Make A Wildlife Tree Of Treats!
It doesn't have to be the holidays to trim a tree. Create festive, edible treats for your feathered and furry friends with these fun and easy ideas!
This season, make a treat tree for birds! A treat tree is a great way to view winter wildlife and provide them with the nutrition they need in the cold weather.
If you have a yard with a live evergreen tree invite friends over to help. If not, check with your town to see if you can decorate a tree in a local park, at the entrance to your subdivision, or plan an outing to the countryside.
Location, Location, Location
When searching out a location in the country, the best site to decorate a wildlife tree of treats is near the edge of a forest in an open field. This provides food for both field and forest creatures. The ground around the tree should be free of tall grasses for your safety and theirs.
Edible ornaments can be made a day or two in advance. Keep your edible ornaments in a cool, dry place until ready to hang outdoors. Never use wire hooks to hang edible ornaments for the safety of the animals. This project can get a little sticky and gooey, so if weather permits, make your ornaments outside. Cover your work area with a large tray or cloth.
Edible Ornament Ideas
Here are a few ideas for edible hanging ornaments for your tree of treats:
Popcorn Garland. Thread unseasoned popcorn onto a string or twine using a large needle to make edible popcorn garlands. (You could also add cranberries.)
Molasses and Birdseed Garland. Dip long strands of twine or rope in a bowl of molasses and then into a tray containing birdseed for a partially edible garland.
Popcorn and birdseed balls can be tied to the tree with raffia.
Fresh apples can be attached to the tree with a raffia tied to the fruit’s stem, or cut thick slices and hang through the center.
Shaped Ornaments. Cut the cardboard into small triangles, circles or festive shapes using stencils. Punch a hole near the top and insert a loop of twine for hanging. Cover both sides of each cardboard ornament with a layer of peanut butter, molasses or honey. Sprinkle a mixture of pumpkin seeds, dried breadcrumbs, sunflower seeds, dried corn kernels, and birdseed onto the sticky base.
Cookie Cutter Bird Feeder Ornaments. Coat metal or plastic cookie cutters inside and out with peanut butter or molasses. Place birdseed mix onto a tray. Hold the cookie cutter over the tray and drop birdseed mix onto the coated ornament until completely covered. Loop a strand of twine through each cookie cutter and tie a knot at the top. Hang on the taller branches of any outdoor tree.
Don’t forget the featherless creatures! To complete this fun project, sprinkle a ring of breadcrumbs and edible seeds or dried corn on the ground around the tree for other woodland animals to enjoy.
On decoration day, bring along a warm blanket and a thermos of your favorite hot beverage. Once the tree is decorated, take time to sit and admire your handiwork and the wild birds it attracts.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
Fishing line is dangerous! It is nylon and doesn’t break up easily in the digestive system in it gets injested. I can knot up in their intestines along the way, cause blockages and the animal dies. Very, very dangerous. Also bread crumbs are not good for animals the yeast upsets their stomach. There are some good suggestions but certainly not all of them. Research more before suggesting these.
Fixed! Thank you.
NEVER use fishing line. Fishing line is extremely detrimental for many species and can cause deadly entanglements
Writing as an ornithologist. Please modify this article.
That was the first thing that came to mind when reading that.
Just be extra careful with any type of line or string used for hanging ornaments, many years ago I had a chickadee get tangled in the loose line and did not survive.
Thank you for the suggestion. It’s a good one and we will work on updating this story with some of these precautions. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Peanut butter is not good for birds.
Mike, for starters, I would call the ‘Department of Fish and Wildlife’ located in the State where you live. That said, the only other suggestions I can make are: 1) Set up a motion detection device next to the feeder that is 2-3 feet off the ground. 2) Call the “League of Human Dignity” or some local Church in your area to ask if they know of someone willing to help you hang your feeders? (Btw- Long time ago I was once a ‘Girl Scout’ who needed to earn a really important badge that had to do with offering my assistance to someone needing help within my community. Perhaps you be doing some Scout a favor by allowing them to help you hang your bird feeders…eh? ; )
Best of luck regarding: ‘Mike Vs. The ten point Buck’ endeavor…
PS: Let us know how it all turns out for ya…eh?
Hi Mike, Good luck with the buck. The deer in my area think my bird feeder is a granola bar for them. I have seen deer deterrent in some of the farm and home stores. I have heard ground coffee is a good choice.
Hello, I’m big on leaving all kinds of tests out for the birds! But! I have a problem doing that? I am at war with a ten point buck! He is cleaning out my bird feeders treats that I have around my yard! I live in a small city and I, they will not allow hunting! Some city rule? Being handicap I can’t hang them to high? Any answers on how to chase this deer away?
I really don’t think that you would recommend fishing line ?
Fishing line is deadly to any type of animal, #1 it cannot be digested, and if swallowed by a larger animal (deer, neighborhood dog) choking hazard, if ingested (good possibility due to smell & flavors) the fishing line can cause serious damage to their whole internal intestines (ask a vet).