Now that winter is here – don’t forget to keep feeding your feathered friends. Our DIY Bird Seed Feeders are easy to make, nature-friendly and are a fun, sensory kids craft!
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I’m not sure about you, but the extended winter season on Long Island this year has made me a bit bonkers. I am an outdoorsy kind-of-gal – and relish any day that can be spent barefoot, with the grass under my feet. But Mother Nature simply isn’t cooperating right now, so I’m left to dream about it instead.
Luckily, I’ve been able to tackle some chores around the house that I’ve been putting off. I spent this past weekend cleaning out our basement. It’s not a glorious project, but it needed to be done. And sadly, it’s still not finished. Half of the basement walls and floors have been scrubbed down with bleach (yep, I have some issues) and I’m just about ready to start painting (again). But, it’s a project that will keep me busy for a few more weeks.
So to remind myself that Spring will get here eventually, I hauled the kiddos into the kitchen for some good ‘ole nature crafting. As you all know, my sister is the crafty one, but when I put my mind to it, I can craft too. It’s just easier if it has to do with nature.
I saw this cute DIY Bird Seed craft months ago in my Lowes Creative Ideas magazine and set it aside for a rainy day. Well it wasn’t raining today, but I was sick of cleaning out the basement, so today was a crafting day!
These DIY Bird Seed Feeders are perfect for chubby little hands. It’s also a great sensory craft – with textured bird seed and slimy vegetable shortening – to keep little minds busy.
These homemade bird feeders take a few hours to dry and harden, so it’s best to start them early in the day. I’d love to report on how the birds liked them, but as soon as we went back inside, three fat little squirrels knocked down pretty bird feeders and had a party in our backyard!
When I was copying down the materials needed for these DIY bird seed feeders, I noticed that some Lowe’s customers had posted some concerned reviews on the Bird Feeders page regarding the use of corn syrup. Being a bird lover myself, I got very nervous that I was doing something bad to my feathered little friends, so I reached out to George Harrison, a birding expert, over at Birds & Blooms.
I asked George if he could give us some guidance about which household pantry items are safe to use in our DIY projects. According to him, “Peanut butter, cereals, and any fruit is fine for birds. Cornmeal and any of the regular bird seeds, except rice, is good, too. I usually suggest that people stay away from using honey, gelatin, corn syrup, red dye, and bread. While there is probably no food problem with gelatin, just keep in mind that it does melt in the heat.”
Gadzooks! Imagine my surprise when I found out that honey was on his naughty list too! I had no idea that it shouldn’t be used in wild bird seed feeders, but I’m really glad I reached out to George because now I know.
George went on to say that, “Studies have shown that honey is harmful to birds, including hummingbirds…and corn syrup is a highly processed sweetener that is not good for humans, let alone birds. Some red dyes can be toxic, and there is danger in feeding any red dye to birds. Also, red dye is entirely unnecessary in hummingbird mixtures, because feeders used for this usually have some red or orange parts to attract the birds.”
I think the gist of what George is trying to say is that people have probably been feeding birds these household items for years and will continue to do so. But, it’s just not necessary and may be harmful, especially considering all of the better options out there for them.
As we know, hindsight is always clearer. So with my new-found knowledge – and the certainty that peanut butter, cereals, and fruit are okay – I think I’ll stick with our Pine Cone Bird Feeders instead.
How To Make Beautiful DIY Bird Seed Feeders
Materials for DIY Bird Seed Feeders:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 4 cups birdseed
- Vegetable oil spray
Directions for DIY Bird Seed Feeders:
Step 1: Mix gelatin with warm water. Set aside. Place all of the other ingredients into one large bowl and pour the water over it. Mix together.
Step 2: Spray vegetable oil on a paper towel to coat the insides of the cookie cutters. This will allow you to remove the ornaments from the cookie cutters more easily.
Step 3: Spread waxed paper over your work area. Then fill the insides of the cookie cutters with birdseed mixture, packing tightly. (We used flower, oval and star shapes.)
Step 4: Poke a drinking straw near the top of each ornament to make a hole for hanging.
Step 5: Carefully remove each ornament from the cookie cutter and set on waxed paper. Place in fridge for 2-3 hours and let them set.
Step 6: Once the ornaments are dry, you can use peanut butter to decorate the rims and insides with other seeds. For example, spread a line of peanut butter around an outside rim, then press thistle onto the rim. Or use peanut butter to create a heart shape atop a circle, and press in thistle and corn kernels.
Step 7: Thread ribbon through the hole, and hang on a tree.
Love birding crafts DIY Bird Seed Feeders? So do we – check out some of our other favorites:
- Recycled Bird Feeder (Made With Egg Cartons)
- Help Backyard Birds Make Nests
- Pipecleaner Bottle Bird Feeders
- Kids Craft: Recycled Bottle Birdfeeders