Conservation // 4 min Read

The Palmetto Bluff Wildlife Tree

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Dec 05, 2019

At 20,000 acres, Palmetto Bluff is a constant hive of activity for wildlife, so the idea of giving a Christmas tree back to Mother Nature just seemed to make sense. So, in the spirit of giving, we scouted a tree deep within our tidal wetland to serve as our “Wildlife Christmas Tree.” Adorned with edible ornaments for our furry friends, our Wildlife Tree is a 15-foot tall cedar located on the New River marsh. Decorated with edible ornaments handcrafted from natural materials – including dried fruit, birdseed, popcorn, and cranberries – these ornaments are not only decorative, but serve the greater purpose of feeding birds and other wildlife living at the Bluff during the winter months. (And once the ornaments have been eaten, birds can use the twine for their nests in the spring.)

Interested in creating your own wildlife tree for forest friends this Christmas? Follow our directions below for three simple all natural ornaments and you’ll be watching little critters enjoy a festive feast in no time.


Birdseed Ornaments

These super cute ornaments look the hardest, but they’re actually easy to make. Using a similar process as making Rice Krispie Treats…you end up with a sweet treat for the birds!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Birdseed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup (regular or light)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 4 cups birdseed
  • Cookie cutters
  • Drinking straw or toothpick
  • Cooking spray
  • Wax Paper
  • Cookie cutters
  • Twine*
  • How to make:

How to make:

  1. Place your cookie cutters on wax paper and spray with cooking spray. This prevents the ornaments from sticking to the cookie cutter so you can remove them easily once dry.
  2. Add the water and corn syrup to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the gelatin, stirring or whisking continually to dissolve the powder thoroughly. Clumps may appear, but will gradually vanish as you continue to stir. Only heat this mixture until the gelatin has dissolved; boiling the liquid down too far will reduce the quantity available to bind your ornaments, and they may fall apart more easily.
  3. Pour the syrup into a mixing bowl and add the flour. Stir the mixture until well blended; it will have a consistency similar to a medium brownie batter or thick cake batter, and there should be no large clumps. If it is too thick to stir easily, add additional hot water one tablespoon at a time until it is appropriately thinned. Similarly, if the mixture is too thin, add flour one tablespoon at a time to reach the right consistency.
  4. Slowly add the birdseed and mix it with the flour batter to coat all the seed. This will be a thick, stiff mixture, but it is important to blend it well otherwise the ornaments will not hold their shapes.
  5. Using your hands, fill each cookie cutter with birdseed. Press seed into every corner of the mold as firmly as possible to compact the ornaments, as loose seed will fall apart more easily. The birdseed mixture can dry out quickly so it is wise to have help with this step (great for kids!), or else cover the mixture in the bowl with plastic wrap between each ornament. You may need to spray your hands with nonstick spray after every 2-3 ornaments so the seed does not stick to you.
  6. Take a straw or toothpick to create a hole for hanging the ornament. Make sure the hole is not too close to the edge. Wiggle the skewer back and forth to ensure the hole goes all the way through the ornament and is big enough for your twine.
  7. Let the ornaments dry for a minimum of 6-8 hours, but preferably for a full day. Do not try and remove them from the molds too soon or they may fall apart.
  8. After removing the ornaments from their molds, string the twine through the holes. Your birdseed ornaments are now ready to hang on your wildlife tree!

*Avoid using fishing line as it can be dangerous for birds and other wildlife.

Popcorn & Cranberry Garland

Similar to Christmas trees found inside homes, this decorative garland is just as pretty on trees inside as it is outside. Bonus: the birds love the

What you’ll need:

  • Plain popcorn – unsalted and unbuttered
  • Cranberries
  • Needle
  • Thread

How to make:

  1. Pop as many bags of popcorn as you think you’ll need. (We popped 10-12 bags for our wildlife tree.)
  2. Alternate stringing popcorn and cranberries.

