On the coldest days here in Wisconsin, I look out the window onto our backyard and watch the wild birds with wonder. It's freezing out there, and yet they are perched on tree branches, power lines, and on fence posts. We're lucky, we have a wide variety of feathered visitors in the winter months. Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Juncos, Downey Woodpeckers, Black Crows, Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Starlings, and the occasional Cooper's Hawk.
We have lots of wildflower seed heads in our faded garden for the birds to eat, a pair of juniper bushes, and a young crabapple tree, but until our garden matures, we put out feeders in the winter months to supplement that, especially when its bitterly cold. We have two very tall and large evergreen trees in our backyard, which offer great shelter for the birds as well.
We put out black oil sunflower seed for the birds, but since the squirrels tend to make a feast of it, we started including safflower seed cylinders. The squirrels don't care for the safflower, so they tend to leave them alone. The finches, nuthatches, and woodpeckers especially love the safflower, and the cylinders hang nicely and tend to last a while. Super handy when the weather is brisk and snowy.
Back around the holidays I kept seeing birdseed ornament ideas popping up on my Pinterest feed. So cute!! These are often made with gelatin or suet. But then I saw another option made using ice molds. Artsy, photo friendly, and less messy, in my opinion. So I decided to try making some to hang in our backyard as an extra treat for our visitors. Using silicone molds, and a variety of fresh fruits and seed mix, I made up a batch of heart shaped feeders. And they turned out!
To Make These You Will Need:
Silicone Mold (I used 4, 6-pc molds)
Fruit: Fresh fruit is best, frozen next best thing.
I used: 1 fresh orange, sliced and then in quarters
Fresh raspberries - half pint, sliced
Fresh blueberries - half pint
Wild bird seed mix - including black oil sunflower seeds, etc. Approx. two-three cups
*Note: you can vary the fruits, but be sure any fruits are pitted, and fresh or frozen
Roll of natural twine for hanging
To Do: Layer in seed to cover bottom of mold
Layer in each fruit: orange, raspberry, blueberry (or fruit of your choice)
Sprinkle a small covering of seed over the top of the fruits
Fill in each mold with fresh water
Cut equal numbers of twine, make significant knot at the end, place knot in mold
Put on cookie sheet or similar, and place Outside or in Garage to freeze
When frozen remove from silicone mold and hang on bushes, trees, shepherd hooks, etc.
Making these little feeders was a great way to add a bit of creativity to a cold winter day, with the added bonus of feeding local wildlife, and providing something fun to photograph in the outdoors as well.
I had enough of these to scatter them throughout the yard, and give a few away. I even took a couple along on a local nature walk and left them for our woodland friends.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.