Everyone loves seeing birds flitting between feeders in their backyard. Feeders help attract any number of birds to your home, and the pastime of birdwatching can prove to be quite rewarding! If you're a fan of crafts, and would like to attract birds to your yard, you can make a natural bird feeder with unflavored gelatin.
Is Gelatin Safe for Birds?
The very first consideration when feeding birds is to make sure what you're providing is safe for them to eat. You would never want to harm your feathered friends, so it's always a good rule of thumb to make sure any food you feed them is safe.
While there isn't extensive research on the impact of gelatin on birds, there are a few things to consider on the topic. First, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommends gelatin in homemade bird feeder recipes, which indicates that gelatin is safe to use for birds. With that in mind, it's important that you only use unflavored gelatin, as high volumes of sugar can prove dangerous or even deadly to birds.
How Do You Make Bird Seed Balls With Gelatin?
Things You'll Need
- Unflavored gelatin
- Round molds or cookie cutters
- String (optional)
- Skewer (optional)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
Empty one package of unflavored gelatin into a mixing bowl, add two tablespoons of cold water and mix. After letting the mixture sit for one minute, add 1/3 cup of boiling water to the mixture and stir swiftly until dissolved – preferably with a whisk.
Add two cups of birdseed to the gelatin mixture and mix thoroughly.
Prepare a tray lined with parchment paper – cookie sheets work well for this purpose. Spray whatever you are using to shape your bird feeders (cookie cutters or round molds) with nonstick cooking spray so it's easy to remove the gelatin mixture.
Fill the molds or cookie cutters with the gelatin mixture and pack firmly. If you are creating ornaments or otherwise using string to hold your bird feeders up, you should use your skewers to poke a hole through the mixture now. Leave the mixture inside the cookie cutter or the mold so that it will set in that shape.
Move your molds filled with the gelatin mixture into the refrigerator. Allow them to set for at least three hours; preferably overnight. Once your molds have set you are ready to remove them, put the string through them if desired, and place them outside. If you've prepared them with a string or as an ornament, you can hang them from tree branches. If you've prepared them without a string, you can place them on a dish in a high spot so the birds will be safe from cats or other terrestrial predators.
Other DIY Bird Feeder Projects
Though the above bird feeders are certainly a fun craft, they do require an adult's help to make because the gelatin requires boiling water. So, how do you make birdseed blocks without gelatin? You can make a simple DIY bird feeder with peanut butter, birdseed, a few good-sized pinecones and a string to hang them up with.
Remove any debris that might be stuck to the pinecone, and tie your string to the pinecone prior to applying the peanut butter so you don't make as much of a mess! Using a butter knife, carefully apply peanut butter all over the pinecone. Those with peanut allergies can use shortening in place of peanut butter.
With your slathered pinecone on a tray of some kind for easy cleaning, gently pour birdseed over the top of it. Roll the pinecone through the birdseed that collects on the bottom of the tray until it is thoroughly covered. Then place your pinecone outside and let the birds enjoy!
About the Author
Marina Somma is a freelance writer and animal trainer. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology & Policy from Monmouth University. Marina has worked with a number of publications involving animal science, behavior and training, including animals.net, SmallDogsAcademy and more.