Lincoln, Nebraska has got quite a bit of snow lately . The other morning I got up early to workout, and when I finished I just didn’t want to leave the house. So I was sitting at the kitchen table and I couldn’t help but notice all these birds outside, okay they were hardly songbirds, mostly crows, but there were maybe 20-30 HUGE crows outside sitting on the garden fence. I couldn’t help but feeling a little bad for them, since it was snowing very heavily outside. We had some old bread in the freezer that has probably been there a year, too far gone for us to eat, but I though maybe the crows would eat them. So I braved the cold and snow for just a little bit to throw some food for the birds. I came back in and before I got all my boots, gloves, and hat off, there were already crows digging through the snow trying to get their share of the bread. It was quite an interesting sight. I just stood out in the laundry room watching out the window for probably 20 minutes. It was so fascinating to watch them, and all I was looking at were crows. After awhile I noticed other birds were starting to gather around. I saw Chickadees, Cardinals, and lots of Blue Jays.
Well, I was in perfect timing because February is National Bird Feeding Month. Now I would not suggest regularly feeding the birds out your window bread. It is just not the most nutritional food, plus there are so many cool kids/family activities to do with bird seed! One idea is to make homemade bird suet, and shape them into cookie cutters, then hang them outside and watch the birds flock to them.
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup birdseed (Seed for small birds works great.)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 small envelope of Knox gelatine
- twine or string
- cookie cutters or mason jar lids
- wax paper
Step 1: Mix together the envelope of gelatine with 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer while stirring. Continue stirring until the gelatine is dissolved, then remove from heat and cool for a minute. Stir in the bird seed, adding a little more if there is liquid still in the bottom of the pan.
Step 2: Lay the cookie cutter on the wax paper, and fill half way with the bird seed mixture.
Step 3: Cut your twine, knot the end and push the knot down into your birdseed. Then continue filling with bird seed, covering the end of your twine and knot. Push the bird seed evenly into the cookie cutter until it’s full.
Step 4: Let them sit overnight to be sure they set. When it comes time to take the suet out of the mold, be careful to push them out slowly so you don’t lose any pieces!
Step 5: Hang your birdseed shape somewhere where you can observe birds coming to it. Record your findings, and start your own Life List from birds right in your backyard.
For more information on birds, and bird activities head to projectbeak.org