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If you are looking for that fantastic ‘it’s almost spring’ craft project all your feathered friends are sure to love, then LOOK NO FURTHER! :D

"Eat Close to Home" (Edible Birdhouses) Nikon D300, 52mm, F/7.1, 1/125s, -0.7EV, ISO 640, Built-in Fill Flash w/Gary Fong 'Puffer' Diffuser, -1.3EV

How adorable are these??! 

"I Heart Birdfeeding" (Edible Birdhouses) Nikon D300, 95mm, F/6.3, 1/200s, +0.3EV, ISO 640

Simple wooden birdhouses, coated with an easy-to-make, non-toxic, edible glue (see recipe below), then adorned with various seeds, cracked corn, nuts, dried fruit, leaves, sprigs, etc., become feasts for the eyes as well as the birds.

"Rise & Dine" (Edible Birdhouses) Nikon D300, 170mm, F/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 640

This was a really fun and fairly quick project. Great for kids, too. (Oh, and since I had a little glue left over I decided to coat some pinecones as well. Hey, every new cul-de-sac needs some landscaping, doesn’t it? ;-) )

Let’s take a look at some of the finer architectural details…

"Fruit & Nut Villa" (Edible Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 170mm, F/6.3, 1/200s, Built-in Fill Flash w/Gary Fong 'Puffer' Diffuser, -1.7EV

 
Our first house boasts clean lines and stuccoed walls embedded with a high-quality seed mix containing millet, cracked corn, sunflower hearts and white sunflower seeds.  

The wonderfully patterned roof provides just the perfect touch of color certain to attract the yard’s most sophisticasted of songbirds. ;-)

A bit of peanut butter (the natural kind with as much oil taken out as possible – you want it on the dry side) mixed into the non-toxic glue ensures a solid hold for dried cranberries, blueberries, pistachios and hazelnuts.

"Skylight Villa" (Edible Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 135mm, F/6.3, 1/100s, ISO 640, Built-in Fill Flash w/Gary Fong 'Puffer' Diffuser, -1.7EV

 
Next up, another villa with similar features to the first but with pistachio nut roof trim and the addition of two pretzel skylights. Neat! :-)

 
Last, but not least, is our cozy, one-room cottage, sporting a picket fence, pretzel windows and black oil sunflower seed heart.

(To create details like the heart, I simply placed a metal cookie cutter on the house after it was smothered with a thick coat of glue. Next, I filled the area inside with black oil sunflower seeds then coated the area outside with a contrasting mix of cracked corn and sunflower hearts). 

"Sweetheart Cottage" (Edible Birdhouse) Nikon D300, L:(120mm, F/7.1, 1/160s, ISO 400), R:(130mm, F/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 640)

(Click to view larger)

The black oil sunflower detail is continued all along the roofline while a fresh juniper berry sprig tied off with a piece of red raffia provides the finishing touch.

So, there you have it folks. Yes, I do realize, this is the best these birdhouses will look once word gets out in the critter community. In a most likely feeble attempt to discourage the squirrels, we hung the houses from long strings on the outer edges of single, lighter-weight branches. But, if I know our squirrels, they’ll figure out a way to get to these tasty treats. Doesn’t really matter to me…for one, Milkay’s Animal Kingdom has always been an ‘equal opportunity’ environment; and two, I can always construct more. :-)

"Tweet Treats" (Edible Birdhouses) Nikon D300, L:62mm, R:90mm, F/6.3, 1/125s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in Fill Flash w/Gary Fong 'Puffer' Diffuser, -1.3EV

(Click to view larger)

 
Non-toxic Edible Glue for Bird Seed Houses

Materials

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Small saucepan
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • Small bowl

 
Directions

  1. Mix water, corn syrup, and vinegar in saucepan.
  2. Bring to a full, rolling boil.
  3. In bowl, mix cornstarch with cold water.
  4. Add this mixture slowly to the hot mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture returns to a boil.
  5. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat.
  6. When cooled, pour into an airtight container and let stand overnight. Stir well before using.

 
Store glue in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You might have to warm a bit in the microwave (20 second pulse) then stir to use.

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32 Comments

  1. These are GORGEOUS!!!!! :) They look good enough for ME to eat! lol

    • Thanks, KD! :-)

      I’d definitely chow down on the roofs (PB, dried fruit and nuts…what’t not to love?) The birds can have the side walls. ;-)

      I’m sure today will be entertaining! I do hope to get a shot of an actual bird feasting (before the squirrels figure out how to destroy them!)

  2. Oh my gosh these are too cute! That must have taken some time and patience. Did the birds devour them?

    • Thank you, Becky! :-)

      So far, the squirrels have been checking things out. I’ve observed them eating the seed off the pinecones (they can hang down via their hind feet and pull the cone up to them because they are light) and one of the birdhouses has unfortunately been knocked down (need to use a stronger hook the next time). I have yet to see a bird but that is most likely due to the squirrel action. Since it is already warm, I’ll be able to head out and put some peanuts elsewhere to draw the squirrels away in the hopes of attracting the birds. It typically takes the birds a little while to trust something new.

  3. theirs are nicer than my house :D

  4. These are absolutely adorable. A good fall project too.

    • Thank you, Lynn! I agree! We feed the birds/critters all year ’round. I will definitely be coating the houses again once they are picked clean. :-)

  5. Precious! Love them…

  6. This should spur on the housing market. :) What a fun idea.

    You keep giving those squirrels puzzles to solve and you’ll have them coming through your doors and windows someday. LOL

    • Ha! If only! ;-)

      The squirrels are already waaaay ahead of you on that one, Scott. 2 years ago, a grey squirrel broke into our sunroom by chewing through the wood frame and screen on an open window. It was totally our fault…we left an open bag of peanuts in the shell on the floor! We won’t make that mistake again! :-)

      Thanks, Scott!

