Saturday, April 13, 2013

Can I Attract A Baltimore Oriole?

I decided to become more diligent in feeding the birds through out the year.  I'm hoping to attract Baltimore Orioles this year.  Since I've never seen any in my area, I did a little research.  Oranges and grape jelly are favorites for these beautiful birds.  The Oriole is the Maryland state bird.  I'm across the Maryland line, about 20 minutes, so the chances of me being able to attract them seem favorable. 

I love homemade items, so I decided to make a feeder until I can find one that I like.  The feeder that I made is simple.  Disregard the peppers in the background.  They will soon be turned into pepper flakes.   You will need the following items.   

  • wire hanger
  • 1 orange
  • yellow or orange ribbon
  • *grape jelly (optional)
Bend your hanger until it looks like S.  Cut the end with a pair of wire cutters, and spread the 2 pieces apart.  Cut the orange into slices.  Cut a wedge out of each slice.  You will use the smaller pieces for spacers.  Alternate an orange slice and than a spacer.  You can smear grape jelly on the orange slices too.  Spread them apart as much as you can, so the bird can perch and enjoy the treat. Tie on your ribbon and hang in a spot where you can bird watch.  Try placing the feeder where the bird can perch from another branch and reach the slices if you're unable to get enough space between the slice.  You can rearrange them once you hang the feeder if necessary.  Refrigerate extra slices.  Slices should be checked every 2 - 3 days and changed if they dry out or start becoming moldy.   

Things are sprouting from my winter sowing.  Not as much as I would have liked, but I did have some success.  These are Velvet Queen sunflowers that need to be repotted.  For some reason, I placed more than 1 seed in the jug.  I added 3 of them to other jugs last night and put them back on the deck.  They look healthy.  I have 8 that have germinated so far.  This is the most success that I've had with my sunflowers.  The last 2 seasons I have tried to direct sow without success.  I guess the birds enjoyed the seeds, hehe.  I've tried sowing Lemon Queen and Mexican seeds along with the Velvet Queen.  The Lemon Queen is doing well, not so much with the Mexican.  I may try to germinate a few inside if I can find space.  Now there's a challenge.   The Dahlias started out on a good note, but have fizzled out.   I have lettuce, dill and bush beans that seem to be doing pretty good.  Nothing from the tomatoes.  Thank goodness, I started some inside.

Are you a bird watcher?  What's your favorite birds?  What's happening in your garden?  Leave a comment and I'll stop by.  Happy Gardening!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bird Seed Cookies

Spring is here, finally!  Feathered friends will be hunting for food, so my grandchildren and I spent this week-end making cookies for the birds.  Don't they look adorable hanging from the trees. 

I thought you would love the recipe to make these treats for your backyard friends too.  Here's what you will need:

  • 3/4 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 TBS Karo corn syrup
  • 4 cups of wild birdseed
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wax paper or non-stick spray
  • Cookie Sheet
  • cookie cutters

Put all of the ingredients in a bowl except bird seed and mix until well combined.  Mix in  birdseed.  Spray your cookie sheet with the non-stick spray or line with the wax paper.  Spread the bird feed evenly on the cookie sheet.  Use the cutters to cut out shapes.  You may find it easier to fill the cookie cutters by the spoonful.   Fill the cutters completely and pack down, so they will be nice and thick.   

                                                     My grandson mixing the ingredients

                                           My 1 year old granddaughter wanted to mix too

We used a birdhouse, bird and the sun cookie cutters to create the treats.  Use whatever you have on hand that the kids will enjoy using.  Once the cookies are created, use a straw to make a hole at the top of each cookie.  Allow the treats to harden over night.  Once the cookies become hard, place twine through the hole of each cookie.  Place them on tree branches and bushes, and go bird watching.  My grandson thinks the cookies are cool, and enjoys watching the birds eat the treats through the windows.   

This is a fun craft to make throughout the year and especially on rainy days.  Get the kids involved in gardening and nature.  Be sure to make extra, you can keep them in the freezer and use them to feed our feathered friends throughout the year.   Does anyone know the species of the bird in the top photos?