Decorative Bird Treats

Decorative Bird Treats

Part of Ep. 202 Winter Garden Projects

Professional gardener Tibbi Light talks about creating decorative bird treats that brighten winter landscape and attract birds to your yard.

Premiere date: Nov 30, 1993

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Well this segment is strictly for the birds. While there's many animals you may not want in your backyard, birds are always welcome visitors in a winter landscape. With me is professional gardener, Tibbi Light. And Tibbi is going to show us some of the ornaments she's made for the birds. Tibbi, what've we got here?

Tibbi:
Well hi, Shelley. What we've got here is a collection of materials that we've gathered from the neighboring yards and gardens in the area. And we're starting with a sunflower seed head. A lot of creatures like those. And we took a wire, poked it through it and used it to hang it.

Shelley:
So, it just hangs, alright.

Tibbi:
Yeah, and then what we did was we found some Washington Hawthorn berries, which is from the Hawthorn trees which are grown ornamentally. You can find them in people's yards all over.

Shelley:
Well, and the berries stay on the trees all winter long, too. So, they're really pretty just on the trees.

Tibbi:
Right, yeah and the birds don't care if they're on the tree or on your decorations so they enjoy it.

Shelley:
Well, now this is sorghum and this is what they use to make sorghum molasses out of. I grew it in my backyard just to experiment with this last year and you plant the seed about the same time you plant corn and up come these really pretty seed heads and the birds seem to just love it. Plus, they're really nice to look at.

Tibbi:
That's great, Shelley.

Shelley:
Oh, now here we have a stick on a chain.

Tibbi:
Right, this is a piece of wood that we got and we put a chain on the top to hang it from and we drilled holes into it and into the holes we put suet which we've lightly warmed and then you can squish it in. And into that suet you can put dried fruit or nuts or seeds or any little goody that you know a bird would really enjoy to eat.

Shelley:
Well, the dried fruit I know is a favorite in my yard. Well, it looks like then you've added some pirches here, but then you've also got a natural perch for the bird.

Tibbi:
Isn't that lovely, yeah. That is right there.

Shelley:
And now this I recognize. This is Highbush Cranberry. It's a native Wisconsin shrub. In fact, I have it growing in my backyard. The Cardinals seem particularly attracted to that. And you've got some other berries. That looks like rosehips and hawthorn again. Now what's this here?

Tibbi:
Well, that's a little thing we cooked up, Shelley. We call them nutcups. This is the top of an acorn from an oak tree. The acorn's fallen off and now we have this empty acorn cap which is just perfect for a little serving of a little goody for a bird.

Shelley:
So bird hors d'oeuvres.

Tibbi:
Bird hors d'oeuvres, right!

Shelley:
Alright, oh and you've put in dried cherries again and some suet.

Tibbi:
Suet and nuts, you could put in peanut butters or little seeds, whatever you notice they really like to eat.

Shelley:
And then you attach them to another log like this. Now this one we wouldn't have to drill a hole because we could just put the suet in the natural cavities.

Tibbi:
Yeah, yeah. It's fun to look for things that have natural holes like that.

Shelley:
So just add a chain and a few more decorations and we're ready to hang this one. Well, let's look at the wreath you made, too.

Tibbi:
Well, this is a wreath we made, Shelley, from grape twigs and you can either make it yourself or buy them from the garden centers already made. Then onto this, what we did is we put this crabapple vine. And I cut twigs from the crabapple tree and just wired them on. Laced them through and wired them down.

Shelley:
Well now, the Cedar Waxwing seem to really like a lot of the crabapples.

Tibbi:
Yeah, they enjoy eating these quite a bit.

Shelley:
Well now, I recognize this. This is Bittersweet. In my yard, it seems to attract bluebirds, but much later in the winter.

Tibbi:
Wow, you're so lucky to have them. Yeah, it's nice to put this out later on when they come back. It'll give them a nice treat to start in on.

Shelley:
So, February, March maybe, to hang this kind of wreath. Well now, here I see the nutcups again. And then this is a sunflower head. Now the ones on my yard seem to attract Goldfinches. They just go crazy over these little sunflowers.

Tibbi:
Well, that's such a nice way to look at it because you look out your window, you see they really like to eat something, then you know that that's something that you can either put on your wreath or grow in your garden to feed them further.

Shelley:
You can actually plan to plant it and then use it for decorations, as well. OK, what's this?

Tibbi:
These are bergamont seed heads or Bee-balm and these I think are the juncos.

Shelley:
Yes, I have them in my yard, yeah. I have them planted outside my window and I don't dead-head them and the birds sit out there all winter. And now this is Purple Coneflower. I know the finches are really fans of this one. Can you show us how you you wire something to this wreath?

Tibbi:
Yeah, what you do, Shelley, is you take your material and you literally just wedge it in there and you'll find it kind of sticks and I take a piece of wire and I just tack it around that piece and tie it down tightly so that the winter winds and the little scrambling of the animals don't break it off for you.

Shelley:
Now that's florist wire, so it doesn't show up too much.

Tibbi:
Yeah, you can get that at most craft shops

Shelley:
Well, this looks like it was really fun to make.

Tibbi:
It was a lot of fun to make on a cold winter day, Shelley.

Shelley:
Well, thank you, Tibbi.

Tibbi:
Thank you.

Shelley:
This would make a great gift for bird lovers and for the birds in your backyard.

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