I’m guessing that by now your Christmas tree is up and it is sparkling and twinkling with plenty of festive cheer, but what about the trees in your gardens? Here are some ideas to help brighten up your outdoor trees a little and give your local birds a Christmas treat too. They may not glisten as much as your indoor tree, but the birds will be thankful for them. It is important to feed birds all year round but particularly in the winter when their food is more scarce, so this is a win win situation, beautiful trees and happy birds! It is also a great activity for children on the rainy school holiday days. I have to thank the RSPB for their ideas, there are loads of ideas out there if you search but these excited me most.
This is super simple and brilliantly messy! Simply mix birdseed and lard together and shape. We used 1 pack of lard and approx 300g birdseed, put both into a bowl and squished it together with our hands until it was evenly mixed. We then added some food dye (it won’t harm the birds) to brighten things a little. We added red (because that was what we had in the cupboard) and in hindsight it does look a bit like minced meat but I think it still works! Why not try multiple colours to really brighten things up. Once things are mixed, roll it out to approx 2cm thick, cut out your shapes and use a stick to make a small hole for the string. We also made balls to be like baubles. Place them all on a tray and cool for a few hours before adding the string and hanging out.
My daughter loves threading activities, so this was perfect for her, I also found it very therapeutic! We used cranberries and monkey nuts but most fruits can be used chopped into pieces. Grab a needle and thread and simply start threading until it is the length you would like it to be. If you are a little paranoid about small children and sharp needles like I was then get your child to push the needle down through the fruit onto a chopping board, this is what we did and we managed to do the whole string without injury. Make sure you leave enough thread at each end to tie the string onto a branch.
Oranges are part of Christmas-the smell, in decorations and for me a stocking would not be complete without an orange at the bottom. So let the birds enjoy them too. Cut a large orange in half and scoop out the middles. Find 2 thin sticks for the perches and poke them through the orange near the edges. Stuff the oranges with some of the bauble mix from earlier, add some string to hang and ….ta da, you are done!
3 Simple activities that children will love to make and the birds will love to eat.
When hanging them, find a spot that is not too far from shelter (trees/ shrubs) so the birds feel more comfortable when visiting. If you have feeders already then that would be a great spot. Don’t be discouraged if the birds don’t visit straight away, it may take a while for them to get used to them, but when they do, it’s wonderful to watch a bit of wildlife from your own home.
If you don’t have a garden why not decorate your local park or woodland.
Merry Christmas everyone, don’t forget to get out and have some outdoorsy fun over the festive season!