Decorate an outdoor tree for our feathered friends this winter!
When you think about spending time outdoors during the winter season, you may think of snowshoeing or skiing, building a snowman, or sledding. Here’s another fun way to connect with nature – decorating an outdoor tree with ornaments that birds and other wildlife can eat!
This is the first year Landmark is decorating a tree at Menomonie’s Wakanda Wonderland event! Wakanda Wonderland is a community gathering featuring decorated holiday trees created by local businesses and community groups. As an environmental organization, our tree is nature-themed and features bird-friendly ornaments! We hope that when people see our tree, they become curious to learn more about conservation, consider adding bird-friendly decorations to their outdoor spaces, and feel inspired to make their own!
Staff and volunteers created bird friendly ornaments and decorated the tree on December 1st. The main Wakanda Wonderland event is on December 9th and will feature tree viewing, bonfires, food and beverages, wagon rides, holiday photo opportunities, and a Holiday Market with baked goods and gifts. If you are local, we invite you to come find our tree and enjoy the day! Learn more here: https://www.dunnhistory.org/wakanda-wonderland
Decorating a tree for the birds is a great activity for the whole family!
Below, we share how to make simple and beautiful ornaments.
Make Your Ornaments
This project can be broken up into multiple days – creating a different style of ornament each day.
Bird Seed Ornaments: We chose to make this recipe from The House and Homestead Blog because it was simple with only 3 ingredients! Note: do not store these in closed containers; they need airflow so they do not mold. For reference, our tree was 6′ tall and we made 30 ornaments!
- 2 cups mixed birdseed
- 2 packages powdered gelatine
- ½ cup of water
- Some cookie cutters in various shapes
- Natural twine
You can find the instructions here.
Make Your Garlands
A sturdy needle and thread are needed, and a reminder that natural fibers will biodegrade. We used this thread.
Popcorn: Refrain from using butter (and other oils)! Plain popcorn is best for the birds. Stringing popcorn can be difficult at times! If you find you are poking yourself, wearing gloves may be helpful. Remember this is supposed to be fun. 😉
Cranberries: This is easier and pretty straight forward! We used two bags of cranberries for reference.
Dried Sliced Fruit: We used oranges and grapefruits.. Cut all the slices a consistent thickness so they bake at the same rate. Approximately 4 medium grapefruits and 8 small to medium oranges were used for our garland!
Preheat oven to 200*
Slice fruit 1/8” thick.
Cut down drying time by patting them down between two towels.
Arrange baking sheets with parchment paper and bake, flipping every 30 minutes for approximately 3-5 hours. Keep a close eye on them towards the end. Note: do not store these in closed containers; they need airflow, so they do not mold.
Pick Your Tree & Decorate!
Choose a tree that you can see from a place you like to sit inside and watch the birds or go on an adventure into the woods and pick one out! Another option, if you decorate with a real tree indoors, is to move it out in your garden or yard when you are done with it and add these ornaments!
Let this be the year that you get outside and enjoy the season in new ways! Share your photos with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram @landmarkwisconsin !
Thank you to Ace Hardware for donating ornament materials and Conagra for sponsoring our tree!