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Say Happy Holidays to Your Feathered Friends with DIY Bird Feeders

LongIsland.com

Make a snowy and chilly backyard a more cheerful place with these bird feeders.

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Looking for an activity where you can get creative, make a neat decoration, and help out local wildlife?  This winter, lend a hand to your feathered friends by making a DIY bird feeder with seasonal flair, and be rewarded by the beauty of the songbirds that will grace your yard.  These crafts are simple and safe enough to do with children, but can also be made into more complex and sophisticated works of art. Be sure to place your bird feeder at a bit of a distance from your house so that birds are comfortable approaching it, but you can still bird-watch from the comfort of your home.  You may also want to regularly sweep the seed shells left under the feeder so that you do not unintentionally invite other critters to the feast, such as mice or rats. So, put on some holiday tunes and plan a crafty afternoon making one of these unique DIY feeders!


Bird Seed Ornaments
This craft is easy enough for the kids to jump in on, and makes many little ornaments for an outdoor Christmas tree.

Materials:

  • 4 cups of bird seed
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • Waxed paper
  • Cookie cutters
  • Straws
  • Ribbon or yarn

Directions: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup.  Add birdseed, and stir together.  Scoop the sticky seed mixture onto a piece of waxed paper, and spread it out and flatten it to about half an inch thick.  Cut shapes out using festive cookie cutters like gingerbread men, stars, Christmas trees, or whatever you have available.  Take a drinking straw and press it through the top part of the seed shape to make a hole to later hang the ornament.  Leave the straw in the seed shape (while still in the mold) for 2-3 hours.  Then, remove the straws and take the seed shapes out of the cookie cutters and place them on another sheet of waxed paper to harden for another 2-3 hours, or overnight. Tie a piece of ribbon through the hole to hang your ornament on a tree branch to feed your feathered friends!
 

Bird Seed Wreath
Here’s a recipe for a wreath to hang on a nearby tree or shed for a little holiday flair.

Materials:

  • 2 cups bird seed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Bundt pan
  • 2 packet gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • Ribbon

Directions: Mix two packets of gelatin in 1 cup of water. Simmer until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Then, stir in two cups of bird seed and mix well. Spray your bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, and then pour the seed-gelatin mix into the pan and press lightly to pack it in so it takes the complete shape of the pan.  Chill for two hours in the fridge. Turn pan upside down to remove, and if it is still stuck to the pan, run a butter knife along the side to release it. Hang the wreath with a length of ribbon from a tree or fence.
 

Upcycled Pumpkin Feeder
Instead of chucking your old pumpkin, use it as a feeder for your birds, while also giving htem a tasty snack and some extra nutrients!

Materials:

  • One old pumpkin from Halloween
  • A sharp knife
  • Bird seed

Directions:  Cut your pumpkin in half to create two bowl shapes. Leave the pumpkin “guts” inside as an extra treat for the birds, and add bird seed on top to draw them in.  Leave out on a stoop or in a quiet corner of the yard.
 

Orange Feeders
If you don’t have an old pumpkin on hand, use the peel of half an orange as a natural bowl to hang from a branch and fill with bird treats.

Materials:

  • 1 orange
  • Bird seed
  • Cranberries
  • A knife
  • Yarn or twine
  • A pen

Directions: Take an orange and cut it in half.  Then, scoop out the inside to form two bowls.  Using the pen, poke three equidistant holes.  Take three pieces of string of equal lengths, and thread them into the holes, tying a knot at the end of each string so it supports the weight of the orange.  Fill each orange half with bird seed, and top with sliced cranberries.  Tie the strings to a branch so that the orange half hangs evenly and the seed does not fall out.