We love to take Maker Monday outdoors with projects, such as these Bird Seed Cakes. These decorative bird feeders hang outdoors on tree branches, offering delicious snacks for birds that stick around all winter long. It is so much fun to peek out the window and see which birds show up for a nibble.
Visit the Audubon Society’s Guide to North American Birds or download the Audubon Guide Bird App to learn more about the visiting birds. You can make a chart and keep track of the birds who dine on your ornament bird seed feeder. Pay attention to the location of the most popular ornaments. Are they more attracted to ornaments hanging under cover or out in the open? Do they feed more in freezing weather or on sunny days? Which birds feed most often?
Your journal will help you recognize backyard feeding trends and offer a fun way to learn about natural science.
½ cup water
2 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons corn syrup, light or dark
¾ cup flour
4 cups wild bird seed mix
Nonstick spray or shortening
Parchment paper, waxed paper, or non-stick aluminum foil
Drinking straws, cut into pieces about 2 inches long
String, yarn or ribbon
Cookie cutters (optional)
Spread a sheet of parchment paper, waxed paper, or non-stick aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. Spray the inside of the cookie cutters (if using) with non-stick spray or grease with shortening.
Mix the flour and bird seed in a large bowl until well combined.
Microwave the water in a glass Pyrex measuring cup for 30 seconds until heated, but not boiling. Stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Add the corn syrup and stir. Slowly pour the liquid into the seed mixture, stirring with a large spoon until well mixed into a thick form.
The seed mixture will be sticky to work with, so spray hands with non-stick spray or grease with shortening. Push the seed mixture into the cookie cutters, pressing until it is compacted. Or mold with your hands into a circle. Push a piece of the straw into the cake, piercing through, to make a hole for the string. Aim for the center of your cake so it will not break off.
Carefully remove the ornament from the cookie cutter, wiggling a bit until loose. Reshape edges by hand as needed. Place on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the bird seed mixture. Continue to spray or grease hands and cookies cutters as you go.
Dry overnight in the refrigerator. Clip the straw overhang to the edge of the cakes. Thread the straw with a length of string, ribbon or yarn and tie off.
Your Bird Seed Cakes are ready for outdoor hanging!
For more Maker Monday projects and other fun stuff for kids, visit the Kidsburgh Activities page.