Now that the holiday season is over, it’s time to start taking down the lights and decorations that adorn our trees and shrubs. Soon we will be left with nothing but bare branches until the leaves come in during the spring, left with nothing to do until the all-important tree maintenance season. Wouldn’t it be nice to fill that empty space with something beautiful and beneficial to local wildlife? Consider swapping out those holiday ornaments for some tasty bird snacks that look great and are definitely fun to make!
Remember sitting at home on those chilly winter evenings stringing popcorn garland to adorn the tree? Well, that favorite family activity can be adapted to entice all kinds of winter birds to your yard. These attractive and nutritious decorations simply require threading your standard unsalted popcorn through a string of raffia with a large needle. Raffia is attractive and durable, but also safe for birds to peck. To make the popcorn more appealing, you can roll the kernels in peanut butter and coat with all-natural wild bird feed, or even tie sprays of millet for a more ornamental approach.
This one takes inspiration from the decorative bulbs often hung on holiday trees. Spruce up your hedges with pinecones rolled in black sunflower, corn, millet seed, and safflower for a colorful outdoor ornament. Remember to hang any decoration with raffia, which will degrade over time unlike fishing wire which presents an entanglement hazard. If you want to get creative, hang festive looking apple rings for color, or hollowed out half oranges filled with unsalted peanuts.
Anything that is safe for birds to eat can be smeared with peanut butter and covered in quality birdseed. This may include stale bagels and grapes that have gone past their prime. To really spice up your gorgeous trees, add sections of winterberry, staff vine, and holly sprigs. Birds will seek out anything fresh and full of moisture- since water is much harder to come by in the winter than food is. Regardless, your outdoor visitors will absolutely love livening up your property with the cheerful chirping of full bellies!