Christmas Bird Feeders

Those regularly reading will know that I made our children an activity based advent calendar this year. So far it has been great fun and yesterday’s activity was to make Christmas Bird Feeders. Before you read on I must stress that it was absolutely amazing to make this activity – the execution of it was, however, slightly disastrous!

First the positives – apart from being quick and simple, it is a lovely way to involve the children in a bit of nature and to have a chance to talk to them about the outdoors and also for them to be able to see the instant benefits of something they do.

As for ingredients, I figured lard and seeds would do the trick…well….hrhm….partly true is all I can say. Here is what we did – the children absolutely loved this by the way with my eldest claiming it is the best activity yet. That comment,  for it being a non-edible activity, is quite a statement!!

  • Melt a square or two of lard in a saucepan (one will make about 6 large-ish shapes)

  • In a bowl, add bird seeds (buy in any large supermarket or pet shop) and pour lard over the top. Let the children stir. It is fine for it to be a little wet as it quickly sets when it cools.

  • Lay a piece of baking parchment on the table and pick a cookie cutter shape (Christmas shapes of course! Stars, Santa, Candy Cane, Reindeer) to lay on top of the parchment
  • Fill the shape half way with seed/lard mixture. Lay string into the mix and fill over the top – this to have something to hang the feeder with

  • Leave cold to set – I left ours outside, covered, over night
  • When set, press out and hang from a tree in your garden (or sit them on branches as I did with some of the heavier ones)!

  • Enjoy watching the birds flock in!

PS – it was the pressing out bit that completely did not work for me! Some of our shapes had quite intricate designs  – snowflake – and the smaller bits simply broke and dissolved! The lard was too soft on its own – maybe it should have been a mix of peanut butter and lard…Do not have the answer I am afraid! I recommend using big shapes – stars for example – as they yield lovely results!

We had a fantastic time making them, and every age group could complete it on their own! The feeders are hanging and attracting birds which is also great! So not a complete disaster…simply not as straight forward as I thought!! 🙂

I had seen a blog on this – and I wanted to credit the blogger – but I have searched all morning for the post and simply cannot find it! So if you have seen one, then that is probably where I was inspired! 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Bird Feeders

  1. MrsB says:

    What a great project. I have all kinds of small to larger (sparrows to woodpeckers) who will benefit by this. I have been buying my suet at local stores. As far as getting the molds to release your completed suets, First, spray the insides of the molds lightly with cooking spray, which should help release the mixture. and I think letting the forms set in the fridge might help. The package you buy in the store suggests refrigerating before hanging outside. Thanks for the blog and my critters thank you, too.

  2. Doug Crummedyo says:

    The seed that attracts the widest variety of birds, and so the best choice to offer, is sunflower. The worst choice is an inexpensive mixture, especially if it contains red millet, oats, and other “fillers” that most birds in most areas spurn. Wasted seed provides a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can harm birds. `

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