Do You Feed the Birds, or Know Someone Who Does?
If so, you'll want to take a look at these great ideas for feeding the birds. They're both super fast to whip up and they make great gifts. Best of all, you'll be helping our feathered friends, who are on the decline.
Burlap Bird Feeder
This easy to make bird feeder was a great hit with all of my birding friends last Christmas. I made myself a few, too, and it was a hit with my birds, as well, as you can see from the picture above. I wasn't sure if the birds would know that there was seed inside, or if they would be able to access it. No worries, there. That's a red bellied woodpecker and a tufted titmouse having a snack.
I used burlap because it's such a loose weave, and I figured a bird could get his beak in pretty easily. All I did was:
- cut out a square, about 1 foot by 1 foot, of burlap. I folded it in half and sewed along the bottom narrow edge and the long side edge. I left the top unsewn. That gave me a bag.
- I turned it inside out to hide the seams. Then I folded the unsewn top edge down about an inch, and then folded it again about an inch. I sewed along the bottom fold almost the whole way around, leaving about an inch unsewn. That gave me a tunnel around the top of the bag to insert a drawstring.
- I took a piece of thin rope about 2 feet long (heavy jute would work - it needs to be strong enough to hold a bag full of birdseed) and put a large pin through one edge. Then I inserted the pin and rope into the hole I had left unsewn. I used the pin to help me pull the rope through the tunnel at the top of the bag and out the hole again. I tied the rope together to give the bag a hanger as well as a drawstring closure.
- I added a little bird decoration, but that is totally optional. Then, I filled the bag with birdseed and pulled the top closed. That's it. It's reusable, because you can refill it with seed as the birds empty it.
Homemade Bird Suet
I make this gift several times a year, and it's always a big hit. I load the suet with fruit and nuts and mealworms and birdseed and the birds go crazy for it.
There are a ton of recipes for homemade suet on the internet. You'll want to follow a recipe the first couple of times you make it, because if you get your proportions wrong it won't stick together into a block. (I know this from experience.) At this point, I've figured it out and I just melt some lard in a big pot. I'll also put in bacon or hamburger grease if I have it. Then I add a little cornmeal and stir in birdseed, mealworms and any half used bags of raisins, nuts, dried cranberries, figs, etc. that I have laying around. If I need more goodies, I'll add unsalted peanuts, too.
I mix it all until it's distributed well and pour it onto and jelly roll pan and leave it cool. I have also reused the plastic holders that store bought suet comes with as molds, but that's messy and fussy, so I prefer the big pan. Once it's hard, I cut it into bars and wrap it in freezer paper. I also thought about using a clean milk carton and then turning it sideways when it's cool to slice into bars. I'll probably try that next time.
I love using this suet because, unlike the store bought kind, I can just unwrap it and pop it into the feeder without making a mess of my hands. Plus, did I mention the birds LOVE it?
Let me know if you try either of these, or if you have any questions. Jodie@poppiwinkle.com