From the Magazine Magazine

The holidays are often a busy time in the kitchen. Make time to whip up tasty treats for birds, too. These festive goodies will attract an array of avian visitors outside your home.


Suet Wreath

Materials:

  • Bundt pan
  • Large pot
  • Wide ribbon
  • 3 blocks rendered suet (available at garden centers)
  • 1⁄2 cup additive-free nut butter
  • 9 cups bird seed
  • ​Dried fruits and berries

 

Steps:

1 Over low heat, melt three blocks of suet in the pot. Stir consistently and do not boil.

2 Once the suet melts, add nut butter and stir until fully melted. Remove from heat.

3. Add the bird seed to the melted suet.

4. Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray, sprinkle the bottom with berries and fruit, and fill with liquid suet.

5. Refrigerate overnight to harden, and then remove the mold from the pan.

6. Tie a ribbon around the wreath and hang outside three feet or less from a window to prevent deadly post-meal collisions.

 

Bird-seed Ornaments

Materials:

  • 2 cups birdseed, such as Audubon’s cherry wild mix 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 12 cookie cutters
  • Needle
  • Thread

 

Steps:

1. Combine gelatin and cold water and let sit one minute.

2. Add boiling water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

3. Add birdseed and stir the mixture thoroughly to combine.

4. Fill cookie cutters with the seed mixture; press firmly to fill the mold completely. Refrigerate overnight.

5. Let ornaments come to room temperature and gently remove from molds.

6. Use a needle to pull the thread through the ornament, at least a half-inch from the edge, and tie knot.

7. Hang the ornaments from tree branches or your fire escape (if allowed).

 

Scrumptious Garland

Photo: Alisa Opar/Audubon

Tinsel is just the ticket for sprucing up your indoor Christmas tree, and you can make some colorful, scrumptious trim for your outdoor trees, too.  Combine some, or all, of the ingredients listed below to create long strands of garland that birds will devour. Note: A single, long strand of garland loaded with goodies can be unwieldy. We suggest creating several three- or four-foot long sections and then tying them together as you hang them.

 

Materials:

  • Air-popped popcorn (unsalted and unbuttered, and preferably stale)
  • Whole peanuts in the shell (unsalted, preferably raw)
  • Cranberries (dried or fresh)
  • Apple slices (dried)
  • Orange slices (fresh)
  • Thread
  • Needle

 

Steps:

1. Unspool a 4-foot-long section of thread; tie a knot or two a couple of inches from one end, and thread and secure a needle at the other.

2. Thread the ingredients one at a time. Consider starting with an orange or apple slice to provide a secure anchor to build upon, and create your own alternating pattern of ingredients.

3. When only a few inches of thread remain, tie a double knot close to the final item.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 to obtain desired length.

5. Starting at the top of the tree, drape the garland on the branches in a downward spiral, tying on new strands as you go.

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