Tuesday, March 12, 2013

For Our Feathered Friends and Eco Kids

Last weekend we had the pleasure to visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens- it's so close to our house, so we plan on visiting often! The garden is not open to the public yet, but we were able to get a preview tour.  It was so worth it, and while we were there, one of the volunteers who was helping with the tour was also an expert on birds.  This was really cool, and I learned a few things about birds even though the three year old and nearly two year old certainly prevented us from seeing a rare gem!

One thing about birds that I took away from the tour was that I would really like to encourage their presence in my yard, and now is the time to prepare some cozy nesting spots for them.  Our yard already has some birdhouses (pictured above), but my husband has also helped the girls to make some fun and colorful birdhouses which would make our bird watching so much more personal for Ana and Addie.

Why Attract Birds?

There are many reason to attract birds to your yard. Birds are great at controlling pests, and they eat aphids and other bugs that are not beneficial to our gardens.  The garden will also benefit from nectar drinking birds that provide pollination.  In addition, watching birds is fun, relaxing, and educational.  I have already learned to recognize calls from a few birds, and my daughters have learned to name several birds.  We are not the only ones who benefit though, private property accounts for about 80% of habitat for birds.  Making places on your property for birds to nest, eat, and bathe certainly makes it easier for birds to survive despite huge amounts of land turning residential.  (For more details check this site.)

Tips for Attracting Birds

The bird expert who I had the pleasure of meeting gave some great tips for attracting birds this season:

  • Have your birdhouses out by the end of March.
  • Use suet cages or a mesh produce bag to hold pet hair and small pieces of yarn for birds to use in their nests.
  • Hang your birdhouses in pairs.
  • Hang feeders during the winter months when plants and bugs are scarce.
Make a Treat for Birds


  • Yarn
  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Scissors
  • Peanut butter
  • Knife
  • Birdseed
  1. Use the knife to cover the toilet paper roll in peanut butter.
  2. Roll the covered rolls in birdseed.
  3. Cut lengths of yard long enough to create loops to hang the roll by (roughly a foot and a half- no need to measure.)  
  4. Put the end of the yard through the toilet paper roll, and tie the two ends together to form a loop.  
  5. Hang the treats on tree branches in your yard.


Please join me for the Eco-Kids Linky!  I hope that you'll share some great family-friendly posts that are also friendly for the environment. Some ideas include:
  •  Nature Activities
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Crafts made with re-purposed or recycled materials
  • Sewing and DIY home projects
  • Science Experiments
  • Posts on environmental issues for kids or families
  • Non-toxic living
  • Homeopathic Remedies
Eco-Kids Tuesdays is co-hosted by Organic Aspirations and Like Mama~Like Daughter. This means that anything you link-up shows up on both blogs!
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  1. I love the toilet roll idea. My only problem is I get visited by lots of squirrels, and I think they would really go for the peanut butter. I suppose they are wildlife too.

  2. We love doing these things too and it really does get the little ones involved. I have a few concerns though - I think the birdhouse was a kit one but it is recommended that they don't have perches (easier for prey to access - balance on/get paw into hole). Also that the bird expert said to put string etc in mesh bags - birds can get foot caught in mesh. Sorry one last thing, in the UK we are advised to site most bird houses apart- only some birds are happy to have neighbours or like to live in colonies, most are very territoral.

  3. We made a bird house last year and love watching the action!

    The toilet paper roll idea is a great one - going to have to do that one soon!

  4. love the toilet roll idea, we made some bird food this week too

  5. oohhhhh daddy was very brave having his fingers that close to the nails for somebody to hammer in. Like the toilet rol idea, sadly no good with nut allergy sufferers in the house.

  6. What a great post and thank you for linking to Country Kids. We have bird boxes dotted around our farm and have made some fat balls that the birds have really enjoyed, and we have enjoyed watching them in return.

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  7. Hello from Aloha Friday link party! I am following you on g+ and gfc. Would be lovely if you return the favour;)

    Have a fab weekend!

    Scudds xx

  8. your toilet roll feeder is inspired i have some of those lying around so will pin this idea and may try it myself with my boys. thank you. i love the photo of your daughters face when the bird box is made! brilliant ! x

  9. What a great idea for reusing a loo roll! Your daughter looks so proud of her creation :)

  10. Great ideas!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!