In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to make these beautiful birdseed ornaments. These ornaments will keep your backyard birds happy so you can sit and enjoy them.
If you read in my previous bird activity post you know we have a college of Cardinals that spend time in our yard. A college is a name for a group of cardinals in case you didn’t know. I sure didn’t. We have been learning a lot about birds the last few weeks and I have had this giant bag of birdseed sitting in my cupboard since the beginning of summer so I thought we could make something with it.
The end of winter is the perfect time to make these birdseed ornaments because the birds have been using up all of their resources. We also have a bunch of squirrels in our yard that have benefitted from these because I placed one on too thin of a branch and the squirrels immediately ate them. They were still fun to watch. I have yet to get a photo of the birds. They are too fast and immediately leave the second I approach our door.
How to make Birdseed Ornaments
I have tried a bunch of different ways to make these in the last few weeks and I think I finally nailed down the perfect recipe. First, place 8ish mason jar rings on a foiled cookie sheet. You can grease these if you like. I have greased them and I have not greased them. They come out just fine not greasing them. If you decide to use cookie cutters with a lot of detail I highly recommend greasing them. We tried a Santa cookie cutter. It was difficult to take out and ended up falling apart.
To make the mixture you are going to take 4 packets of unflavored gelatin and mix it in 1 cup of water until it is dissolved. I used the Knox brand from Walmart but you can use any unflavored gelatin. From there you are going to pour the mixture into a pot and heat it on medium stirring consistently. Just heat the mixture until it is hot. You do not need to boil the mixture.
Once the mixture is hot remove the pan from the heat and pour in 4 cups of birdseed and stir until combined. Next, you are going to take the mixture and scoop it into the mason jar rings. Use a spoon to pack in the birdseed. Don’t try to use your hands. It will just stick to them. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect any extra bits of birdseed will fall off. Make sure you poke a hole for the string to go through. I found that putting a hole at the top makes the birdseed ornament spin when a bird is trying to eat it so I like to put it in middle.
Now you are going to let them sit for a few hours on your counter or in the fridge so they can set up. Once they are set you can gently pop them out of the ring. If I am hanging them on a branch I like to make my string on the shorter side so the bird can more easily eat while sitting on the branch. After observation, I found it was difficult for them to eat when the string was long because it would spin. Lastly, hang them where ever you would like and enjoy them!
I haven’t tried storing these but after reading about how long gelatin lasts I’d say it’s safe to store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I read to consume within 7 days for humans so I would think it can last a little longer for the birds.
- 1 box (4 packets) unflavored gelatin-I used Knox brand but any brand will do
- 4 cups of birdseed
- 1 cup of water
- 8 Wide-mouth mason jar rings
- Ribbon or string
- Place Mason jar rings down on a flat piece of foil
- Pour 4 packets of unflavored gelatin and one cup of cool water into a pot and mix until it is combined
- Heat the gelatin water mixture on the stove until hot. Mix consistently. You do not need to boil it. The consistency will become thinner and may bubble.
- Once heated, remove from heat and add in 4 cups of birdseed and mix until combined
- Scoop the mixture into the mason jar and pat it down with a spoon
- Create a hole for the string
- Allow to set for a few hours on the counter or in the fridge
- Once they are set gently pop them out and tie a ribbon or string on it and hang it.
Is gelatin safe for birds?
Yes, unflavored gelatin is safe for birds. (source Cornell University recommends it in their recipe)
What else can you add to the birdseed ornaments?
- Plain dried fruits
- Peanut butter- I actually melted some natural peanut butter into one of the batches. It came out but I think that recipe could be better.
- Cracked corn
Notes on making the birdseed ornaments
- Use detailed cookie cutters with caution. We tried a few like a Santa hat and a Santa cookie cutter and they ended up falling apart when we tried to take them out. I think simple shapes like hearts and stars will do just fine.
- You can try adding peanut butter to the recipe. I did one batch with half a cup of melted peanut butter. They came out but I’m not super confident with the recipe yet. If you try this out I’d love to hear if it worked!
- These may melt if it is hot outside. I haven’t tried it yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
- You can use any kind of birdseed. I just used what I found at Walmart.
- Make sure you place them on a high thin branch so the squirrels can’t reach them.
- You can store these in the fridge for a few weeks.
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How to Make a Dried Fruit Garland
Love this! And the photography is so well done!
We put our Christmas tree out in the yard after Christmas to decorate for the birds. We totally need to make these!
That is such a great idea!
Felicia Graves says
I love this. I want to make these with my kids now. 🙂