Sometimes we forget to feed birds and other wildlife in the winter, which can be precisely when they need it the most because it’s less plentiful in the environment. Why not remedy that by making a valentine for the birds? This very easy project will have you backyard bird-watching in no time. Experiment with different kinds of seeds to see which birds each attracts. Or ask for advice at a plant nursery or pet store. Oil sunflower is a particularly nutritious winter seed that a lot of birds like.
Heart template, optional
2-3 ‘ ribbon or string
½ cup vegetable shortening, peanut or other nut butter, suet or lard (plus, cornmeal or oatmeal, optional)
2 ½ cup mixture of birdseed (chopped nuts, dried fruit, optional)
Small mixing bowl
Plate, shallow dish or pie tin
Spoon or butter knife
Cut a heart out of cardboard, using a template or free-hand.
Poke a hole toward the top and run the string through it. (If using a ribbon, you might want to string it after the mixture has dried a little, using a hole to poke through the hole, as needed.
In mixing bowl, combine peanut butter or other spread with meal, if using.
Spread that mixture over the both sides of the heart with the knife or spoon.
Pour the birdseed and feed ingredients onto the plate.
Place the heart into the seeds.
Hang your valentine from a tree branch or window eave that offers some shelter from wind and weather if possible, as well as a view of visiting birds!
Slow Tip: You can make these with pinecones in the fall. Or use a toilet-paper tube anytime, and either string it up or place it right onto a branch.
Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman