and cheese, so that it covers all the dry ingredients that we have inside the yogurt container.

Step 3: put the bird food ball in the fridge

Once it is ready, we put the container with the seeds, the cheese and the melted fat in the refrigerator; and we let it rest for a whole night, about twelve hours, or until the mixture acquires a solid consistency. We want the poultry food ball to be compact.

Step 4: hang the bird cake from a tree

Now, we carefully pull the string to remove the solid mixture from the container. Or, easier still, we carefully cut the container, with the help of scissors, and discard it. The result: we should have a kind of solid yogurt for birds, chunky, nice looking, and where we can distinguish the seeds. And the bird food ball is ready!

Bonus tip: These nutritious balls or bird biscuits can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks. And take out one or two at a time, during cold winter days. Now, this recipe does not work well during the summer or on warm days, because the mixture would melt, and it can stain the feathers of the sparrows or blue tit: something dangerous, since it would make it difficult for them to fly.

As an alternative, during those hot days, we can only use seeds. But we are in winter, and this recipe is perfect during these cold months, and well into February, even March. We can only wait for sparrows, robins and other beautiful urban birds to enjoy the delicacy. They’ll thank us with a neat twitter!

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