  7. Not a bad looking place in the entire neighborhood, M.P.! :)

    • Thanks, Sig!

      Sooooo I can put you down for the Sweetheart Cottage? (It’s move-in ready! ;-) )

  8. I wonder if we here are witnessing the start of a new global movement: “Eat your house”? The architects must go entirely new paths when they now have to assess which “building materials” our new houses must be made of? Pancakes – and ice?! Or potatoes …..?
    (Btw: Here in Denmark we say “that one eats his bricks” when taking second mortgage in the house for consumption …)

    • Ha! You are so humorous, Truels! :-)

      Though the concept is clever (thinking of that scene in Willa Wonka where you can ‘eat the dishes’) I think this would also increase crime rates! (Why eat your own house when the rich neighbors have a chocolate chimney? ;-) )

      I like that Denmark saying! I just might have to use that as an image title if I’m able to catch a bird in the act! :-)

  9. These are adorable. I LOVE them. You can tell these were made with love, and a lot of time was put into making them. I hope the birds get to enjoy them soom. Looking forward to seeing a future post with the birds.
    Carol

    • Aw, thank you, Carol. You are so kind! :D

      We did have a ball making these on Saturday while we watched the snow melt (what a strange weather day that was, huh? Wake up to everything covered in snow and see it all just about gone by mid-afternoon?)

      The birds have been cautious but checking things out. I hope I get to capture some images tomorrow (fingers crossed!) :-)

  10. Is it just me or does that first picture have a bit of walt disney in it??! Or maybe it’s just the drugs I’ve been on wearing off….

    • Hmmm, it might just be you, Derrick, but I suppose since we are such huge Disney fans, a little ‘magic’ probably oozes out even when we are not aware of it. ;-)

      Hey, I hope you are feeling better these days. Some strange lingering colds and flus have been making their way around. This has been the worst winter season for me (healthwise) in a long, long time!

  11. What a fun and decorative idea, it will be interesting to see in which order they eat the different corn and nuts. I´d like to see a photo of the houses in a month or so. Your garden is the animal´s version af Disney world, an amusement park for critters. You are most likely already famous among them, without knowing it, and now the rumours about the newest attraction will increase the number of visiters. It will be interesting to follow. :-)

    • You are optimistic, Birgitte! I’m going to be posting an update since the hooks holding the birdhouses weren’t of good quality and it only took til today for the squirrels to get them onto the ground. :-( Unfortunately, I didn’t witness HOW they were able to do it since, after watching them for hours yesterday, they seemed to be quite baffled so I was (prematurely) assured the birds would get to eat. I did get one not-so-great shot of a Chicadee enjoying one house so I know the concept is sound. Just need to re-think installation. :-)

      So, it’s back to the drawing board! I already have another batch of glue made up and as soon as the squirrels are through with picking the houses clean, I will try again (can re-use the same houses….will change out the hanging hooks and think more about where to hang them).

      You are very sweet! Thanks! :-)

  12. You have some very lucky birds!

    As for the squirrels – well – we’ve actually found a baffle that works for us, in case you’re interested: the Woodlink Natorpedo (you can find it on Amazon). It’s not nearly as pretty as your birdhouses, though.

    • We have very spoiled birds! (and critters). ;-)

      I don’t think that baffle would work for these hanging houses (they are made to work on a pole) but that is actually an interesting thought. Instead of hanging the houses, I could mount them on thin poles and install a baffle. Thanks for the tip!

      Hmmm, the wheels in my brain are turning… :-)

  13. Flipping LOVE this and will be doing it with my boys in a few weeks when we are on spring break! I hope ours turn out as cute as yours!!!! Thanks for the awesome project!!

    • Thanks, Amy! :-)

      Oh, so glad to hear this!! Your boys are GONNA have a BALL! Messy? Indeed, but aren’t all the best craft projects?

      Some tips:

      Set the houses in large trays (I used a rimmed cookie sheet) so you can easily catch all the errant seeds, etc. and pour them back into the bag or whatever. I also only coated one side of the house at a time (first generously with glue using a small paintbrush then pouring on the seeds from a cup) then placed the house in the fridge (on a plate) to set a bit before moving onto another side. Also, stir the glue well before using. If you want to mix in PB for larger items, I used a rather (cheap) but thick kind of PB and added the glue to thin it a bit. Straight regular PB would probably work as well on its own.

      Can’t wait to see what you and your guys come up with! (Oh, and get hubby involved, too. You’d be surprised at how creative – and proud of themselves – they can be!) Good luck! :-)

  14. Fantastic!!! Might have to ‘borrow’ that idea!

  15. These are wonderful! The birds must love you very much. :)

    • Thank you, Robin! :-)

      Not sure about that…I bet they simply think of me as “Mrs. Food”. ;-)

  16. How cool, a house that could be eaten. ;) What a great idea! Lovely series, thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Anne, and, you’re welcome! Round two is coming up as soon as the weather gets better. I have a few ideas to increase the chances that the birds actually get to eat them!


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Squirrels: 1 Humans: 0 « Milkay Photography on 13 Mar 2012 at 1:12 pm

    […] concept of the edible birdhouse is sound, it would appear the installation needs some […]

  2. By Recycled Garden Crafts on 08 Jun 2012 at 6:52 pm

    […] Edible Birdhouse from MilKay Photography […]

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