Making your own pine cone bird feeder with your child is an easy, inexpensive project perfect even for young birders to make, and a great way to add an instant feeding station to your yard.
All you need are a few items:
Peanut Butter. Use crunchy or smooth. As a substitute, you can use suet, lard, or vegetable shortening. You can also use other nut butters, such as almond or hazelnut, but avoid sugar-free varieties that don't offer birds good energy.
String or twine
Something to spread the peanut butter with, like a popsicle stick or butter knife.
Head out with your kids and gather together your pine cones, which can be collected below pine trees in the fall. Cones that have fallen naturally are the best choice because they will be more open and familiar to birds. Be on the lookout for larger, broader cones that are fairly open. They will hold more food for the birds and are easier for birds to cling to. Do not use scented pine cones or any decorative cones that have been painted or glittered, as those chemicals can be harmful to birds.
Cut the string or twine into a 10-inch piece and attach it to the top of the cone. Avoid fishing line, dental floss, or other very thin threads that can create dangerous tangle hazards for birds. It’s a good idea to leave the top of the string open so you can tie it to a branch for hanging.
Smear the pinecone with peanut butter using the spreader. Coat the cone with a layer of peanut butter, as thick or thin as desired. Press some peanut butter between rows of scales, filling in larger gaps.
Sprinkle or roll the cone in birdseed, pressing lightly to stick the seed to the cone. You can also work the seed in between the rows of scales. Add larger seeds, nut pieces, or fruit pieces if desired, pressing them firmly into the peanut butter so they are secure.
Hang them up! Try to find a cool, shaded area or else your feeder may grow soft or melt. Hang the pine cone bird feeder from a branch or hook, in trees or bushes for birds to find it easily or even string several together for a longer feeder to feed more birds. Enjoy your bird buffet guests!