FEATHERED FRIENDS OF YOUR FELINES
Christmas is not just a time for humans. It’s also a time to remember our pets and all of God’s creatures, great and small.
In Southern places, Christmas heralds the beginning of Winter.
In Northern locales it falls in an already established long, cold and blistery period. In areas between the two, Christmas signals the middle of Winter.
Wherever you live, this is a time to help our wildlife neighbors in their foraging for food. Those who live in the country have an abundance of wild critters around them. Those in the cities, less.
Find out what animals live in your vicinity and during the holiday season spread some food around that will help nurture them. Make it YOUR present to them!
Everyone has birds, no matter where you live. Various seeds are their staples and here are some ways to make tasty and nourishing hanging treats for them.
Find a nice tree in your yard, preferably by a window. This way your cats can watch their feathered friends as they flit around the tree. You can choose an evergreen or a deciduous one. Either will make a great outdoor Christmas tree for your birds.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
Rice cakes, plain
Ice cream cones, wafer style
As for quantities, I used half a 28 oz. jar of crunchy peanut butter, 1 regular bag of rice cakes, a box of 12 cones, 5 suet cakes and a bag of cranberries. As for popcorn I just air popped a big bowl full and used it until ended. Pop your own corn from plain kernels. Do not use the pre-packed microwave bags or the packaged foil stove top ones. These all have preservatives and chemicals which would be harmful for birds. You can air pop corn kernels in a microwave using a closed container or a paper bag taped shut.
1-First cut up the rice cakes into shapes. Leave some whole. Run a needle and thread through the top of each one and tie both ends leaving about a 2+” loop for hanging on the tree. Spread peanut butter on both sides and dip into the birdseed. Place on a cookie sheet or tray lined with wax paper.
2- Next get the ice cream cones. With a needle run three or four threads from the sides, at least 3/4″ from the top, and knot them together at the top. Use a Christmas three ornament hanger to put them on the tree.
Cut the suet cakes into four squares. Cut off the corners to make a rounded shape that will fit into the cone.
The corner pieces can also be put into one of the cones. A little pressure and finger heat will adhere them to hold the loose seed in.
3- The suet cakes an also be cut or shaped by hand and used as ornaments. Run a string through the middle of each piece and tie into a about a 2″ loop.
– Now comes the fun “do it while you watch TV” part, stringing the popcorn and cranberries. It’s a no-brainer, all you have to watch out for is not pricking your fingers. I started out with some small horseshoe ornaments. This is where you can become creative and make up you own.
Leave about 2″ of thread on one end, then string up a piece of popcorn, followed by 6 or so cranberries and ending with popcorn. Tie a knot at the top with the ending 2″ piece of string and it’s done.
NOTE: The amount of length on the hanging loops for all the ornaments will vary with the tree. An evergreen tree will require a bit more than a deciduous one.
5- For the long garland you can do it in several pieces or one continuous string. I worked directly off the spool of thread and made two long lengths. What’s very important to remember is to tie off the beginning with a cranberry, piece of popcorn or even a button! Anything that will keep the garland on the string and not be pushed off if you get distracted by something exciting on the TV and give it a quick push!
Of course, wherever you decide to make this you have to be certain that no feline is in sight. A bowl of popcorn is fascinating! And it’s a given that a wiggling string of popcorn is begging to be attacked, wrestled and carried away all tangled up!
To attract the birds quicker tie some brightly colored bows on the tree to make it really festive!
This is just something I put together for our birds here. The possibilities are endless once you set your mind to it. Go ahead and do your thing!
Send me your ideas and pictures of your own creations and trees. It’ll be something I can put out for next year and you will be given credit for it. The more the meowier!