Saturday, November 1, 2014

6 Ways to Feed the Birds and Squirrels

Winter is so close, we can taste it in the air these days. The tiny feathered (and furry) animals are getting ravenously hungry, desperate to snatch up anything they can find before food starts becoming scarce, so Silkworm and I thought it was time to compile a list of ways to fill their tummies.




1. Make birdseed ornaments.
Deck the trees with edible gifts for the birds! They deserve a Christmas, too, you know. To get the birdseed to stick together, start with the following ingredients: 4 cups of birdseed with about 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water, 3 TBSP of corn syrup, and 2 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin. Whisk the gelatin into hot water as if you were making Jello, then add corn syrup, then the flour and birdseed. Press the birdseed mix into cookie cutter shapes on parchment or wax paper and refrigerate until solid, carefully removing the cookie cutters afterwards.

2. Make a bird feeder out of a vegetable/fruit skin/peel.
A hollowed-out pumpkin, acorn squash, orange, watermelon--cut them in half and they make great bowls for holding seed. Poke sticks in for perches and thread strings through the skin to use for hanging the feeder.

3. Let them eat out of your hands.
It's not impossible to tame your backyard bird population. You just have to be patient and know what they like and don't like. We've found chickadees to be especially brave, and while I haven't been able to get the ones in our backyard to eat out of my hand, they will come to the bird feeder when I'm standing within inches of it. Check out charts on what seeds and things specific birds like, and make sure you have the right food to attract the right bird. Give the birds a chance and gain their trust gradually. Who would trust a giant overnight?

4. Hang bits of food close to the ground.
For squirrels, loosely tie things like nuts or berries on strings and then tie the strings onto tree branches, letting the food hang just above the ground, maybe a foot or so. You want them to have to jump a little to get the food. Since it's loosely tied, they should be able to get it on the first try, but it's fun to watch them bounce for berries!

5. Make bird-feeding garland.
Thread pieces of popcorn, O-shaped cereal, fruit, or nuts onto string and hang it up outside. Try to hang it in the trees somewhere where there are a lot of branches to perch on for the birds to nibble from.

6. Make your own suet feeder.
You could make this with just sticks and glue (and eye hook screws and string to hang it), but you could also use a rectangle of chicken mesh folded in half and staple it to the two sticks or pieces of wood on the edges. 

Note: Do not feed birds bread! It is unhealthy for them and they would not eat it in the wild. I don't think birds know how to make a fire to bake bread. (This goes for ducks and geese, too, FYI!)

18 comments:

  1. such an adorable post! and i didn't know bread was unhealthy for them, super informative :)

    spiceadvicexo.blogspot.com

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  2. This is such a lovely little post. We have a birdhouse in our garden and every year birds return from the South and lay their eggs in it. We've had some horrible incidents where Mother Nature hasn't even given the baby birds a chance but when they do survive, it's so lovely to see them grow. Your graphics are great too! So cute :)

    Hayley-Eszti // www.hayleyeszti.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much! Ohh, you lucky duck! I've always wanted to watch a nest of baby birds grow. We used to have some nests up in our pine trees in my old house, but they were way too high up. The blue jays would always swoop down to attack my kitty--he even got poked in the head once and got a scar from it!

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  3. Great ideas, some are so simple yet always overlooked. I love your illustrations too. :)

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    1. Ahh, thank you! I know, people like to just throw some birdseed outside, but it's so much fun to do something extra special for the birds once in a while!

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  4. Lovely post! I love all of your ideas. :)

    catscraftsncritters.blogspot.ca

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  5. These are such great ideas!! I really love popcorn garland and hanging food close to the ground! I wish I could hand feed birds, but they would probably just fly away!
    ~Sara
    Sincerely, Sara

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    1. We definitely wanna do popcorn garland this month. :) And I don't know, some species tend to be surprisingly friendly, like chickadees! We have some in our backyard that will sit within a few feet of us, but we haven't gotten them to eat from our hands yet.

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  6. What a cute post, super informative too. I've never fed bread to birds or ducks but I see it all the time in movies... glad to know I SHOULDN'T do that. lol

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, bread is surprisingly very unhealthy for birds, I don't know who started the idea of feeding it to pigeons and ducks and whatnot. On the other hand, most birds can have seeds, but they're unhealthy for ducks and other waterfowl. I suppose a bit of research is needed before one goes out to have a fun time feeding the birds!

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  7. This is such a cute idea! I love the little illustrations you did for this. We have some rainbow lorikeets around but I never have anything suitable on hand to feed them!

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    1. Thank you! AHH I'm so jealous, I want pretty tropical birds surrounding me. The blue jays and cardinals are about as colorful as common gets (but they're pretty darn pretty). :)

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  8. We don't have squirrel but I could feed the possums? :)
    When we move to Warrandyte and it's more bush like and less city, I will follow your instructions for feeding the wildlife :) x

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    1. If you can feed the possums, I wish I lived where you lived. Any possum where I live plays dead if you stand within twenty yards of them, haha! That's so great that where you're moving to will give you the opportunity to see more wildlife, I hope it's everything you've always dreamed of. ^-^

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  9. This is so cute, I love your ideas and drawings ♥♥

    Daisy l LittleKawaiiDaisy

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  10. Oh no - I've been feeding my birds bread! I also give them bird seed and nuts and fat balls. There is a little robin and he always appears as if from no-where right now, whenever I go into the garden or the shed. He's like a spiritual robin watching over everything. I won't give him any bread x

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Silkworm and I love hearing what other people think. In fact, it's probably our favorite thing, so don't be shy to leave us a note or ask a question!

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