Happy Tuesday, friends! After last Tuesday's surprise round of snow, we've been left wanting more. It really warmed up last Friday, and stayed warm (66 degrees) through Monday! It was nice to have some beautiful weather for the weekend (we went to the park), but now, we're ready for some more white stuff, and for it to stick around a bit longer. Since we have to have six more weeks of winter, we really want to make them count!
One of our favorite things to do during the winter months, is feed and watch the birds. We usually attract the most beautiful cardinals during the winter, and we love to encourage them to keep coming back to our yard, so we can enjoy their beauty. Yesterday was really rainy, and today has been, too- so, I knew I would need a busy activity for us. Since we've been enjoying our fine feathered friends so much, I thought it would be fun for us to make some treats for them.
Homemade Bird Seed Treats
You will need:
Stale sandwich bread
Start with the bread...
To start the process of making hanging bird seed treats, grab a piece of stale sandwich bread (something we always seem to have on hand in our house), and use a cookie cutter to cut a shape out of the slice of bread. *Tip- if you don't have stale bread, just pop a piece of soft bread into the oven for 5-10 minutes, until it hardens a bit.
Grab goodies from the pantry...
Grab whatever you have on hand in your pantry. You'll need peanut butter- I keep cheap peanut butter on hand for projects like this, rather than using the $$ all natural kind we prefer to eat. I had some inexpensive bags of sunflower seeds and dried cranberries in my pantry. You could use chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.
Make a hole...
We used a straw to make a hole near the top of the round piece of bread, so we could tie string through it and hang it up on a branch when we're ready to share with the birdies.
B, making sure the seeds and cranberries are mixed up.
I did a rough chop on the sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, and then dumped them into a prep tray. B had fun mixing them up.
Spread the peanut butter...
B helped me spread peanut butter to one side of one of the round bread pieces. It was a messy, yet fun job for him to help out with.
...add the goodies!
We placed the peanut butter side of the bread down in the prep tray, and lightly pressed it into the seed and fruit mixture. The peanut butter acts like glue to grab the seeds and fruit and make them stick to the bread. Leaving the bread round in the prep tray, we carefully spread peanut butter on the second side, flipped the piece of bread over and lightly pressed it back into the seed mixture.
After both sides were completely coated, we placed the piece of round bread on a baking sheet. We repeated the process about five more times with new slices of stale bread. We also had a half eaten apple in the refrigerator, which was staring to turn brown. Birds love fruit, so we dipped the meat of the fruit into the remaining seeds and cranberries, after we spread some peanut butter on it. We'll place it outside, on one of our fruit hooks feeders for the birds!
Use an apple for a special treat... birds love fruit!
Ready to go into the 'fridge...
After your bread slices are covered in the mixture, place them in the fridge, atop a sheet of wax paper for a few hours, or overnight, just so they harden a bit. Place twine or string through the holes you made in the bread slices, and then hang them outside near your bird feeder, from a tree branch or shrub, or even from a plant hook that's not in use right now.
Don't forget, as much as birds need food, they also need water. Keep a small bird bath nearby the area you place your bird treats. I use a tiny butterfly feeder to give the birds some water during the winter months, and keep it near my bird feeder. The birds will know that your yard is a reliable place for them to find food and water, and they'll keep coming back. If you're not used to birds coming to your yard, don't be alarmed if they don't show up right away, after you place their treats out. It may take them a day or two to find it, but don't worry- they'll come! This is a great way for you and your family to learn about birds. Keep a journal to record which birds have been spotted in your yard, and which ones you hope to see!
Do you feed the birds on a regular basis?