I love the idea of helping out nature, though living on a lush green Island with rolling hills and meadows, it can be hard to imagine that we need to. But, because here and now we might not need to, doesn’t mean I don’t need to instil a wish to protect our wildlife in my children. At five and three they are perfectly capable of learning how, and now is the time that they are still so full of enthusiasm, so it’s the perfect time to do it.
Recently we’ve been talking about birds and how birds fly, and the different types of birds and all that, so it seemed fitting to make gelatin bird feeders for the garden, though this is something we’d normally do in Autumn. We don’t actually have a garden either, so we’ve just hung them in trees around us.
These bird feeders are made with gelatin, as they last a little longer than for example peanut butter, and gelatin isn’t harmful to the birds – and probably helps their beaks grow stronger too!
We’ve made them in cookie cutters so that we can play with the shapes, and have fun with them. Since we live by the sea, we’ve even had a few ships to hang in the trees.
Tip: Don’t hang them in direct sunlight. If it gets too hot the gelatin begins to melt. Also, press as much together as you can in one shape to hold them tightly together.
How to make gelatin bird feeders:
- To make the birdfeeders, plan on a packet of gelatin (powder) to a cup of bird seed. So if you’re making two cups (500ml) bird seed, add two packets of gelatin and so on.
- Prepare the gelatin to the manufacturers directions, but only add 1 cup of water to one packet of gelatin (250ml water). (Or double if you’re making double) It needs to be thicker than jelly to hold it all together. Once the gelatin has melted, leave it to cool for a couple of minutes, then add in the bird seed. It mustn’t be runny and since your seed may differ to mine, just add more if it’s too wet and liquid.
- Stir in well till all the seed is coated, then scoop in to your waiting shapes.
- We scoop half the amount needed to fill the shape, then add a length of string, before adding in the rest of the seed, so that the string is in the centre when you pull the shape out of the cutter. Press down firmly to compact everything as much as possible, before setting aside overnight to dry.
- Don’t leave in the sun or it may melt again.
- Carefully remove from the cutter, and hang somewhere to enjoy.
Google ‘garden birds’ in your local area and see if you can find a checklist of what you should be able to find in your country. Keep an eye on your bird feeder and see how many local birds you can spot in your garden.
We love the RSPB’s ‘First’ Series of books. They are perfect for small people. And why not turn it into a full experience by using a bird watching kit to really feel like a nature explorer.