Holiday Decorations and Ornaments for the Birds!

ornaments

Hey kids! When you’re getting ready to give holiday goodies to your friends and family, don’t forget about your feathered friends, the birds! In the winter, there is less food for birds to eat, so they’ll really appreciate it if you fill the trees and shrubs around your house with a treat for them! Outdoor berry garlands and seeded ornaments will last long after the holidays, in the winter months when birds will be looking for food. We’ve found some bird ornaments you can make. They are great gifts for a bird-lover, or just for the birds themselves!

Suet Cakes

If you want to give birds a treat this winter, let them eat cake—suet cake. Many birds require fat for good health in the winter and really love suet and fatted seed cakes. These seed cakes are easy to make and freeze in an ice cube tray. Suet can melt in high temperatures; so make sure to put these out when the temperature is less than 50 degrees.

Ingredients:

• 1 ½ cup shortening/suet/coconut oil

• ¾ cups nut butter (like peanut butter)

• 3 ½ cups wild bird seed

• 1 cup quick oats

• ½ cup cornmeal (or oats, bread crumbs, etc.)

• large paper clips

Instructions :

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Mix the shortening/suet and nut butter in a microwavable bowl and melt.  (Ask your adult for help, it will be hot)

3. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.

4. Put the mixture in a container, such as an ice cube tray, a pan, etc.  

5. Stick a bend paper clip into the top of each suet cake so that you can hang them later

6. Freeze for 1-2 hours until they are hard and ready to hang. Store them in a cool place before hanging.

 

Birdseed Pinecones

White pine cones are the easiest to find and use for these cheerful, easy-to-make ornaments, but any pinecone will work. They are so pretty and easy to make.

Materials:

• Dried pinecones

• 1 cup peanut butter or sunflower butter

• ½ cup songbird seed (plus additional seed for sprinkling)

• A mixing bowl

• Rubber spatula

• Cookie sheet

• Wax paper

• Thin red ribbon

Instructions:

1. Attach a 10” length of ribbon to the top of the pine cone (a hot glue gun works well for this, but ask your adult for help!).

2. In a mixing bowl add the peanut butter or sunflower butter and seed, and mix with the rubber spatula until combined.

3. Place the cones on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet, and using a spatula; liberally cover them with the seed mix.

4. Once the cones are covered, add an additional sprinkling of seed to their surfaces.

5. Freeze the ornaments until firm and ready to hang. Store them in a cool place before hanging.

Approximate time to complete: 30 minutes

 

Cranberry Millet Spray Garlands

Strings of cranberries and millet sprays feed many different wild birds, from cedar waxwings to cardinals, and they add festive color to landscape trees and shrubs. They can even be twined around a post—just watch out for those squirrels!

Materials:

• One 12 oz bag cranberries

• 10 millet sprays (available at pet stores)

• 5-6 feet of heavyweight thread

• A blunt-point sewing needle (plastic or metal)

• Red ribbon (Birds can see and are attracted to red!)

Instructions:

1. Thread the needle with a long thread, knotted at the end, and string the cranberries for as long as you can string them, being sure to tie the end securely when you are done

2. Then taking 10-inch pieces of ribbon, tie the millet sprays to the cranberry strand every 6 inches or so.

3. Hang your garlands. They look very pretty on trees and birds of all kinds just love them!

Approximate time to complete: 30 minutes

 

Sources: kidsgardening.org, audubon.org & sciencing.com

By Karen Rice

 

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