3.8.07

Bird seed bell




Yesterday at Playcentre we made these lovely bird seed bells which are so simple that with a bit of help even a 2 year old can enjoy making one. We've been eagerly looking out the kitchen window all morning to see if the finches and yellow hammers have discovered them yet. I know the're hungry at this time of year because there aren't many seeds or bugs around. Here's how to make your own bird seed bell.


YOU'LL NEED:


A variety of seeds. We bought a wild bird mix from the supermarket, but you could save corn, millet, wheat, buckwheat, radish, sunflower etc in autumn. Grind up bigger seeds like sunflower and corn.

Egg whites. 2 for every cup of seed.

Small terracotta pots.

Glad wrap or an oven bag. To line the pot.

Thin wire. So you can hang the bell.

METHOD:

Beat the egg whites till they're a bit fluffy, but not as if you're making a pavolova. Kids can do this bit. (the 2 year olds had a go at seperating the yolk from the white with messy results as you can imagine.)

Then they can pour in the seeds and stir them up while you line the terracotta pots with gladwrap. When you've done that let them spoon the mixture into the pot and flatten the top.

Take a length of straight wire make a coil at one end, then insert the straight end of wire down through the mixture then out the hole at the bottom of the pot until the coil is submerged in the seed mix. Position your pots in a cool oven, right way up with the straight bit of wire pointing down through the oven rack, for one and a half to two hours. Allow to cool then tip the bell out of the pot peel off the gladwrap. Make a loop at the top ready to hang in a tree.

An alternative to the egg whites to hold the mix together would be melted fat, you wouldn't need to cook it but I don't think it would look as nice.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gillybean - is this cooked? What is the cook time? mrs6202@embarqmail.com

therigman said...

Hello, being from AUSTRALIA we have allot of native birds like lorikeets, honeyeaters, etc. Can you add icing sugar into the mix to sweeten it up? Last question, how do you stop the bell from falling apart in the cold winter months?

Thanks & regards Dave.

therigman said...

Hello, being from AUSTRALIA we have allot of native birds like lorikeets, honeyeaters, etc. Can you add icing sugar into the mix to sweeten it up? Last question, how do you stop the bell from falling apart in the cold winter months?

Thanks & regards Dave.

Gillybean said...

Hi Dave, I'm not sure about how icing sugar would affect the mixture, but I'd just give it a try. The bell holds together well in the weather if you've added enough egg white as it sets really hard, I find the birds eat it pretty quick when they discover it's there anyway.

katyj said...

Is it okay to use peanut butter with the birdseed? We made pinecones spread with peanut butter then rolled in birdseed, for a pre-school project...so I was wondering if this was healthy for the birds?

Gillybean said...

I reckon peanut butter would be a great idea. I just wouldn't give them anything processed too often.

Theresa said...

Thanks for sharing this. How do you keep the egg white from dripping out of the little hole that is created in the plastic when the wire is poked through?

Gillybean said...

It should be quite a thick mixture and if you beat the egg whites they won't drip through, mind you I do have the messiest oven you ever saw so probably wouldn't notice. You cook it until hard on a very low heat 50-120 degrees celcius depending on your oven. It's ready when it's hard.

Anonymous said...

You said to use glad wrap, hummmm it doesnt fair too well in the oven and stinks the whole house out, im sure melted plastic is very bad for birds

Gillybean said...

Well I've done it quite a few times and the oven temp is so low that it doesn't melt the glad wrap at all. I can see your point about it affecting the birds if it did but it doesnt. Anyway it would be easy to experiment with tin foil, an oven bag or probably even baking paper if the method described didn't sit well with you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I live in San Diego and have made these twice. The second time I tried to hurry so my oven setting was hotter and the saran wrap melted. I also added some fruit and it was a tad too sticky.

Dawn said...

I tried this with the foil and also in cookie cutters, and it all just crumbled when we tried to take them out. Baked them for almost 2 hours so they were firm, but crumbly and ended up tossed on the ground for the birds. Not good as gifts - what did I do wrong?

Anonymous said...

Instead of Glad or Saran wrap, try getting a large size turkey cooking bag and cutting it too fit the pots. These bags can take temperatures up to 350 degrees.

Anonymous said...

try gelertine its used for setting jelly etc

Anonymous said...

Hi there....Lillypilly here...Hi Gillybean..love your site! We're from Australia too....we've made bird seed toilet rolls, covered in peanut butter then roll in seeds, attach pipe cleaner hanger...loads of fun for the kiddies and yes lots of mess!! Thats what real living is all about :)
Wouldn'use icing sugar, as too sweet for the birds and not healthy for them therigman..wouldn't want the birds getting diabetes!!

Anonymous said...

Well said. I never thought I would accept this opinion, but I’m starting to see things from a different point of view. I have to research more on this as it looks very interesting. One thing I don’t understand though is how everything is related together.

Anonymous said...

Hey
Great site you have.
I made them when I did Girl Guids
and we also put popcorn in them and they sure loved it.But could you cook it in an micowave insead of an oven and do u have to cook it at all

Joan said...

Awesome! Thanks for the recipe, I'd like to give these out as Christmas gifts to neighbors...birdies could sure use more food sources this time of year.

Rachel said...

Gillybean love Ur reciepe. I'm from Australia n to the Aussie who wrote about the lorikeets icing sugar,honey and all those kind of things are bad for them and can cause nutritional runners in their chicks they also don't eat seed. They are nectar eating birds so try planting bottle brush or grevillia and this will bring them into Ur garden. You can get nectar mixes from Ur pet shop as well :)

Anonymous said...

For Dave in Australia,
To sweeten these upa little, we use some honey in the mixture. Mix it through the mix after the seeds. THEY LOVE IT!!