Treat our fine-feathered friends to Christmas

Christmas holidays are a time to spend extra time with family and friends.

Christmas holidays are a time to spend extra time with family and friends.

The activities need not be expensive but need to be at a level that all can participate and not just watch. Birdfeeders can be very simple and easy to make to complex requiring many hours or days. If the complex ones are of interest purchase a book or a pattern to insure the desired results.

Simple easy ones can often be made out of recycled items or things found around the house.

A simple suet birdfeeder requires lard or suet and peanut butter. For a more deluxe mix include raisons, nuts or seeds.

Suet can be found at the butchers or it can be purchased as lard. If you are using suet it will have to be rendered down or cut into very small pieces.

Any peanut butter works but look for a brand with less salt, sugar and preservatives. Birds like humans do not need the extras in their diet.

Cut the raisons and nuts into tiny pieces. It allows the birds to consume the items easier and the product goes further.

Start by scooping similar amounts of peanut butter and suet into a container. If seeds, raisons and nuts are to be added do so now.

Mix all ingredients together until it is fairly consistent through out the mixture. Large portions of this material will be stiff and hard to mix. Either have young children take turns mixing or give them small amounts.

Scoop the mixture into a net bag and hang it outside. Make sure the suet feeder is high enough off the ground that it will not be eaten by dogs.

If a net bag is not available suet can be smeared on a piece of wood or plastic and suspended from a string. Place as much suet on the holder as will stay in place. Store extra suet in the fridge and spread it on the hanger when needed.

Birds are also attracted to sunflower seeds. The container that holds the seeds can be quick and easy or more time consuming.

Making a suet feeder is a sticky, greasy activity so plan accordingly.

One of the easiest seed feeders requires a milk jug or carton.

Start by drawing a circle on the side of the container. The size of the hole cut will determine what type of bird can feed. The bird must be able to land on the edge of the hole and stick its head inside to eat. The larger the hole the larger the bird. Smaller holes insure that scavenger birds such as magpies and crows will ignore the feeder.

Once the hole is cut, fill the feeder with seed and place it high enough that dogs and deer can not use it as a feeder.

Sunflower seed is the preferred food for most of the birds in Central Alberta.

Expect a bit of a mess as discarded shells will pile up under the feeder. If this is a problem purchase shelled seed.

Bird seed mixes are also available. When purchasing a bird seed mix make sure that local birds eat all types of seed in the mix. If they don’t like the seed they will avoid the feeder or push the seed out of the feeder onto the ground.

While it is nice to continually feed the birds, they will not starve if the feeder is empty.

Birds have numerous food sources and stop visiting them when the food is eaten.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.comM/i>

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Loblaws store is seen Monday, March 9, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
In absence of mandated paid sick days, some companies are stepping up

Only 42 per cent of working Canadians say they have access to paid sick leave

President Joe Biden waves after holding a virtual meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Evan Vucci
New emission-cutting goals called ‘aggressive,’ ‘ambitious’ and ‘illogical’

Canadian industry is being compelled to cut methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference Friday April 16, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
$18B Indigenous spending in Budget 2021 meant for short-term gaps: Miller

Includes a three-year investment to improve access to justice

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

Brooke Henderson, of Canada, watches her tee shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Canadian Brooke Henderson vaults into tie for fourth at LPGA Tour event

Henderson is sixth in the world women’s golf rankings

Switzerland’s skip Silvana Tirinzoni makes a call during a women’s curling match against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Natacha Pisarenko
Previously unbeaten women’s teams suffer setbacks at Grand Slam curling event

Top six women’s and men’s teams qualify for the playoffs.

FILE - Gal Gadot arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Gadot is using her Hollywood star power to spotlight remarkable women from around the world. The “Wonder Woman” actor is host and executive producer of a new documentary series “National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot,” premiering Monday, April 26. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Gal Gadot spotlights women’s stories in new docuseries

First episode follows a young Black figure skating coach in Detroit

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino listens to speakers during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday October 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Retaking language test unfair during COVID-19: applicants to new residency pathway

New program aims to grant 90,000 essential workers and international graduates permanent status

LtE bug
Letter: Questions around city funding for Westerner

The Advocate article on April 21 on page 3 “Council to discuss… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs' Nick Foligno (71) and Mitchell Marner (16) celebrate Marner's goal on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, April 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Taylor Pendrith from Richmond Hill, Ont. salutes the crowd after sinking a birdie on the 18th hole to come in at five under par during first round of play at the Canadian Open golf championship Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Most Read