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Edible Ornaments for Wildlife

Start a new classroom or family tradition this year – decorate a tree in your schoolyard or a nearby park with edible ornaments for wildlife. Help students make predictions about what might happen to the “treats,” who might visit them, and which treats they will like the best. Return several days later to check your treats, look for evidence of animal activity and chart your findings.

Here are a few ornament ideas:

Apple and Orange Slices – Thinly slice apples and oranges, string through a bit of thread in each, and hang each piece separately from branches.

Bird Bags – Buy netting material and fill it with birdseed. Hint: Adding finely crushed eggshells to the mix will provide the birds with calcium!

Bread Ornaments – Spread peanut butter on both sides of a slice of bread.  Press coated bread into a pan of rolled oats or birdseed. Use holiday cookie cutters to cut shapes from the slices. Poke holes through your ornaments with a pencil and slip a string through.

Crackers or Cheerios Bracelet – String together salt-free crackers (think Ritz, or the types that have small holes) or Cheerios in the shape of a bracelet to slide over the tips of branches.

Millet Delight – Purchase millet from your feed and seed store; top with a red ribbon and hang it from the tree.

Orange Baskets – Hollow orange halves and fill with peanut butter (and shortening/cornmeal) and birdseed mix.

Peanut Heaven – String raw peanuts and loop them together. Finish off with a colorful ribbon.

Pine Cone Pleasure – Collect pine cones of all sizes. Attach a ribbon loop to the top of each one. Combine peanut butter and oatmeal, spread the mixture over the pine cone and roll it in birdseed. Then, hang on the tree.

Popcorn Party – String together popcorn – but make sure that it’s all natural; no butter or salt added.

String of Pearl – With a needle and thread, string together different kinds of grapes. For a dash of color, alternate grapes with raisins and cranberries.

Suet Loot – Melt beef fat or bacon grease and let it cool. Add birdseed, peanut butter, fruit or granola. Mesh onion bags make great suet containers and are easy to hang!