Bird Seed Ornaments
Feed the birds in a festive way this holiday season by making ornament shaped bird treats. It's very easy to do and an inexpensive way to help support nature. If you haven't read my articles on "Attracting Birds to Your Landscape" and my Bird Tips on their Food, Feeders and Feeder Placement, you might want to check those out.
Yields 8-10 ornaments, depending on size of cookie cutter.
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup or agave nectar
- 1 - 1/4 oz. packet unflavored gelatin
- 3/4 cup white flour
- 4 cups birdseed
Other Things You'll Need
- Large Non-stick pan
- Large spatula or wooden spoon
- Cookie cutters
- Waxed paper
- Cookie sheet
- Cooling rack
- Non-stick cooking spray
- To save some time later, cut about eight 10" pieces of twine and tie into a loop.
- Spray inside the cookie cutters with non-stick cooking spray and place them on waxed paper on top of a cookie sheet. Set aside.
- In a large non-stick pan, bring water and corn syrup or agave nectar to a gentle boil. You may not want to use your best pan as there may be stones or sticks mixed in with the bird seed that could damage it, although I didn't have this problem.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin to dissolve.
- Gradually whisk flour into water mixture. If the paste is thicker than a thick brownie batter, slowly add in a little hot water until you get to the right consistency.
- Quickly stir in bird seed and mix well until all the "glue" is evenly distributed among the seeds.
- While mixture is still warm, fill a cookie cutter halfway with the mixture, pressing firmly. Use the spoon handle to help press the seed mixture into the corners of the cookie cutter shapes, if needed. Lay the knotted end of a piece of twine at the top of the cookie cutter to create a loop for hanging and finish filling the cookie cutter with the seed mixture. Again, it's important to press the mixture firmly to create a hard block of seed. I've found the simpler the pattern of the cookie cutter, the easier it is.
- Allow the mixture to cool and harden for about 3 hours. I sat the ornaments in front of a fan to help quicken the process.
- After a few hours, push the ornaments out of the cookie cutters. If they fall apart, you either didn't wait long enough to harden or you more likely didn't press the mixture into the molds firmly enough.
- Put the ornaments on a wire rack to finish drying for at least 24 hours. Using a fan will quicken the process.
- Now the ornaments are ready to hang outside for the birds to enjoy.
- Make your own bird seed mixture so there is no waste. I used equal amounts of black oil sunflower and white millet. You can also add peanut hearts or dried berries to the mix depending on what kind of birds you have in the area.
- Display outdoors when temperatures are below freezing and when there is no rain in the forecast. Rain will quickly "melt" the ornaments and make them fall apart prematurely.
- If you are going to be storing these for any length of time or giving them as gifts. Consider leaving them on the wire rack for several days before bagging them up in some sort of breathable fabric. I like to use Tulle. Make sure you instruct the recipient to put them outdoors as soon as possible so they don't get moldy indoors.