This reader used some creative materials to make her bird treats.
If you enjoy giving our feathered friends special treats, here’s a seedy bouquet you can make with minimal cost using little more than garden discards, which I collect and save all summer, and those free promotional CDs that come in the mail.
Supplies needed are: some of the free CDs, dried flower seed heads, crafting wire, berries, raffia, optional homemade birdseed cakes (see recipe) and dried apple or orange slices.
Birds love dried coneflower heads, black-eyed Susan seeds, sunflower seed heads, holly berries, barberry berries, bittersweet berries, plume grass, wild millet and seed pods from vining plants. I also use dried sweet Annie, artemesia and dried oregano seed stems as a base. This year, we planted two kinds of millet to be sure we had plenty of that material on hand, too.
To make a wreath, first thread a piece of raffia through the center hole in the CD and tie it in a knotted loop; this is for hanging your finished wreath from a tree limb. Wire long-stemmed dried berries or seed heads in a circular fashion around the disc (be sure to clip and tuck-in sharp wire tips). And if you plan to make a solid birdseed cake, leave enough room over the center hole so that the cake will fit into it after you have finished placing the plant and seed materials on the disc.
After wiring the seed stems in place, you can decorate this base with additional dried seed heads, pods, oranges and apples. Some items should be secured with wire, others can be tucked into the base. If you make a cake, secure it with nontoxic glue.
After you have created your treat, hang it on a small tree limb in a favorite viewing location so you can enjoy watching the birds discover and enjoy it. They may even use the raffia for nesting material. After the birds have finished their treat, recycle the disc.
1 package unflavored gelatin
8 tablespoons water
2 cups birdseed
Mix the gelatin with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Let the mixture sit 1 minute. Bring the rest of the water to a boil, add it to the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Mix in the birdseed and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Stir again, repeatedly, until all the liquid is absorbed. Spoon the mixture into a mold sized to fit the center of the CD. Cool at least 3 hours. Invert the mold and tap the bottom to release the cake. Let the cake dry overnight and then glue it to the CD wreath.
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