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How to Make a Cookie Cutter Bird Feeder
Bird Feeder Craft
A Fun Bird Feeder Craft
Cookie cutter bird feeders use bird seed with a gelatin binding agent, and are a fun project to do with children throughout the year. These feeders can be formed into simple circles or placed into cookie cutters to create fun shapes to match the season.
Before you begin, here are a few tips:
- Give the gelatin plenty of time to set up, or the bird feeders will fall apart. These feeders must sit for an entire day at room temperature, or will set up in about an hour in a freezer.
- Place the hole (for hanging) in the center of the bird feeder. The first batch of feeders I made had the hole near the top, and the top ripped off because there wasn't enough material to support its weight. Placing two holes in the center is an even better idea, as it allows even weight distribution when hanging the bird feeder.
- Do not mix peanut butter in with the bird seed, or the gelatin will not set appropriately.
- Use twine or cotton yarn to hang the bird feeder - do not use plastic or non-biodegradable material to hang the feeder.
- Do not place the feeder in the rain, as the gelatin binding material may dissolve.
You will need the following materials to make your bird feeder:
- Twine (for hanging)
- Bird seed
- Cooking oil spray
- Unflavored gelatin
- Cookie cutters
- Aluminum Foil
- Straws (to poke a hole in the feeder for hanging)
Bird Feeder Craft PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Place aluminum foil around each cookie cutter - under the bottom and wrapped around the sides. This will keep the wet seed mixture in place.
- Spray the cookie cutters with an all-natural cooking spray. An olive oil spray is a good choice.
- Pour 3 cups of bird seed into a mixing bowl.
- Place two packets of unflavored gelatin (0.50 oz.) in 1/2 cup of cold water. Allow the gelatin to absorb the water.
- Bring 1 3/4 cup water to boil on a stove. Add the gelatin and stir until the mixture is dissolved.
- Pour the dissolved gelatin into the bird seed. Stir and allow the mixture to thicken and cool for about 1/2 hour. If there is an excessive amount of liquid, add more bird seed.
- Pack the gelatin/bird seed mixture into the cookie cutters. The seed mixture will be very loose at first.
- Place a straw into the center of each cookie cutter to create a hole for hanging.
- Let the bird feeders sit overnight until the gelatin is set. Alternatively, place the bird feeders in the freezer for about an hour. I placed my bird feeders outside in freezing weather to help them set up.
- Carefully remove the feeders from the cookie cutters. The gelatin will not be hard, but "squishy" in feel.
- Thread the bird feeder with twine and hang outside for the birds to enjoy.
Quality Bird Seed Mix
This seed mix is over 60% sunflower seeds to increase the number of songbirds to your yard.
Tips on Choosing Bird Seed
Different types of seed will attract different species of birds. The cheap bird seed found in many stores is packed with red milo, a seed favored by pigeons. Milo is inexpensive and used as a "filler" seed by many seed companies.
Black oil sunflower seeds are adored by blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, and many other songbirds. Look for a birdseed mix with a high concentration of this seed. Thistle seed is appreciated by goldfinches and other small birds.
The best seed types for songbirds are: black oil sunflower seed, Nyjer (thistle seed), white proso millet, and sunflower hearts.
Bird Seed Types: Attract Colorful Birds
Sparrows, juncos, finches
High in starch, preferred by small birds
Starlings, quail, and grackles
Preferred by groud-feeding birds
Black oil sunflower seeds
Cardinals, blue jays, juncos, and many other birds
One of the best wild bird seed materials
Pigeons, wild turkeys, and pheasants
Cheap and bulky, used as a filler by many seed companies
Thistle seed (Nyjer)
Goldfinches, siskins, and juncos
The best seed to attract goldfinches
Doves and cardinals
More expensive than sunflower seeds, and not as preferred by birds.
The Night Tree: A Christmas Tradition
A family goes into the night woods to create a special tree for the wild animals that live in the forest.
Yearly Tradition: Christmas Tree for the Birds
A great tradition is to use cookie cutter bird feeders to create a Christmas tree for the local bird population. Read the book The Night Tree, by Eve Bunting to children before doing this craft. In this children's picture book, a family goes out at night to decorate a tree in the woods with popcorn, sunflower seed balls, and tangerines to feed the local wildlife.
Make these bird feeders and bundle up for an evening excursion - either to the woods, or to your favorite tree in the backyard. Children will enjoy watching the local birds (and squirrels, deer, and other local animals) enjoy the "Christmas tree" created just for them.