Dried Fruit Rings

While these ornaments definitely took the longest to make, they give our wildlife tree that bright “pop” of color. (Note: the apple slices did not turn out as nice, so we ended up not using them.)

What you’ll need:

  • Apples or oranges
  • Toothpick
  • Twine

How to make:

  1. Slice your fruit of choice into thin circles. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 170 degrees. Directions vary on how long to bake them; however, our orange slices were cooked/dried for roughly four hours.
  2. Once dry, use a toothpick to create a hole.
  3. String twine through the hole and tie in a knot or bow.
palmetto bluff real estate

Real Estate / Behind the Bluff: A Journey with Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Sales Executive Tracy Schyberg

Tracy’s Journey to Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Situated in the heart of Bluffton, South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff is more than just a community—it's a place of magic and wonder. For Tracy Schyberg, a dedicated sales executive with the Palmetto Bluff Real Estate...

Jun 2024
lowcountry landscaping

Architecture & Design / Your Complete Guide to Lowcountry Landscaping

Enhancing Coastal Living With Lowcountry Landscaping Trends The Lowcountry lies along the southeastern coast of the United States, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique culture. From the charming streets of Charleston to the...

Jun 2024
moreland forest at palmetto bluff

Real Estate / Neighborhood Spotlight: Moreland Forest

Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Available in Moreland Forest Situated in the heart of the Lowcountry, Moreland Forest is a charming neighborhood known for its beautiful natural surroundings, Lowcountry architecture, and luxurious amenities. Within the lush forests...

Jun 2024
palmetto bluff real estate

Real Estate / Real Estate Sales Report: Palmetto Bluff’s First Quarter Update

Real Estate in Bluffton SC: Trends, Updates, and Insights Positioned amidst the serene Lowcountry landscape of South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff stands as a beacon of luxury and natural beauty, attracting discerning homebuyers seeking an unparalleled lifestyle. ...

May 2024

Sporting Life / 7 Underrated Fly Fishing Spots in South Carolina

With its abundance of rivers, waterways, and streams, South Carolina is one of the best destinations for fly fishing in the Southeast. Not to mention, its mild weather throughout the year makes it a great place to fish all year round. Whether you are an experi...

May 2024

Real Estate / Real Estate Spotlight: 119 Hunting Lodge Rd, 151 Squash Blossom Ln, and 127 Hunting Lodge Rd

Discover These Cozy Coastal Cottages at Palmetto Bluff The Lowcountry is a place to retreat from reality and fully immerse in the serene atmosphere, which is why so many people are drawn to making it their home. There are a plethora of luxury homes in South C...

May 2024

Artist in Residence / Birds of a Feather

Photographs by Cacky Rivers and Cameron Wilder It is a sunny, cold December morning when we meet in the Conservancy classroom in Moreland Village. Everyone is well-equipped with binoculars and all manner of cameras and giant lenses. Cacky arrives last, in a r...

May 2024

Culture / Striking Gold

Photographs and Story by Joel Caldwell Marion “Rollen” Chalmers has been garnering a lot of well-deserved attention of late. Garden & Gun, the Blue Zones project, and even the TODAY show have made the trip to Rollen’s native Hardeeville, South Carolina, t...

May 2024

Culture / Local Character: Marie McConnell

Marie McConnell Director of Member relations, Palmetto Bluff Club Where are you from and how did you get here? I am from Buffalo, New York—born and raised. Go Bills! My husband and I got married at Sea Pines in Hilton Head in 2012 and fell in love with the ...

Apr 2024

Sporting Life / Saddle Up: Longfield Stables’ Trail Ride Program

Nestled amidst the tranquility of Palmetto Bluff, Longfield Stables stands as a beacon of serenity amid lush green pastures and the gentle presence of grazing horses. Its picturesque setting makes it a haven not only for the esteemed Palmetto Bluff Club Member...

Apr 2024
LIVE
Community Villages
Experience
Palmetto Bluff Club
On The Water
The Arts Initiative
Events
Conserve
About Us