Make A Bird Cake: A Fun and Easy Way to Attract Wild Birds To Your Garden

In a recent post, we looked at some ideas for making easy bird feeders for your garden, using recycled drinks bottles as seed feeders. However, I also mentioned that you could make a bird cake, which is a fantastic way to help sustain wild birds through those cold winter months. This is very easy to do (a great activity to try with the kids) and might help to attract new kinds of birds to your garden.

What’s A Bird Cake?!

There are a quite few variations, but bird cakes are generally a combination of regular bird food (seeds, nuts, fruit, grains etc…) and some kind of suitable animal fat such as suet or lard. When combined, the resulting mixture can be formed into various shapes or moulded into containers, ready to be distributed around the garden.

There’s not really any cooking involved and while some people like to melt the lard / suet, it’s not really necessary as you’ll see in a moment.

The high fat content and calorific nature of these cakes makes them ideal for wild birds to keep them going through the cold months, when food is scarce.

What You’ll Need

Main Ingredients:

Fat – Lard or suet

Bird Seed

Optional ingredients:

Nuts

Fruit

Cheese

Besides that you’ll need:

  • A butter knife to chop up the fat
  • A bowl and spoon to mix things up
  • A mould or container to shape / hold the mixture
  • A pair of scissors and some string / twine to hang your cakes

IMPORTANT:

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) advises to use a good quality bird seed mix and either pure lard or suet for the fat. Please don’t use other fats or oils from cooking as this can actually harm wild birds and cause problems with their feathers.

How To Make A Bird Cake

1. Let the lard / suet warm up to room temperature. Chop it up into small pieces and add them to the bowl.

2. Add in your other ingredients and mix everything together using your hands or a spoon. Ideally you’ll want to use around 1 part fat to 2 parts seed mix.

3. You should end up with a stiff but malleable mixture, that can then be pressed into a mould or container. The cake will set hard when cold.

How To Present Your Bird Cakes

You can hang your bird cakes anywhere around the garden, where birds can land safely and away from predators. Cats are a major threat, so try to place them up high and away from things like fences and shed roofs. If you don’t have anywhere to hang your cakes, then the mixture can just be placed out on a bird table.

Here are some fun ideas to try…

Yogurt Pots

This video from Chester Zoo shows you how to re-use old yoghurt pots to make quick ‘upside-down’ bird cakes.

Bird Cookies

If you’re feeling creative and have a cookie cutter handy, why not try making bird cake cookies for your visitors to enjoy!

Fat Balls

Simply roll your bird cake mixture into balls and place around the garden or hang them up in a wire feeder.

Cup Cakes

This video from the RSPB shows how to make cupcakes for your feathery friends, although in this example it does involve melting the fat first.

Bird Cake Mugs

For a slightly more refined dining experience, you might like to offer your wild birds some afternoon tea! Simply press your cake mixture into a mug, add a stick for a perch and hang from the handle and have yourself a bird cake tea party!

Re-used Plastic Milk Bottle Feeder

A slight variation on the last idea – we tried reusing a plastic milk bottle to make a very cheap and eco-friendly bird cake feeder.

If you don’t have any containers, then of course, you can just place your bird cakes out on the bird table.

Final Thoughts

Get some good quality bird seed, mix it with lard or suet and that’s pretty much it!

Of course, you can easily buy bird cake or fat balls from many shops and online sellers, but there’s something rewarding about making your own. Try adding different nuts or fruit to the recipe and see what new visitors you might attract. Besides that, there are all sorts of fun ways to present your bird cake and you really don’t have to spend anything.

Overall, this is cheap and easy way to help wild birds keep up their energy levels and survive through the cold winter months. Let us know how your bird cakes turned out in the comments below. We’d also love to hear about which types of birds have been enjoying your bird cake masterpieces!

Did you try making your own bird cakes? What kinds of birds have been visiting your garden? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this post!

    I absolutely love birds and animals as well as cake. I really like this it’s so easy to follow and understand. I’ve always wanted to make some sort of feed for these beautiful creatures and what better creation than a sweet cake. All I need to do know is make a list of these ingredients and then soon I’ll be ready to set it up!

    It’s winter too and food is definitely scare so this would be a big help for them!

    • Thanks Sariyah, yes it’s very easy to do – my six year old made the ones shown in our little demo here. He’s really enjoyed seeing which birds are visiting them – Robins, Blue Tits and Great Tits so far. It’s a great feeling to help out wildlife this time of year.

  2. What a fun activity from start to finish! I love bringing wild birds a little closer to enjoy their songs and bright colors. However, I have found that most of the things I’ve tried only succeed for about a day, at which point the squirrels figure out that there is a new buffet in town and they steal all of the birdseed. Eventually, I purchased a squirrel-resistant bird feeder that seems to work fairly well at keeping the birds fed instead of the squirrels. Any tips for keeping squirrels away from these bird cakes?

    • Hi Aly, thanks, yes very fun and you can try different ingredients, such as nuts and fruit to attract new birds to your garden. Squirrels can be a nuisance – although amusing to watch sometimes! They seem to be mostly interested in things like peanuts and any loose feed that’s laying around. There are various cage type feeders available – you can mould your bird cakes into any shape to fit one of these – such as a square or like traditional fat balls. The cages have a small enough mesh so that birds can peck through and get what they need, but hopefully will keep the pesky squirrels away!

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