Got cabin fever? Today I’m making Valentine bird seed feeders—a winter gift to the birds. I worry about birds in winter, especially when the ground is covered in ice and snow. Teaching kids about nature and birding and caring for the creatures of our planet is an important lesson on compassion. Birds need love too. And valentines.
There was a little trial and error on my part, and yes, this project takes a bit of patience. But these heart-shaped bird seed feeders make a fun project for children of all ages (with adult assistance).
- 2 cups birdseed
- 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
You will also need bird-friendly twine for hanging. Cotton and/or shredded newspaper (optional) for nest building material.
Mix everything together. The little kiddos can definitely get in on this part.
Spray the inside of a cookie cutter with cooking oil spray. Fill cookie cutter with birdseed mixture. Pack the seed as tightly as possible using the back of a wooden spoon. When you think it is full, add more and pack again. It’s sticky and messy (like suet you buy at the bird store). Even if you don’t have kids at home, it’s fun to get your hands dirty.
And FYI—different seed attracts different birds. Click HERE for a comprehensive list of birds and their favorite seed.
Slowly, slowly, slowly remove the mixture from cookie cutter. A little may crumble away. That’s okay.
Let dry on wax or parchment paper for 4-6 hours.
Mist additional cooking oil around the inside of the cookie cutter each time before refilling. Depending upon the size and thickness of your cookie cutter, this recipe makes about six feeders. You’ll want to make them as quickly as possible because once the seed begins to dry out in the bowl, it becomes difficult to work with.
For nest building…
When the hearts are dry, wrap twine around each so that the heart is nestled securely inside the string. Then add a loop at the top for hanging. I added a bit of delta cotton from our last harvest in the center. If you don’t have cotton, add a little shredded newspaper. Birds love cotton and twine for nest building.
Confession: My first two attempts were Pinterest fails. Initially, I thought I’d poke a small hole at the top of the heart feeder and thread string for hanging. This caused the birdseed feeders to crumble. I placed the broken ones outside for the birds. They ate it immediately. (Wrapping the feeders with twine turned out to be the way to go.)
The moral of this birdseed project: don’t forget to feed your birds even if you only scatter seed on the snow covered lawn.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
[tweetthis]Don’t forget the birds in winter! @birdsunlimited #nature #howto #wildlife [/tweetthis]
Winter Birds, Ray Lamontagne