How To Make Bird Seed Cookies

 how to make birdseed cookies
Fortunately, spring is finally here and our feathered friends will be migrating and hunting for food.  My grandchildren and I spent the week-end making bird seed cookies for the birds.  The grandchildren had fun, and the birds think they’re delicious.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds before you leave.
So, I thought you would love the recipe to make these treats for your backyard friends too. It’s a great activity to do with the children.  Also, this is a great activity to do when mother nature is sending cold, snowy weather your way.  The bird seed cookies are full of protein to help keep our backyard friends warm and their tummy full.
Part of the fun is gathering the cookie cutters that you want to use.  Have everyone pick out a favorite cookie cutter shape and than get to work.  Here’s what you will need:
    • 3/4 Cup flour
    • 1/2 Cup water
    • 1 Envelope unflavored gelatin
    • 3 TBS Karo corn syrup
    • 4 cups of wild birdseed
    • Mixing bowl
    • Wax paper or non-stick spray
    • Cookie Sheet
    • cookie cutters

bird seed cookies

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl except the bird seed and mix until well combined.   Now, mix in the birdseed gradually. Spray your cookie sheet with the non-stick spray or line with the wax paper. Spread the bird feed evenly on the cookie sheet.  Use the cutters to cut out shapes.

An alternate method is to fill the cookie cutters by the spoonful, which is what we did.  First, place each cookie cutter on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Next, you want to fill the cutters to the top and pack it so the mix is nice and thick.

 

bird seed cookies

So, we used my spring cookie cutters, which include a birdhouse, bird, and the sun to create the treats. However, use whatever you have on hand.  The kids will enjoy using whatever you have.  Nothing is off limit.  Once the cookies have been created, use a straw to make a hole at the top of each cookie.  As a matter of fact, allow the treats to harden over night before you set them out.  You can place them in the freezer to help things along.  You can also store them in the freezer for future use.  Unfortunately, these cookies don’t do well in the summer.  They fall apart easily.

However, once the cookies have set place a piece of twine through the hole of each cookie so you can hang them. Place them on tree branches and bushes, and go bird watching.  My grandchildren think the cookies are cool, and enjoy watching the birds eat the treats through the windows.  Cold, snowy days with a warm fire make the best bird watching days.

 

bird seed cookies

 

Last, making bird seed cookies is a fun activity to make throughout the year.  Most importantly, it’s a great way to get the kids involved in gardening and nature.  So, be sure to make extra.  You can keep them in the freezer and use them to feed your feathered friends throughout the year.  Don’t forget to make a few for friends who love to bird watch too.  They make great gifts.

You may also like:  How To Bring Backyard Birds To Your Feeder

 

Backyard Birds – Red Bellied Woodpecker

Image-Redbelly-Woodpecker1

It’s getting cold in my area, so I decided to fill the bird feeders this week-end and do a little bird watching.  In the summer, I don’t fill the feeders as often.  Most of my backyard birds feast on the sunflowers in my garden. I thought it would take a few days for the birds to find the seed since I hadn’t filled them for months, but it only took a few hours.  Check out my other backyard bird posts before you leave. 

 

backyard birds, feeding wildlife, woodpeckers

 

Within a few hours, I was jumping for joy when I saw this fellow at the feeder. This is a male Red Bellied Woodpecker. Isn’t it beautiful. If you’re wondering where the red is on his belly, I was too.  I do know they love the black oil sunflower seeds that I place in the feeder.  But, they love pecking on this tree and my gutters.  Apparently, the sound resonates and a potential mate will hear the call.  They also hide seed for later consumption in the crevices of trees, which is what he’s doing in the picture below. This winter I will set out a suet feeder.  They love any kind of suet.

backyard birds, feeding wildlife, woodpeckers

 

Furthermore, if you want to attract Red Bellied Woodpeckers to your backyard, purchase or build a platform feeder and add black oil sunflowers or safflower seeds.  Red bellied woodpeckers love peanut butter and cracked corn too.  I add peanut butter to pine cones during the winter.  You can find my post on peanut butter pine corns here.  Peanuts are a favorite too.

Are you a bird watcher?  What are some of your favorite backyard birds?

Backyard Birds: American Gold Finch

backyard bird, gold finches, American Gold Finch

My American Gold Finch have returned more brilliant in color.  I’m amazed at how much the male has colored up. They molt in the winter and late summer, turning a dull yellow/olive color similar to the female shown at the top.  

I discovered these little fellows last season in my garden. They devoured my sunflowers.  So, I fed them over the winter using black oil sunflower seeds.  Normally they head south for the winter, but I did have a few that hung around.  


