Feed Backyard Animals: Make a Food Tree!


As winter continues to drag on and on, the animals seem to be getting hungrier and hungrier.  The deer have been eating the ivy in my front flower bed, and I have never seen them eat that in years past.  Remember how Beth Anne shared that the birds eat the red berries on holly as a last resort, well they have been snacking on the holly bush quite a lot this week.  Poor things!

To help the poor little critters in my yard, we decided to create a food tree for them to snack on.  Beth Anne was in town, so we were able to do these activities with all four kids which was fun.  We wanted to create something special for the birds, so we made some cute birdhouses with an edible roof.  (Well, we didn’t MAKE the birdhouses, we just bought them and painted them.)  We painted the birdhouses in bright neon colors, and of course the kids loved this part of the project!   Look how focused their little faces are on their masterpieces!  The neon paint really put a modern spin on the traditional painted birdhouse look, plus it made it very easy to spot the birdhouses in the tree from inside the house.  They added some bright and fun winter décor to the bleak landscape.

Painting birdhouses

Once the paint had dried, the kids spread peanut butter on top of each birdhouse roof.  I put some birdseed in the bottom of a pan, and then they pressed the roof into the birdseed to get a nice coating on top.  At the same time we also coated some empty toilet paper rolls with peanut butter, and rolled those in the birdseed as well.

Confession…putting the birdseed into a pan was not my first idea!  At first we were just letting the kids grab fistfuls of birdseed and sprinkle it onto their toilet paper roll or birdhouse roof.  Needless to say, we ended up with quite a birdseed mess all over the floor.  Then I came up with the bird seed in the bottom of a pan idea.  Too bad I didn’t think of that first!

Popcorn garland was next on the list for squirrels and birds.  I was thinking the animals might not like movie theatre butter style popcorn, so I purchased Pop Secret  Homestyle “Made with a sprinkle of salt and a taste of butter”!   Hopefully that tag line will appeal to the critters!  It certainly appealed to our critters, needless to say, more popcorn was consumed by the kids than actually made it onto the garland, but that was all part of the fun.  We threaded some string onto a needle and let the kids create the garland themselves.  Lilly and Charity were easily able to thread popcorn onto the string.  Sullivan and Holden are both 3, and they actually did a pretty good job with the needle and thread, and strung up some popcorn.  Not every parent would probably let their 3 year old have a sewing needle, but we watched them carefully and they did a great job!  Look at those cute little hooligans!

popcorn strings

Finally, even though I have a love hate relationship with the deer, we decided to feed them too.  We read that deer like to eat grapes, so we bought a bag of grapes and tied string onto the stem so that we could then tie bunches of grapes onto our food tree.

Once everything was ready, we bundled up the kids to hang our items on a tree for the animals.  I would love to show you snap shots of the kids having so much fun with this part of the project, but in reality, they complained of being cold almost immediately, the tree branches were too high for them to reach anyway, so Beth Anne and I hung everything in the tree while the kids watched from inside!  But I’m sure this part really doesn’t surprise you if your kids are anything like ours!


Come back on Friday to find out which animals enjoyed our food tree.

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Sarah Korhnak

A nature lover busy making her own backyard brilliant!

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