Week 37 – It’s Bird Time

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I hope everyone had a great holiday season.  The apprentices had their last segment with Rob down at the studio and talked about how “Christmas is for the birds”.  It’s time to take all of your natural decorations, like your tree, pinecones, raffia, etc. and put it to a good use instead of throwing it out.  It’s that time of year when the seasonal birds and other critters hanging around need a little help when the weather gets cold and snowy.

If you can’t feed the birds, the most important thing is that they have water.  If you don’t have a nice bird bath in your yard you can easily make one out of a saucer on your deck railing or take a saucer or dish and put it on a log or stump.  Water will attract birds to your yard and they need the water to drink and bathe.  A bird has to bathe to stay warm.  A clean bird is a warm bird.  Make sure you keep the bird bath clean and filled with water.  If there is a danger of freezing at night I throw in a small piece of wood in the bird bath.  I have never had a problem with mine cracking from freezing.  Mine is made of cement.  You can also use a bird bath that has a built-in warmer that you can keep plugged in so you don’t have to worry about the water freezing.

You can take the pinecones from your decorations and stuff peanut butter into them and roll them in bird seed and hang them outside on a tree or bush.  You can also make bird seed ornaments from unflavored gelatin and bird seed and put a piece of twine on them and hang them outside.

You can make suet out of lard, oats, cornmeal and peanut butter (and add bird seed if you like) and cut it into blocks and put it into cages or suet feeders and hang them on bushes and trees for a nice treat.  You can use lard or if you are at the grocery store the butcher may have some suet he will give you (the fat cut off the meat).

My favorite suet recipe is lard, peanut butter, oats and cornmeal.  There are a multitude of recipes on-line to make suet.  Just melt the lard, put in the peanut butter, oats and cornmeal.  I put it in sandwich size Tupperware or whatever is available and let it set.  After it has set I cut it into blocks or sometimes mold it into a ball and drop it in a cage (mine is a cylinder shaped wire cage with half-inch squares) and hang it in my lilac bushes.  Everyone loves it including the squirrels (but that is ok with me).

I have a platform feeder I put bird seed in every day and make the suet occasionally.  I take out warm water every morning and melt the water on the bird bath if it’s cold enough to freeze.  This keeps the critters in my backyard happy and healthy.

Happy Gardening and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

To see the apprentices last segment of the year visit:  http://www.9news.com/news/article/370527/188/Proctor-Decorate-your-Christmas-tree-for-the-birds


About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
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