Winter in New England is anything but predictable. Take this week for instance. Last Thursday, we had high temps of 12 degrees with a wind chill of below zero. Today, the high is supposed to be above 50 degrees! Throw snow and ice into the mix and you weather that's for the birds.
You can imagine then, that when the ground is covered in snow and ice, that it's hard for birds to find food. All the seeds and berries that have fallen to the ground are covered, until it thaws out. If the tree branches are not covered in a sheet of ice, they may be able to find winter berries such as bittersweet, holly or , well winter berry. So in times like this, it's important to provide food for our feathered friends. It could be as little as tossing out some bird seed on top of the snow or installing a bird feeder in your back yard.
At Casa del Whirlwind, we went a little beyond this year. This year, we made a wreath fit for the birds. We started with an ordinary grapevine wreath (found at most craft stores). We wove grasses, bittersweet, seed heads, and other dried floral pieces into the grapevine. Next we strung cranberries, popcorn and cheerios onto strings. We took these strings and wrapped them around the wreath. We took pine cones and wrapped them in a suet mixture and them rolled them in birdseed. We then took the suet mixture and made birdseed cookies which we hung from the wreath with ribbon. We secured some of the loose pieces of flowers with raffia ribbon and then tied a nice big bow (also out of raffia). Once it was competed, we hung it on the fence for the birds to enjoy all winter long. And once the food is gone and spring time comes, the pieces the birds didn't eat - such as the grasses and raffia - will make great nesting materials. The girls also made a second one for their Pepa as a Christmas gift.
It was alot of fun creating such a wonderful item that can be enjoyed by nature as well as by us. The girls really enjoyed making it and now they enjoy peeking out the windows to see the birds (and squirrels) enjoying it. In a few days, we'll go add some more popcorn and pine cone covered pieced. And anytime we have some stale bread (which is often as they never eat the ends) we'll cover with peanut butter and birdseed so our birds will be well fed.