Cranberries, monkey nuts and plain popcorn are the equivalent of a yummy Christmas dinner to our feathery friends. So this year why not treat your neighbourhood birds by giving them their own Christmas tree with some special treats?
‘Tis the season to be jolly and it’s a great way of sprinkling a little happiness outside during these cold winter days.
You don’t need an actual Christmas tree as any tree, bush or even windowsill plant will work. Just make sure you decorate your plant with some healthy bird treats to see them through the cold winter nights and your local bird population will thank you for it.
Of course you can buy some proper hanging bird food but birds also love things like peanuts in their shells, whole fruits such as apples and pears, and they even love popcorn (try to get the plain, unsweetened kind).
String together some popcorn and monkey nuts for tinsel. Get some old string to make cradles for suet balls to hang as your baubles and add some apple and orange slices for a splash of healthy colour and nutrition. Fresh cranberries are also a huge bird favourite and provide a yummy, nutritious treat.
It might take a few days for birds to discover their Christmas tree full of goodies so try placing it close to other feeders you may have or where you see birds often perch.
Within a few minutes of placing our tree next to our existing feeders, it provided a nice buffet meal to two robins, a pigeon, four blue tits, a sparrow and a goldfinch. All in the space of 5 minutes.
It’s a good idea to make extra ornaments and replace them as needed all winter long to provide an attractive and effective feeder for many different types of birds. It’s also a great activity for the kids to do through the Christmas holidays!
Here are some popular types of foods that can be hung on a Christmas tree to feed your birds:
– Pinecone feeders or donut “wreaths” covered with peanut butter and birdseed
– Small suet balls or suet cakes in Christmassy shapes, or small mesh bags of suet
– Strings of fruit such as apples, pears, or orange chunks, raisins, or cranberries
– Birdseed ornaments, either homemade or purchased
– Strings of monkey nuts or broken walnuts
– Small birdseed cakes, biscuits or muffins
– Strings of plain air-popped popcorn or unsweetened cereal such as Cheerios
If you want to get really creative you could even try making your own bird fat baubles:
Fat Baubles Recipe
Mix up stale biscuits and porridge oats in a food processor.
Add to a block of lard which has been allowed to soften.
Squash it all together until it’s completely combined (you could even add food colouring at this stage if you wanted to make some red or bright green Christmassy coloured baubles).
Form the mix into balls then push them onto bamboo skewers, and leave in a cold place to firm up.
Once firm, the baubles can be slid off the skewer and threaded onto wool or wire and hung on your tree.
Happy Christmas to our feathery friends!