Holiday Tweets for the Birds

Celebrating the Seasons

These "tweets" will keep birds in your yard during the winter months.

Holiday Tweets for the Birds

When winter sets in, food becomes scarce for our feathered friends. Why not dress up the season with these beautiful edible ornaments. The birds will love these gourmet gifts, and you'll love the extra activity these holiday "tweets" will bring to your backyard.

What you need:

  • Suet (from the butcher)
  • Cornmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Ice cream cones (sugar cones)
  • A variety of nuts and dried fruits such as dried cranberries, peanuts, millet, and dried corn
  • Birdseed (black-oil sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, etc.)
  • Oranges, lemons, cut in half with flesh scooped out
  • Large bowl and spoon
  • Cookie cutters
  • Small piece of bamboo, or other dowel
  • Raffia

Gather all your supplies before making these three treats.

Suet Cones

Place suet in a glass bowl and microwave until melted. Mix together three parts melted suet with two to four parts cornmeal and one part peanut butter. Allow the mixture to harden. It should be firm, yet easy to mold.

In the meantime, cut a bamboo or wooden skewer 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Tie a 6- to 8-inch piece of raffia to the bamboo or skewer, and tie a knot on one end to make a hanging loop.

Shape a ball of mixed suet around the wooden skewer, leaving the loop of raffia hanging from the top. The finished ball should be about the size of a tennis ball.

Roll the suet ball in seeds and embellish it with dried fruit, nuts, and corn. Firmly insert the ball into a cone so the ball stays securely in place. Place the cone in a water glass so it stands upright, and chill in the refrigerator for two to three hours or until the suet has hardened. Hang the cones from tree branches. (The suet will not melt as long as temperatures are below 70° F.)

Citrus fruit shells make great suet holders.

Fruit cups

Cut the citrus in half and scoop out the flesh. Push a skewer through the rind about 1/4 inch below the top edge of the cup. Add a second one perpendicular to the first. Tie raffia to the skewers, knotting it by the rind. Gather the loose ends of the raffia and knot to make a hanger. Pack the cup with the suet mixture from above, mounding it on top, and decorate with seeds, fruits, and nuts.

Once the suet is refrigerated it will act as glue and hold the dowel in place.

Cookie Cutter Shapes

You can also use cookie cutters to create fun shapes. Cut a dowel to fit the width of the cookie cutter, and tie a raffia hanger to the center of the dowel. Press the cookie cutter into hard suet and depress the dowel into the suet. Decorate with dried fruits and nuts. Place suet-filled cookie cutters in the refrigerator to harden (two to three hours). Carefully remove the suet from the cookie cutter and hang the decoration from a branch.

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