Today, thought, I want to share something I've created last week:
The simplest version of ornaments involves covering a pine cone with peanut butter and rolling it in birdseed mix. I did a bit of Google searching and read several discussion about feeding peanut butter to birds. Seems like at a certain point it was considered unsafe (birds don't have salivary glans and it was thought that they can choke on peanut butter). Today, more and more sources reassure that peanut butter is safe for birds.
Safe or not, peanut butter ornaments were out of the question for me - I've used most of my pine cones for Christmas decor and with snowfalls we've been having I wasn't ready to go forage for more.
Finally I found this recipe at FolkLifeStyle : no suet, no gelatin (another popular non vegetarian ingredient in homemade bird ornaments). Just flour, water, and a bit of corn syrup! YEY!!!
Last problem was finding out what seeds would be tasty for birds. Luckily my father-in-law has several books on bird watching. In one of his resources I found a table showing that birds that frequent our backyard (sparrows, finches, blue jays and others) greatly enjoy millet, sunflower seeds, and shelled nuts. I had all the ingredients in my pantry and the rest of the process was super easy, fun, and not as messy as I've expected it to be. Here is the recipe (slightly adapted from FolkLifeStyle) with a step-by-step process.
What you need
- 2 cups of mixed shelled and chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, and millet (could be replaced with ready-made birdseed mix)
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs - I've used leftover crusts from sandwiches, dried and crumbled (optional)
- 1/4 cup flour (add 2 extra tbsp if not using any breadcumbs)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
What to do
- In a medium bowl mix all ingredients to form thick "dough"
- Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and press the mixture to form a uniform layer, about 1/4 inch thick
- Using cookie cutters press shapes and remove excess seed mixture (reuse it to make more cookies). If you do not have cookie cutters you can use a glass rim, or even shape ornaments with your hands
- With a drinking straw make holes in each ornament. Try not to make holes too close to the edge of the ornament
- Let ornaments dry overnight, turn them in the morning, and let dry some more, until firm
- Use ribbons or twine to hang ornaments on tree branches. Try to hang them next to thicker branches so that birds have a place to sit while savouring a snack.
- The recipe makes 8-9 ornaments.
I hung 4 ornaments outside the other day. Can't wait to see some visitors in our backyard. I will keep you posted about the birdwatching!
A year ago: JANUARY PLAYLIST
Two years ago: HOLIDAY CARDS (CLEAN AND SIMPLE)