CRAFTS AND DIY

Make your own pinecone bird feeders

When I was a little girl I enjoyed making peanut butter pinecone bird feeders during the cold and short winter days. It is a quick and simple project and also provides a nourishing treat for wild birds. And although we’ve always lived in cities, it is a great way to engage with nature — whether you bring them to the countryside, or hang them in an urban tree in a local park, outside a window, or tie onto a fence in the neighbourhood. It is a fun little project, helps feed wildlife, and provides entertainment while learning about your local bird species. Ideal! And any child that can hold a spoon can make these.

Materials:

  • pinecones
  • peanut butter (or if there are allergies at home use suet instead)
  • spoon or knife for spreading (hands work great too!)
  • birdseed (the smaller the better so they roll on nice and neatly!)
  • aluminium foil or parchment paper
  • baking sheet
  • string / wire / fishing line
  • scissors

First we foraged for pinecones locally in Hampstead Heath. (You can also buy pinecones too!)  And if you live somewhere with enormous evergreen trees then you are twice as lucky, because the bigger the pinecone, the more impressive the end result.

After collecting the pinecones, bring them indoors and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminium or parchment paper. Then pop them into the preheated oven at 300 degrees F (150 C) for about 20 – 30 minutes. It forces them to bloom open fully, removes dampness, kills any little critters, and dries out the sap! So basically, a great step for any pinecone crafts.
Once your pinecones have cooled, spoon or spread on the peanut butter, avoiding the top inch of the pinecone. Then roll the pinecone in birdseed. It is fun and easy. (A tray underneath is a good idea for clean up!)
After the pinecones have set for a few hours (we waited overnight), tightly tie string or wire around the pinecones. (You could do this first, but our initial strings got very mucky from the peanut butter. I think it is dependent upon the age of your children.) We strung all of our pinecones together to make a garland.
 
Then bring the feeder outdoors to your birdwatching spot of choice. (Tie it away from the trunks of trees unless you want to feed squirrels.) Your feeder will entice beautiful birds to visit and snack while you stay warm relaxing indoors with a cup of hot cocoa (or babyccino:)) watching from the window! We chose a frosty morning to hang our feeders outdoors while we were visiting their grandma in the countryside, so it was good timing for the hungry birds. Frozen or snow covered grounds make it harder for birds to find food after all.
Hopefully this simple feeder will provide hours of entertainment (and educate your kids on feathered friends). And a local book on bird watching is always a good idea to have on hand too. We love this one for UK birds.
Enjoy!
Lara
xx

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Comments (11)

pepi
January 13, 2017

great idea!


Lara in London
January 13, 2017

Thanks! Hope you enjoy making them.


Esther in Amsterdam
January 13, 2017

Love this! (And such pretty photos!!) x


Lara in London
January 14, 2017

Thanks!
xx


January 14, 2017

[…] How to make pinecone bird feeders. […]


Lara in London
January 14, 2017

Thanks for sharing! x


Carter
January 14, 2017

If for some reason pine cones aren’t available we have also made them with our kids with the cardboard leftover from toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls.


Lara in London
January 14, 2017

Great tip and use of recycled material too! Thanks for sharing.


Mary Cronin
January 14, 2017

You do such an amazing job teaching people to do this, which we always did when you were a child. Good memories!
Mom


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Helene AKA Croque-Maman
January 26, 2017

These would make a lovely addition to our birdhouse. I need to find pinecones… thank you for sharing x


Vicky in Amsterdam
February 5, 2017

Such a sweet craft for the kids and the hungry wildlife! I’ve seen many little birds scavenging through the leaves in our local park – we’ll have to make them some of these treats to find 😉 xx


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