Fed up of tinsel and twinkly lights everywhere? We've got some festive ideas for (outdoor) tree decorations to help the wildlife! These might not look quite so dazzling as a flashing santa or a neon reindeer but they will attract in the birds! I'm sure you will all agree that our feathered friends can brighten up our gardens better than any shiny ornament during the dark winter days! You may need to prepare yourself to get a bit messy!

Dipped pine cones - For this you will need some foraged pine cones that are intact and open. You will also need a large bowl, some lard and any bird seed, porridge oats or crushed nuts that you wish to add to the lard. Some string to hang them up is also useful. All you need to do is to warm the lard so it's pliable, get your hands in and mix in your extra treats and then roll the pine cones in the mix until you are satisfied they are well stuffed with tasty lard bird treats. Pop them in the fridge to set and then when they are nice and solid pick a tree or hedge and hang them up! Visiting members of the tit famliy will probably be first in line!

Popcorn and monkey nut tinsel - This is one for those with lots of patience! You need a needle, some tough thread and some unsalted plain popcorn and/or monkey nuts. Thread the tasty treats along the thread and then hang the string around or across a tree or hedge. The length will depend on your patience!

A gingerbread or pastry angel - Pastry is popular with birds and a pastry angel for the top of your tree is going to be a popular edible decoration with your garden birds. There is a recipe here, there is no need to bother with the icing! If you make a batch of slightly small ones try hanging them up on the tree.

Multi-coloured fat baubles - To make fat baubles you will need to follow the lard recipe for the pine cone treats but this time if you want to add some food colouring (it won't harm birds). When you have got them all mixed and in a range of interesting colours, whilst the lard mix is still pliable roll them into balls. In order to hang them up at this stage poke a hole through the middle and thread some short bits of string with a knot on the end, tie a loop in the other end so you can hang them up. Let them set in the fridge and hang them up when they are solid. You could of course go for different shapes using a dough cutter to make lard stars etc.

Fruit cocktail - Apples and pears that are a bit over ripe are really popular with blackbirds and if you are lucky waxwings. Try slicing the fruits and pushing the slices onto sticks or bits of string so they can hang from the trees.

I hope that these ideas give you some food for thought this Christmas. If you have any questions or your own ideas for bird food tree decorations please share them in the comments section!

 

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