On our little island, we have a surprising amount of natural resources that can be used safely for our Three-Cans. Our big almond tree provides the perfect perches, shade for their aviaries, and the fallen almonds and crunchy leaves are a treasure that the birds seek out during outside playtime. The seagrape trees are also safe to use as perches and the hibiscus flowers prove to be intriguing to the toucans from time to time. But our top producers by far, The Giving Tree(s) for all the Shel Silverstein fans out there, are definitely the palm trees.
Over time, we have found numerous ways to utilize the gifts of our palm trees to benefit the Three-Cans. The gauze from around the trees has proven to be one of the most adaptable.
We mainly use the palm tree gauze as stuffing for toucan toys. As you may remember from my past post on Making Toys for Toucans, the birds love to destroy containers (baskets, boxes, bags, etc.) and seek out the toys we hide inside. The gauze is the perfect addition, adding volume and making it more difficult to find all of the toys, hidden amongst its layers.
I have also recently started using the palm gauze to make toys with. Here, I cut it into small shapes, threaded some twine through the outside corners, then stuffed it with dried leaves for a crunchy texture. The Three-Cans enjoyed tossing these little pillows around and pulling out the leaves and the treats I had hidden inside.
Another toucan favorite is when I cut the gauze into strips, then roll it up, and tie it with twine. They are the perfect size and texture for beak squishing, a beloved toucan pastime.
We also use the fronds from the palm trees as stuffing, sometimes allowing them to dry out to add a crispy texture or I sometimes braid them into strips.
Fallen coconuts, once dried out and hollowed, make another interesting container to stuff toys into. We have cut them in half to make little bowls and drilled large holes into the sides for peeking.
Just a quick safety note – be sure that any tree pieces you use, whether it’s the branches, leaves, or gauze, have not been sprayed with fertilizers or pesticides, which can be very dangerous to your bird(s).