While you are out for a Winter stroll, or out exploring the latest fresh powder in the mountains, keep your eyes peeled for pine cones that have fallen from the trees. Harvest some of these fallen cones for a fun and easy project that will foster children’s love of nature and spark their interest in the wonders of their own backyards.
One of the sloppiest bird-treat projects, the pine cone bird feeder, is also one of the most successful. It combines two foods that wild birds love, peanut butter and pinecones. Kids love to make it because it is hands on and easy for them to do with a little supervision.
Wild birds are attracted to the tiny seeds that are hidden deep inside pinecones. The tiny, lightweight seeds of many pinecones are popular with foraging birds. The tiny cones produced by hemlocks will attract small birds like chickadees and titmice, while larger pinecones will attract grosbeaks, crossbills and jays. Pinecones are natural to the birds and when they see it hanging, they will flock in to taste it’s delights. Peanut butter could be considered the perfect bird food. It is high in fat and full of protein. These are food qualities that are important to wild birds any time of the year but this is especially true in the winter when birds really need a boost.
I also suggest laying out newspaper before getting started to help make the cleanup a little easier and faster.
What you’ll need:
- Pine cone
- Paper plate/Newspaper
- Butter knife
- Smooth or Chunky peanut butter
- Ribbon or yarn
How to make it:
Cut a long length of yarn or ribbon to hang the bird feeder.
- Tie the ribbon in a knot around the pine cone near the top (about 3 sections down).
- Tie a knot in the end of the ribbon.
- Mix the peanut butter
- Use the knife to get a large clump of the peanut butter on the paper plate.
- Use the knife to spread peanut butter inside the pine cone and around the edges.
- Sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone or you can place the seed in a pie plate/paper plate and roll the cone to coat it in the seed.
- Hang the bird feeder on the tree.
- Enjoy watching the birds eat their treat!
- Keep a log book of the different species of birds that you observe visiting your feeder.
Have fun with this easy project and remake it trying new types of seed to attract different species of birds to your yard. Enjoy!