My family’s holiday traditions include decorating a living tree with treats for the birds. This year’s tree was decorated with a cranberry garland, popcorn garland, peanut garland, and birdseed. Here are some more ideas for winter bird feeding.
Working with the girls to create the garlands was a great holiday activity. We try to focus on the spirit of giving, and this activity fits right in. Both the time spent creating the edible decorations, and the physical trip to decorate the tree turned out to be positive family experiences. I was surprised how interested in participating the girls were. They really stuck with the project. My nearly four-year-old spent nearly an hour stringing cranberries. My six-year-old carefully created elaborate patterns. The trip out back in the snow went just as well. It was cold, but they were very excited about their christmas gift to the animals.
– Unsalted, Raw, In Shell Peanuts
– Popped Popcorn
– String (Birds get caught in fishing line so it is not a good choice.)
– Needle (After some experimentation I have found yarn needles in a few different sizes work well.)
It takes a fair amount of time to string any of these materials, but the popcorn is particularly tedious. It works better with a smaller needle. Our popcorn served mostly as a snack for the little critters building the garlands! The peanuts take a little more pressure to string. Cranberries go on very easily. Using larger yarn needles with blunt ends (larger for the peanuts, and smaller for the popcorn) was particularly helpful.
Unless your tree is very small, it takes a lot of garlands to fully cover the tree. Our tree was a little sparse and next year I hope to have a few more garlands put together. I also plan to use dried apple slices, and birdseed suet treats.
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