I’m hoping to see a few babies at the feeder in late summer.  The female will lay eggs in June or July.  


Lately I’ve been having problems with Starlings wiping out the feeders in hours.  So, I’ve had to replace the seed in my feeders.  I decided to go with Nyjer for the finches this summer.  I purchased this nylon bag full of Nyjer at Lowes this winter and they loved it.   

backyard birds, American Gold Finch, wild bird seed, feeding wild birds
 





I purchased the tube feeder from Amazon.  Truthfully, I could have saved my money.  They prefer the nylon sock.  They will go to the feeder if there are too many finches feeding from the sock, but it is their plate of choice.  If you’re interested in attracting the American Gold Finch you should know that Nyjer is considered “black gold” to bird watchers.  This tiny seed is the most expensive bird seed that you can purchase, but a great way to attract them to your feeder if your want to get up close and personal.  They love sunflower seed too, but so do the Starlings and Crackles and I’m not trying to attract them.  

Unfortunately, the sunflower seed is too large to place in the sock and tube feeder.  These feeders are designed for Nyjer seed only.  I may grow thistle next year as a supplement to the feeder.  As it stands, these beauties are enjoying black gold.  

You may also like:  Attracting American Gold Finch

 

Backyard Birds: Tufted Titmouse


Tufted Titmouse

Meet my Tufted Titmouse.  I love these little guys.  They’re a beautiful gray and white with a little tuft on top of their head.  They are marked with a touch of orange on the side.  They’re abundant in my backyard.  I keep them coming back by providing them with lots of black oil sunflower seeds.  They love them.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

They’re funny birds.  They don’t normally eat directly from the feeder, they take their sunflower seed and crack it on a nearby branch and than head back to the feeder.  These little fellows will flock with chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches.  I enjoy watching them cling to the smallest branches while they wait their turn at the feeder.   They will eat from the platform feeder as well as the tube feeders.

 

 

The Tufted Titmouse likes to nest in holes in trees or a vacated woodpecker nests although they will also use nesting boxes.  I have plenty of woodpeckers around, so they have lots of holes to nest in.  They are known to pluck hair from live animals or humans for their nest. They mate for life.  The male does most of the singing, but the female will sing a softer version at times.  I will continue to supply sunflower seeds, as they are permanent backyard residents that I can enjoy year round. Their young are ready to leave the nest in 16 days, which I think is incredible.

 

 

 

tufted titmouse

 

 

I’m currently having problems with Starlings devouring the seed in hours.  So, I’m in the process of purchasing a new feeder and seed.  The new feeder will be enclosed in a cage, so only small song birds will be able to enter and eat from it.  I will be filling the other tube feeders with safflower seeds and thistle for the finches.  I’ll still use my platform feeder for the cardinals, but I will be replacing the sunflower seeds with safflower as well.  Supposedly, squirrels and Starlings don’t like safflower seed.  I’ll keep you posted on this change at the feeding station. 

You may also like Suet Feeders For Backyard Birds

 

Tips to Attract Baltimore Orioles

I decided to become more diligent in feeding the birds through out the year.  I’m hoping to attract Baltimore Orioles this year. I’ve never seen an Oriole in my area, but I did a little research and it seem they like oranges and grape jelly. Orioles are beautiful birds.  They are Maryland’s state bird, and since I’m across the Maryland line, about 20 minutes, I’m thinking my chances of attracting them to my backyard are favorable.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

Oranges and grape jelly, oh what to do.  I love home made items, so I decided to make a feeder until I can find one that I like.  Oriole feeders are expensive, so it has to be just right. Until I find the perfect feeder, I decided to make a simple one out of a metal hanger.  My thinking, if I’m unsuccessful I’m only out a hanger and an orange.  To make this feeder you will need the following items.

  • wire hanger
  • 1 orange
  • yellow or orange ribbon
  • *grape jelly (optional)

Baltimore Orioles

 

attracting backyard birds



Bend your hanger until it looks like S.  Cut the end with a pair of wire cutters, and spread the 2 pieces apart.  You want to leave the hook, you will use it to hang the feeder.

Cut the orange into slices.  Cut a wedge out of each slice.  You will use the smaller pieces for spacers.  Alternate an orange slice and than a spacer.  You can smear grape jelly on the orange slices too.  Spread them apart as much as you can, so the bird can perch and enjoy the treat.

Tie on your ribbon and hang in a spot where you can bird watch.  Try placing the feeder where the bird can perch from another branch and reach the slices if you’re unable to get enough space between the slice.  You can rearrange them once you hang the feeder if necessary.  Refrigerate extra slices.  Slices should be checked every 2 – 3 days and changed if they dry out or start becoming moldy.  Wish me luck.

Attract Backyard Birds With Birdseed Pine Cones

 

birdseed pine cones

First, I started bird watching and feeding my backyard birds several years ago.  It is a hobby that I have come to love, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I started making birdseed pine cones, and the birds are loving them.  They literally pick the pine cones clean.  The birdseed pine cones are easy and fun to make with kids.  There’s really no recipe, but I thought I would share how to make the pinecones.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

 

feeding backyard birds

Next, pick a day to gather pine cones with the kids.  You can gather them from your neighbor’s yard, a park or yours. If neither of you have pine trees, locate an area where you can gather a few without trespassing.  Furthermore, they are essential to your project.  I use a medium or large pinecone.  The larger the pine cone the more birdseed it will hold.

You will also need the following items:

  • peanut butter (Purchase store brand)
  • twine or yarn (You can purchase twine from the Dollar General)
  • birdseed  (You can purchase seed from the Dollar General)
  • a paper plate
  • plastic knife
  • plastic spoon

 

feeding backyard birds

You will want to watch the birds feast.  As a result, hang the pine corns in place where you can see and high enough where cats or other predators can’t reach them. Therefore, tie a piece of the twine or yarn around the top of the pine cone leaving the ends long enough to hang it from a branch as shown.  Spread the peanut butter over the pine cone (be generous) with the knife.  Also, place the pine cone on the paper plate and sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone with the spoon.  Cover the birdseed pine cone thoroughly.  You can use the spoon to press the seeds into the nooks and crannies.  Be sure to do this around the entire pine cone.

This is a fun project for kids to create on rainy or snowy days.  Furthermore, they will love the craft more when they see the birds enjoying the treats.  Additionally, if you need visuals on how to prepare the pine cones you can get the instructions here.  Once the pine cones are prepared, have fun watching our feathered friends gobble up the birdseed pine cones.  I guarantee you they will devour every seed.  Place them in a location where you and the kids can watch them enjoy the feast.  Consequently, you will be providing protein that birds need to keep them warm.

Last, freeze the pine cones before placing them outside.  Furthermore, place several in a gallon baggie and place in the freezer until you’re ready to use.  You will always have a few on hand when time is limited.

 

American Gold Finch: Attracting Backyard Birds

american gold finch

 

I’ve had several American Gold Finch visit my feeder this winter.  I watched them eat sunflower seeds from my garden last summer and became fascinated by their beauty.  The male sports feathers that are a beautiful shade of yellow and black.  They are unmistakable. They have a unique flying pattern, which consists of an up and down motion.  However, their bright yellow feathers turn dull during the winter.  I have learned that they “color up” in the spring and summer months, but lose their bright plumage in the fall and winter.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

Furthermore, American Gold Finch are small birds that love sunflower and thistle seeds.  My feeder contains black oil sunflower seed, so I see them regularly.  This little fellow just grabbed a sunflower seed. I plan to plant wild flowers in my garden this year in hopes that they will be attracted.  My sunflowers attracted them last season, so they will definitely have a place in the backyard.  They cleaned off every sunflower in my backyard.

I can’t wait until breeding season when the males molt and regain their beautiful yellow and black plumage.  If you want to attract these beauties to your backyard here are a few tips:

Place a feeder in a location where you can watch the birds feed.  Finches will eat from platform, hanging or tube feeders.

  • Fill it with black oil sunflower seeds or plant sunflowers in your yard.
  • Hang a thistle sock, they love thistle.
  • Fill a bird batch with shallow water.

I purchased a new camera with a zoom lens, so I’m hoping to get some great shots of them in my garden. Stay tuned for my spring and summer photos of the American Gold Finch.  Bird watching is a great activity to do with kids and get them involved in nature.

 

How To Attract Cardinals in Your Backyard

cardinals

The cardinal also known as “redbirds” is my state bird.  They were the mascot for our high school growing up, so I’ve always had an infinity toward them.  My backyard is full of them and as you can see they eat well.  The males are red with black back/tail feathers and are a standout anytime of the year, but breathtaking during the winter months against the snow.  During mating season, the brighter the better to the female cardinals.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds before you leave.

 

female Cardinals

 

The females have some red, but are mostly tan and gray.  They sing outside my bedroom window in the morning.  They are known to have up to 12 different songs.  While watching them, I’ve found them to be quite sociable.  They wait their turn at the feeder and interact well with other species.  Cardinals love mixed birdseed as well as the black oil sunflower seeds.  They also eat fruit, insects and sap from the trees.  I have yet to see them eat from the suet feeder.  The male is a gentleman.  The majority of the time he will perch on a branch while the female eats and than he takes his turn.

