Making a birdseed wreath can be a festive way to attract birds to your yard this holiday season. This easy-to-make wreath will provide extra calories and nutrition to suet-feeding birds over the long winter months. Chickadees, jays, woodpeckers, and nuthatches love suet and you may attract them to your yard.
This craft is also a perfect activity for children, especially those who appreciate birdwatching and like getting a little messy.
For the wreath, you will need:
- 4 cups birdseed
- ½ cup quick oats
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 cup lard or shortening
- 1 cup nut butter
- Handful of cranberries or raisins
- Cooking spray
- Bundt pan
- Wire hanger
- Ribbon or twine
If you have nut allergies at home, sunflower seed butter works in place of the nut butter as well. Lard can be purchased at a grocery store—look for it next to the shortening in the baking aisle. You can also supplement the lard with beef or bacon drippings. But do not use bacon fat exclusively—too much will be bad for the birds (doesn’t that always seem to be the case?) If you’re vegetarian, oil based shortenings may work too but they may not hold up as long.
Wire hangers from dry cleaners (the kind with the removable paper tube) work best.
First, spray the bundt pan with cooking spray.
Next, add in a layer of cranberries so they are easily visible when you hang your wreath.
Then, twist the wire hanger to fit in the bundt pan. This will help the wreath hold its shape as it is eaten. Remove the wire and set it aside for now.
Mix the oats, cornmeal, and birdseed together in a bowl.
On the stove, melt the lard and nut butter together and stir well.
Pour the stovetop mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Add in a few more cranberries or raisins, if using. Keep in mind too many cranberries can make it hard for the wreath to stick together. Stir until everything is coated.
Press half of the mixture into the bundt pan. Add in the wire. You can leave the handle to stick out as a perch, or twist it in. Pour the remaining mixture on top, and press the mixture together firmly, making sure the wire hanger does not float too far to the top.
Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight to let everything harden.
Once solid, remove the wreath from the pan. If it has frozen through it should pop out with a few thumps. If you left the handle of the wire hanger out, twist it to make an additional perch.
See also: How Do Birds Survive Winter?
Hang the wreath outdoors at a spot you can easily see it from inside. Wide ribbons are best for hanging because they will not cut into the wreath. Decorate with a few sprigs of juniper branches if you have easy access to them.
Enjoy watching your avian neighbors have their own holiday feast. Be sure not to leave suet wreaths out in temperatures above 50 degrees – the fat can go rancid.