I don’t know about you guys, but I really love making holiday themed foods for my birds. Of all of the recipes we created for the cookbook, the holiday ones were by far the most fun. It’s a creative outlet for me and the birds love the new presentation of the usual foods. If you have kids, by all means, include them! The imagination of a child can take this project to places your adult mind may have forgotten about!
Edible Christmas Tree
You will need:
Broccoli with stalks (I used two heads for a 5″-6″ tree and one of the stalks)
yellow bell pepper
finely chopped cauliflower (for snow)
You can use whatever parrot safe ingredients you want. I based my choices on what I know my parrots like best. Other options might include various fruit, fresh or dried, corn kernels or nuts.
Wash and drain the broccoli and shake off any excess moisture. Cut the stalk off as close to the florets as possible. You want the stalk as long as you can get it. Taper the top 1/3 of the stalk to make it conical in shape but not so much that it is too thin to support the layers of “branches”. Slice the bottom evenly to make the stalk have upright stability.
Trim the stalks off of the florets except for the smallest ones, the stalks of the smallest florets can be inserted into the top of the tree so you don’t need toothpicks to fasten them.
Arrange a row of toothpicks along the bottom of the stalk and push a floret on to each pick until the bottom of the tree is full. The largest florets should be arranged on the bottom and graduate to the smallest florets at the top. Snap the points off the toothpicks where they are visible. Each following row of toothpicks should be placed at a more upright angle than the last. This will help you give the tree its shape.
Cut thin strips from the yellow bell pepper and wrap in around the tree garland style. Thinner strips will be more manageable than the thicker ones. I was able to attach all of the pepper strips by tucking their ends in between the floret pieces.
Cut the cranberries in half and insert them into spaces in between the florets. Cut a star shape from the remaining yellow bell pepper and insert it into the top of the tree (I needed to use a toothpick for this, but you may have better luck without one.)
Add the cauliflower “snow” and a bird.
You will need:
fresh strawberries – cut in half, using only the bottom half
bananas – some sliced 1/4″ thick – .6 cm for hat trim and smaller pieces for the pompom end
Wash grapes and strawberries and allow them to dry thoroughly. Cut pieces as described above. The assembly of these is pretty clear from the photo: secure one grape, slice of banana, bottom section of strawberry and the pompom together with a toothpick.
You will need:
mashed banana, reserving some to cut into pompoms for the hat
1/8 teaspoon of chia or other small seed
Wash the strawberries and allow them to dry completely. Evenly slice off enough of the top of the strawberry to create a flat surface – the top of the strawberry will become the bottom your Santa. This should be as thin a layer as possible. Slice off the strawberry bottom (the actual bottom) about 2/3 of the way down. This piece will become the hat, the larger portion will be the body (use the photo of the finished treat for clarity).
Place the strawberry top side down (where the leaves once were) and put a dollop of mashed banana on top, shaping it into a head. Top with the remaining portion of the strawberry and the pompom. Secure with a toothpick. The chia seeds will provide eyes.
Try serving these frozen by placing the assembled treats on a foiled lined baking sheet and freezing for an hour or two!
Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.