 

male Cardinals
Cardinals usually mate for life and they don’t migrate.  You can enjoy their brilliant color year round.  The male is responsible for feeding the female when she is incubating her eggs.  He guards the nest and ensure predators stay at bay.  Breeding season can last from March – September.  The female usually builds their nest in a dense bush that I have at the other end of my house.  I watch them from afar, the female will leave the nest and build elsewhere if she senses danger.  The male in the picture above is indulging on black oil sunflower seeds.  They usually arrive at the feeder with their mate, but I have seen both feed alone.
attracting Cardinals
If you’re a beginner bird watcher, the cardinal is one of the easiest backyard birds to attract.  They like the platform and tube feeders, so you can use one or the other.  They’re not picky eaters, so regular bird seed or black oil sunflower seeds will meet their needs.  Happy bird watching!

Using Suet Feeders for Backyard Birds

suet feeders

I’m trying to attract different birds to my backyard, so I decided to put up a suet feeder.  What is a suet you ask?  Simply put, it’s fat mixed with corn, fruit, peppers peanuts or  dehydrated insects.  It comes in a brick or log form.  The bricks fit into a small cage.  I purchased mine from Tractor Supply for $2.00 and $.99 for the suet.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds before you leave.
Also, you can use the suet year round.  If you’re going to use the suet feeder in warmer months, I recommend using the No Melt suet.  Check the package to ensure you have the correct package.  Using the suet feeder is cheaper than bird seed.  So, if you don’t want to invest a lot of money in helping nature feed our feathered friends a suet feeder is the way to go.

Furthermore, I’ve discovered that some birds prefer suet rather than seed.  Suet is important to birds, especially during the colder months.  It helps to keep them warm.  Mostly insect lovers like Mockingbirds, Orioles, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers and Chickadees flock to suet feeders.  I have been able to get my Woodpeckers and Chickadees to eat from my platform feeder too.  They love black oil sunflower seeds.As a matter of fact, I really wanted to attract Orioles.  I tried using oranges this spring, but no luck.  I did manage to attract a Mockingbird.  He likes like suet too.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard his mating call in the wee hours of the morning in my neighbor’s yard.  Hopefully,  he will find a mate soon.   I need to get my sleep.

 

attracting backyard birds
suet feeders
how to feed backyard birds

 

I did have a visitor at the suet feeder today, a Carolina Wren along with a Cardinal.  Also, I have also seen Tufted Titmouse (bottom  picture) eating from the suet feeder too.  The Titmouse seems to prefer the seeds though.  But the wren is going for the suet.  Isn’t the cardinal, my state bird, beautiful.  So, I’m hoping as the weather gets colder, more of the birds will eat the suet.  It’s cheaper, and the suet cakes last longer.

What backyard birds visit you?  Do you feed them?  If so, what method do you?

 

Backyard Birds – Dark-eyed Junco Visits

 

dark eyed junco

I ‘ve had new visitors at my feeder recently, Dark-eye Junco also known as “snow birds”.  They appeared a few weeks ago during our first snow, and I must say the pictures don’t do them justice.  They are beautiful birds, a grayish black with a white belly and pink colored beak.  The prefer colder climates, which explains why they have suddenly appeared at my feeder.  Check out my other attracting backyard birds posts.
My research has shown that the Dark-eyed Junco visits backyard feeders in the winter, but breed in forests across Canada, the western U.S., and in the Appalachians.  I recently added a tube feeder to my feeding station, my tree, because the platform feeder holds the snow.  I’ve learned that the Dark-eye Junco actually prefer the platform feeder.  They are called snow birds because they love the snow.  They have interesting habits, they will lay in the snow covered platform feeder and just chill or you will find them scouring the snow covered ground for dropped seed.
                                     Dark-eyed Junco
Snow Birds
If you want to attract these entertaining birds to your backyard feeder, use a platform feeder and fill it with millet, bread crumbs, cracked corn or hulled sunflower seeds.  Remember, platform feeders need to be emptied and cleaned more often than tube feeders because they’re open to the elements.  Seed should be fresh.  I try to add fresh seed at least twice a week to my platform feeder.
Now that I know the Dark-eyed Junco likes bread crumbs, I think I will toast a few slices of bread and keep them on hand to add to the feeder since I don’t have hulled sunflower seeds.  I may make a cracked corn purchase as well.  Most backyard birds like cracked corn.  I use black oil sunflower seed mostly since it is the seed of choice for backyard birds.  I’m looking forward to watching my new visitors frolicking in our fresh snow.