Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Easy, Fun and Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

These are brush piles.  Make them to attract ground feeding birds and to provide shelter during cold days and nights for birds and rabbits.  Make sure there are openings and cover with leaves for insulation.  Create one for someone on your gift list who enjoys wildlife.

So, with ten days left until Christmas and fewer than that until Hannukkah, I have a few gift ideas to share with you.  Edible bread and pine cone ornaments for feathered friends can easily be made by children.  For bread ornaments just stale or toast bread slices and use holiday cookie cutters to make different shapes.  Poke a hole towards the top of each ornament with a nut pick.  Thread a piece of yarn through and make a loop for hanging.  Smear ornament with peanut butter or shortening.  Then press on bird seed.  Black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite of many birds.  Do the same with the pine cones.  Make an assortment of both.  Hang in a tree or at a feeder station.  A bird lover and the birds will appreciate this gift.
The above creation is an edible ice feeder.  Take a round cake pan and coil a piece of twine around inside the pan, and make a loop overhanging the pan at the top.  Fill the pan up halfway with water.  Place bird seed, berries, pine needles, apple and orange slices in the pan.  Carefully place the pan in the freezer and freeze solid.  Remove from pan and hang in tree or on feeder pole.  As it melts, treats will fall to the ground for ground feeding birds and squirrels-of course!

During a program at the Round Lake Library we attached the recipe for hummingbird nectar to canning jars.  This simple gift can be paired with a feeder, ant guard, copy or subscription to Birds and Blooms magazine or a bird identification guide.  A membership to Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, or the National Wildlife Federation are additional gift ideas.

Lastly, if you want to stay active this winter and like a sense of adventure and a treasure hunt, check out  Letterboxes are hidden everywhere and this site will tell you how to find them.  It will also tell you what you need to participate.  You could make a letterbox kit for a friend for around five dollars.  Enjoy!   Happy Holidays!!!

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