Hello again friends!
The weather is cold and the trees are barren. We are in those winter months where warm soups are king and I find myself longing for longer days where I leave the doors open, work in the yard and enjoy blooming flowers and green grass. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t like to wish my time away and I do try to savor each season as it comes. It just seems as though January to March is somewhat bleaker than other times and I have to force myself to find activities (other than cooking and eating) to do.
Speaking of eating, I have been in the kitchen this weekend cooking up some special treats for our feathered friends. I have three different kinds of feeders that I worked with and want to share how you can make your own bird feeders.
I have always wanted to encourage birds into my yard. For that past few years, I have added some feeders in the back yard so our family could enjoy viewing them from our kitchen and dining room windows. I honestly don’t know much about birds so I began by reading a little about what birds to look for in my area (North Georgia) and what seed and feeders to place outside to attract these birds.
Here is one of my favorite articles that I found:
I was surprised to see that the inexpensive birdseed I had been buying was not exactly what I should be offering the birds. You should research what you need and put some thought and planning into feeding the birds. I wondered why my 99 cent birdseed was picked over and most of it was left in the feeder. Now I understand more what the birds like and need.
So, I went to my local feed and seed shop and purchased a new bag. Here’s the label from it:
I have three different feeder methods that I am trying this year.
The first is a bird feeder made from plastic bowls from Dollar Tree. I used these Rubbermaid bowls and lids. They came in a 2-pack but I bought an extra pack in case I messed up…(and I did).
You will use one bowl and two lids for this feeder.
Using a sharp instrument or small screwdriver, make a hole in the center of each lid and at the bottom center of the bowl. You must do this slowly or the plastic will crack. It took me several times to get it right. I had a small screwdriver and pressed slightly into the plastic while rotating the screwdriver. Once you make the initial hole, you can continue pressing on the sides of the hole to make it larger.
Using a craft knife, I cut slots around the bottom of the bowl. These were about 1/4″ to 1/2″ cuts. My birdseed has whole sunflowers in them so my cuts were large enough for the sunflower seeds to pass through. You may want to use a permanent marker to draw your slots before cutting.
I made four slots in this feeder.
Making the horizontal cuts first will keep the plastic from cracking.
The feeder is made by sealing the bowl with one lid and sitting the second lid underneath the bowl for a perch.
I used plastic lace to hang the feeder.
I began by threading the bottom end of the plastic lace with a small bead (buttons or a washer would work, too) and ran the lace upward from the perching lid.
I thought that gravity was not sufficient and attempted to use super glue to attach the bottom lid and bowl together. The glue never dried sufficiently and was not needed. Just in case you think it needs to be glued—it doesn’t.
Here is my new plastic bird feeder in my yard!
The second feeder is birdseed ornaments.
I chose several large cookie cutters for my birdseed ornaments and sat them on a large pan lined with parchment paper. I cut drinking straws into 2-3″ high strips to make holes for the twine.
After mixing the ingredients, I spooned it into the cookie cutters and pressed down to fill in all gaps. I placed the straws about 1/2 inch from the top edge. If you put the straws too close to the top, the ornaments are more likely to break. I also used a large round cookie cutter with a smaller round mold to make a doughnut shape. I wanted to use this one for the feeder I already have.
Ooops! Can you see where I did not let the gelatin thicken enough in the fridge and gel seeped through?
After refrigerating the ornaments overnight, they should easily slide out of the cookie cutters.
Feed the twine through the hole and tie in a knot at the top of the ornament. Leave a good amount of twine at the top to hang the ornament on a branch.
This photo was taken with my cell phone from my window so I apologize for the bad photography…but it only took less than 24 hours for birds to find the feeders!
I also made homemade suet. Woodpeckers love this!
I measured the dry ingredients and put them in a bowl. I took a second microwavable bowl and melted Crisco.
I then stirred peanut butter into the Crisco until it dissolved.
Once the peanut butter was dissolved, I combined the wet and dry ingredients until it was completely mixed.
I pressed the suet mixture into a plastic wrap lined baking pan. This pan was a 9×11. I wanted my suet to be thicker so I did not press the mix into the entire pan. A quick trick to get it smooth is to fold over the plastic wrap to cover the suet and then run your hand across the top.
I found this “thing” in my yard when we moved into our new house fifteen years ago. Honestly, I didn’t know what it was until now…it’s a suet hanger! I measured the inside of the suet hanger so I would know what size to cut my squares.
Depending on your feeder size, cut your suet to fit. I knife or pizza cutter works great.
Here is my suet hanging on a tree. I chose this tree because woodpeckers love it–can you see all of the holes in the tree?
I hope you’ll try at least one of these feeders and welcome many feathered friends into your yard! (The gelatin ornaments were the most fun to make and is the most kid-friendly. I would start with them.)
Thanks for stopping by Mulch and Paint today!
Until next time,
PIN THIS FOR LATER!!
RECIPES ARE BELOW, TOO!!
- 2 C Quick Oats
- 2 C Cornmeal
- 1 C Flour
- 1/3 C Sugar
- 1 C Solid Shortening
- 1 C Peanut Butter
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Melt shortening in the microwave and then add peanut butter, stirring until blended.
Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix well.
Pat into a baking pan lined with plastic wrap. (11 in x 9 in pan or 9 in x 9 in for thicker)
Refrigerate for a few hours.
Lift out and slice into pieces that will fit in your suet feeder.
- 1 C water, divided
- 2 Tbspn Unflavored gelatin (2 packages)
- 2 Tbspn Clear corn syrup
- 2½ C Birdseed
Pour ½ Cup of cold water into a large microwave safe bowl.
Add gelatin to bowl.
In a sauce pan, boil ½ Cup of water and pour over gelatin.
Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
Add corn syrup and stir until well mixed.
Add birdseed and stir until completely combined.
Place bowl in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes until gelatin begins to thicken.
**If gelatin no longer appears to be a thick liquid and starts to "set" then you have refrigerated it too long. Microwave the mixture 10-20 seconds to melt the gelatin and stir. Refrigerate the mixture for another 10-15 minutes.
Choose cookie cutters that you want to use to shape your ornaments and place on a parchment lined tray. (You'll need approximately 7-12 cookie cutters depending on their size.)
Cut 2-3 plastic drinking straws about 3" high.
Spoon birdseed mixture into cookie cutters and fill to the top. Place one straw into each cookie cutter about 1/2 inch from the edge. Press mixture with your fingers or a spoon to fill in the gaps.
Place ornaments in refrigerator overnight until gel has set.
Remove ornaments from cookie cutters by gently pushing them out. They should come out easily. Remove straws the same way.
Run a piece of twine through the hole and tie a knot at the top. Hang birdseed ornaments from tree branches.