As well as helping birds survive the winter by providing them with the energy boost they need, upcycling your Christmas tree into a bird feeder is a great way to create a beautiful outdoor centre piece to brighten the long month of January.
Earlier this month, Matt Baker created a clever bird food Christmas tree in his garden, stringing a variety of delicious homemade bird treats onto a bush. Now you can do the same with your Christmas tree. Here's how...
1. Choose a spot in the garden
Firstly, you'll want to find the perfect spot in your garden to put your Christmas tree. When considering its place, think about whether you'll want to see it from a window and how easily birds will be able to access it (for example, the middle of your garden may be better than close to a fence).
2. Secure your tree
Stop your tree from toppling over by using a secure base. You can use a traditional steel Christmas tree base or, alternatively, make your own by cutting planks of wood into an 'X' shape.
Top tip: Make sure your base is wide, putting as much weight on it as possible. You'll want to be certain it can withstand a windy day.
3. Make edible ornaments for the birds
Give garden birds a reason to visit by hanging delicious edible ornaments and treats from the tree's branches. During the colder months, food supplies for birds can run scarce, so packing your tree with extra nourishment will be a great help.
Some of the things you can consider hanging include:
Fat balls (you can make your own or purchase these pre-made)
Fruit (such as citrus fruits, apple or banana slices)
Peanuts (without their shells)
Bags of mixed seed
Roast potatoes (cut these up and hang with jute string)
You can either place the items straight onto the branches of the trees, or, if you're feeling creative, have a go at making them into decorations. To make a decoration entirely out of bird seed, dissolve gelatin in hot water and mix with syrup and flour. Then, add the bird seed mix and fill them into muffin tins half way.
Form a loop out of ribbon, pop the ends in the muffin tin and then top up with the remaining mixture. Place in the fridge overnight and they should be hard by the morning. Simply hang on your tree and you'll have tasty decorations for the birds to enjoy.
4. Decorate your tree
Once you have decided on what you'd like to hang on your tree, all that's left to do is decorate. Remember to space the food supplies out evenly so that there is enough room for all of the birds to reach them. Sit back and watch your garden visitors enjoy!
More advice on what to feed birds during winter:
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