Help boost our wild feathered friends’ home life by giving them some tasty food.
As winter quickly approaches days are short and nights are long. Many insects that birds eat are dead or dormant this time of year so the birds of Central Texas could use a little extra lovin’ (this is where you come in):
Backyard birders can have a little fun by making their own bird seed “ornaments” – they make a great family craft project and a thoughtful gift for your nature-loving friends and family.
When the ornaments are complete you can apply a small amount of nonstick cooking spray to the ornament to give it a shiny coating. We used PAM Organic Olive Oil cooking spray.
To hang the ornament, use jute, yarn or string. Try to hang the seed ornament around the center trunk of a small-to-medium sized tree where a tree branch jets off so birds can fine-dine without awkward s t r e t c h i n g . :)
DIY not your thing? Visit the Home Style Austin Etsy store where you can purchase Texas-shaped ornaments without the DIY hassle. They’re great for gifts and you’ll score full credit!
½ Cup | Water
2 ½ Teaspoons | Unflavored Gelatin
3 Tablespoons | Corn Syrup
¾ Cup | Flour
4 Cups | Bird Seed
To Form | Nonstick Cooking Spray
To Hang | Jute, Yarn or String
What To Do:
1. Heat water in the microwave for about 30 seconds using a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. The water should be hot to the touch but it doesn’t need to boil.
2. Whisk unflavored gelatin into the water until dissolved. Then whisk corn syrup into the water until dissolved.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the bird seed and the flour until thoroughly combined. Gradually pour the gelatin solution into the bird seed and flour mixture. Use a large spoon to combine all ingredients until a thick, sticky mass forms.
4. Spray the inside of a cookie cutter with nonstick spray. You can use any cookie cutter shape you want and larger shapes tend to be easier to work with than smaller ones and they may attract more birds.
5. Place the cookie cutter on a large sheet of parchment paper, wax paper or nonstick cooking foil.
6. Spray your fingers with nonstick cooking spray to reduce the amount of seed mixture that may stick to your fingers.
7. Spoon the bird seed mixture into the prepared cookie cutter. Press the seed mix into the cookie cutter with your hands until it feels firm and compact.
8. Let’s make a hole. While the seed is still packed inside the cookie cutter insert a wooden dowel or the handle of a similar object into the bird seed. Immediately remove the dowel to create a hole which will allow you to tie the ornament onto a tree. You can create the hole anywhere, but the closer it is to the center, the “sturdier” the ornament will be and the longer it will last.
9. Remove the bird seed ornament from the cutter by “wiggling” it free while gently holding the ornament in place with your fingers.
10. Repeat the molding process with the rest of your bird seed mixture. You may need to spray the cookie cutter or your fingers with additional nonstick spray after every few moldings.
11. Dry the bird seed ornaments overnight. Allow them to sit in a cool, dry spot.
12. After drying string a piece of jute, yarn or thick string through the hole in each ornament. Tie the string, leaving enough empty space to slip the loop over a tree branch. You can also tie the ornament around a smaller tree trunk which I found to be an easy feeding location for the birds.
Yields 8-12 ornaments depending on the size and depth of the cookie cutters
~ Joe Paul Reider
Home Style Austin Founder
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.