Tasty Treats for Your Favorite Bird Friends
A great project for kids and adults to work on together.
It's cold outside and the wild birds that live around your home, in your bushes and trees, are probably finding it hard to find enough food to keep their bellies full so they can stay warm throughout the winter. You can help them by providing them with some tasty and nutritious treats all winter long.
You like peanut butter don't you?
Well, did you know that birds love peanut butter, too? You can make a wonderful peanut butter snack for the birds at your house that is really good and healthy for them. They're fun to make and it's even more fun to watch the birds enjoy their tasty treats!
Here's the stuffing!
Mix these ingredients together:
1 cup of chunky peanut butter
If you want you can also mix in some dried fruit like raisins or cranberries, and even some unsalted peanuts.
3 cups of coarsely ground cornmeal
1 cup solid (not liquid) vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
some good quality birdseed blend that contains some nutritious black oil sunflower seed.
Yum, what a treat!
Now you can simply place your "peanut butter suet stuffing" in old suet containers or shape it into balls and hang it in mesh bags.
I think it's more fun to create some special bird seed ornaments!
Here are some different ideas:
Pine Cone Ornaments
- Find some good sized pine cones that are fairly open with lots of room for your "peanut butter stuffing".
- Tie a string or yarn around the base of the pine cone that can be used to hang the pine cone later.
- Use your hands to squeeze and pack the "stuffing" into the spaces between the scales of the cone.
- If your "stuffed" cone is sticky enough you can roll it in a paper plate of birdseed to add more seed.
- Hang your pine cone bird seed ornaments in a tree by a window so you can watch the birds enjoy their home-made treats!
Pine Cone Bird Wreaths
- You may need to get some help with this one but it's a fun idea.
- You will need a wreath ring of some kind (wire, grapevine, or even straw) and some floral wire
- Attach the floral wire to the base of your pine cones rather than string
- Stuff pine cones with your peanut butter stuffing (as above) and set aside. The number of pine cones you need depends on the size of your wreath ring and how full you want it to be.
- Attach the "stuffed" pine cones to the wreath ring.
- Attach another piece of wire for a hanger and hang outside for the birds to enjoy! Be sure to place it where you can watch them!
- Periodically "refill" your wreath with more "stuffing".
Grapefruit or Orange Bird Feeders
- Cut a grapefruit or orange in half and enjoy the juicy fruit!
- Once you've finished eating the fruit, clean it out so you have created a little bowl.
- Carefully poke 3 holes in the edges and feed string or yarn through the holes.
- Stuff the grapefruit "bowl" with your "peanut butter stuffing" and sprinkle birdseed on top.
- Set this in the freezer to harden.
- Remove from the freezer and knot the strings at the top and bottom to secure the grapefruit and create a hanger.
- Hang your feeder outside near a window and watch the birds chow down!
You can even decorate a tree just for the birds for Christmas!
One year we even cut a special little Christmas tree and decorated it just for the birds that visit our deck. We had to secure it to the deck railing so it didn't blow over but the birds loved it. We made popcorn strings and cranberry strings with a needle and thread. You can hang your pine cone birdseed ornaments and you can make other birdseed ornaments as well.
Peanut Butter Bagel Rings
Cut a bagel in half and let it dry out for a day or so, then spread it with chunky peanut butter and push it down on a paper plate covered with a good birdseed blend to cover the peanut butter with seed. Hang your birdseed bagel ornaments on your bird Christmas tree.
Be sure to put some fresh water out for your birds, too.
You can get a water bowl or bird bath heater to keep the water from freezing. It's often hard for birds to find a source of unfrozen water in the winter – you can help them out!