In winter, snow and ice can bury foods just when birds need the calories to keep warm through the cold. Your neighbourhood tweeters and chirpers will love these birdseed ornaments and your outdoor trees will look all dressed up for the holidays. This wildlife and eco-friendly recipe is adapted from The Spruce.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Medium or large mixing bowl
- 8 large or 12 medium cookie cutters or moulds – chunkier shapes work best
- Nonstick saucepan
- Skewer (any similar type of tool, so long as it is thick enough to create an effective hole. E.g. lollipop stick, ballpoint pen, plastic straw, screwdriver, awl, chopstick, or unsharpened pencil can work well)
- Wire cooling rack
- Wooden spoon or rubber scraper
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup flour (any type)
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup (regular or light)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (e.g. Knox)
- 4 cups birdseed (choose seeds that most appeal to your backyard birds)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Wax paper or parchment paper
String, yarn, or twine, cut into 5- to 8-inch lengths (avoid fishing line, however, as it can be harmful to birds. After the ornaments are eaten, the leftover string can become nesting material for birds)
- Grease your cookie cutter(s) to ensure the ornaments will release from the moulds easily.
2. Boil the Liquid Ingredients. Add the water and corn syrup to the nonstick saucepan and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the gelatin, stirring or whisking continually to dissolve the powder thoroughly. Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove the mixture from heat.
3. Add Flour. Transfer the syrup to your mixing bowl and add the flour. Stir the mixture until well blended; it will have a consistency similar to a brownie batter. There should be no large clumps. If it is too thick to stir easily, add additional hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until it is properly thinned. If the mixture is too thin, add flour one tablespoon at a time to reach the right consistency.
4. Add In Birdseed and thoroughly mix it with the flour batter. This will be a thick, stiff mixture, but it is important to blend it well otherwise the ornaments will not hold their shapes. You may want to grease a rubber spatula to help you mix.
5. Fill each cookie cutter to the brim with the birdseed mix. Press it into every corner of the mould as firmly as possible. The birdseed mixture can dry out quickly so you may want to cover the mixture in the bowl with plastic wrap while you fill each ornament and only fill only one cutter at a time. Grease your hands to prevent any sticking.
6. Use a skewer to create the holes for hanging each ornament. Push the skewer all the way through the mold. Your hole should be approximately 1 inch away from the ornament’s edge to ensure it won’t break. Wiggle the skewer slightly to be sure the hole is large enough for your string or twine and to compact the seed around the interior of the hole.
7. Let the Ornaments Dry overnight on a wire rack.
8. Remove the dry ornaments from the cookie cutters and thread the twine through the holes in each ornament and tie a tight knot, leaving a loop for hanging.
9. You’re Done!
This year we are inviting neighbours to join us in decorating the parklet in front of Gordon House with their crafted wildlife friendly decorations. Feel free to drop by anytime and add your creations to the trees in front of the building! All we ask is that you please respect others by wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance.
This resource on wildlife friendly winter decorations has been done in partnership with the Park People. Please check out their website and Facebook for more information on all of the cool things that they do.