By Adoriam DeWalt
Hello! My name is Adoriam DeWalt and I am an Ambassador of Girl Scouts. I am working with Houston Audubon on my Girl Scout Gold Award to talk about the war on birds. I hope you find this information helpful as we try to be more bird-friendly!
Why birds matter
Birds are important to people, animals, and the environment. They are significant pollinators of many native plants, a top food source for humans and animals, and a natural navigator for sailors. They graze on a range of insects, rodents, and other small animals, ultimately helping to balance populations.
According to Cornell University, 53% of grassland birds have disappeared due to loss of habitat and an increase in infrastructure. Although this may seem unfixable, over 55% of Houstonians own some form of backyard that could serve the purpose of becoming more “bird-friendly”. Being bird-friendly means helping birds in your space by implementing water sources, safe and adequate shelter, or bird food in order to help make birds’ lives easier since they are always under the threat of predation. In order to have a good understanding of bird-friendly spaces, I will show you how to make a bird feeder.
See the video below for more detailed instructions and information:
DIY Bird Feeder
You will need:
- Unsalted natural peanut butter
- Any mix of crushed nuts, oats, and dried fruit including:
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Paper lunch bag
- String or rope
- Fork or utensil
I’m using a pre-made unsalted nut mix from my local grocery store. If you don’t have a pre-made nut mixture, you can make your own with unsalted nuts and dried fruit, as well as oats. When preparing the combination, aim for 80% nuts, 10% oats, and 10% dried fruit.
When I say to ONLY USE UNSALTED NUTS, ZERO SUGAR, and ZERO BREAD in your bird feeders, I strongly state this because these ingredients can bring disease, fatigue, and even death to birds if consumed.
To make smaller bits for birds to consume, combine nuts and roughly chop in a blender or crush by hand. The rule of thumb for calculating how much feed I need is one handful per pinecone. Be sure to wear gloves and put down napkins to keep your workspace clean.
Lay a napkin to line your work area and grab your pinecone and utensil. Scoop a glob of peanut butter (don’t eat it) and smear it inside the groves of the pinecone until the entire pinecone is covered. When done, cover it with a napkin and set it aside.
Place a handful of the nut and dried fruit mixture in your paper bag and mix well.
Take your pinecone from earlier, place it inside the paper bag with the mixture, and SHAKE!!!! You can say the ABCs or sing the Happy Birthday song while you shake the pinecone. At the end when you take it out, it should be covered entirely with little to no wet peanut butter.
Take out your pinecone using the same utensil as before and set it up straight on a napkin. Tie your string/rope around the top part of the pinecone and knot in between groves.
And you’re done!!
When installing your bird feeder, be sure to put it between trees so birds may have a place to sit while eating.
Listen to the Shriff talk more about this so we can help our little birdie friends!
Below is a downloadable copy of the instructions.
Learn how you can be bird-friendly at home by visiting www.birdfriendlyhouston.org