Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Feast for our Feathered Friends


After making and partaking of so many yummy Christmas treats ourselves, we were inspired by Nancy Tafuri's Counting to Christmas, to share some of the bounty of the season with the birds.

The book is a very simple story about a little girl getting ready for Christmas, mainly for Santa's coming, but also finding ways to share the Christmas joy with others, including the birds, and wild animals around her home.

There are instructions for making sliced fruit ornaments, a popcorn and cranberry garland, and pine cone bird feeders at the back of the book. I thought maybe the younger children might like making pine cone feeders, as we've never done that before (I know, I know, what kind of a terrible mother am I?), but it turned out the older girls were more interested in the project.


We'd heard that peanut butter might be dangerous for birds, so before we started I checked with Cornell University's All About Birds website. It turns out, peanut butter is not only safe (especially in cold climates) for birds, but it's also a good source of fat for them during the winter months.

We opted to mix cornmeal with our peanut butter, to make it grainier, which might make it even safer for small birds, but at the very least added another source of fat to our feeders. Other than that we proceeded pretty much as you might expect, by tying on ribbons for hanging...


...spreading the peanut butter on the pine cones...


...rolling them in birdseed...


...and then tying them outside.


The girls wanted to hang them on the railings of our deck, near to the house, so they can get a good look at the snacking birds.

I'm not sure if we'll have any birds brave enough to come that near, with all the commotion that goes on just inside...


...but I did spot some potential takers eying our offering from the trees behind our house, just after the girls came back inside...


...so we'll see.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

6 comments:

Christy said...

When C and R were toddlers, we had a window feeder on our sliding glass door. With three kids and two dogs, I never thought we would see birds, but they came all the time!

I can't believe you hadn't made these before!!!

Debbie said...

I remember making those with my older children.

Janet said...

Have you read Night Tree by Eve Bunting??? We read that one and then make similar treasures for our feathered friends!!! So fun!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Janet - No, I haven't seen that one, but it sounds good!

Rachel said...

This is such a lovely activity. We have so many birds around here, I'm sure the children and birds would both enjoy this activity....now just need to figure out how to get birdseed from around here. Maybe sesame seeds and dry rice will work?

Raising a Happy Child said...

We read that book a few years ago. As you can imagine, birds are not exactly starving here in winter months, but this pinecone feeder sounds much better than cheerio strings.