A long time ago I saw an idea to make a bird feeder out of pine cones and peanut butter. Several months ago when it snowed for the first time this winter, I asked Tadd to pick up some bird seed on one of his many trips to Home Depot hoping to get to the project on a snowy day. It's hard for birds to find food under all the snow and ice. And when I toss bread crumbs out on the snow, they just sink down and become a soggy mess that I have to clean up when the snow melts. For one reason or another we never got around to making the bird feeders in November. And then we didn't really have much more snow until it was time to pack up for Hawaii, and I didn't have time to make a big mess. Now here it is February and we're blessed with some more snow. It seems like the birds are all getting their nests ready for eggs and having food is more important than ever. So we broke out the supplies and got down to business. In case you want to try, here's a how to:
1. Cover the table with some sort of paper. You could use an old sheet like we do when painting, but chances are that peanut butter and bird seed will get spilled and if you use paper you can roll it all up and throw it away in one fell swoop. Plus, your kids can break out the crayons and draw on the paper while you get this project ready to go.
2. Prep supplies. You will need:
~medium pine cones
~peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
~twine, string or yarn
~paper plates or bowls
Use your scissors to cut lengths of string, twine or yarn. Tie these securely around your pine cones. You'll want to do this before they are covered in sticky peanut butter. Put peanut butter on individual plates for each participant. Put bird seed on another plate (again, one per participant). Place your supplies on the paper in front of each participant.
3. Using knives (I used little butter knives since they are shorter and also dull) slather the pine cones liberally with peanut butter.
4. Roll peanut butter covered cones in bird seed until the peanut butter is no longer visible.
5. Take bird feeders outside and hang them from trees that are visible from your windows. This was the hardest part for me, because I had to find someone to hold the baby while I used both hands to tie the string : ) I can take pictures with Nora in my arms, but not tie string to a tree branch. Thankfully Ezra can keep her off the ground for about 35 seconds these days. This comes in handy in a public restroom as well!
6. Dump excess bird seed off of plates onto ground under the trees.
7. Go back inside and watch for birds! All we attracted were squirrels. They were sure fun to watch. I wished I had used a video cam instead of still camera for this little guy. He tried to run away with the pine cone and when it stuck it whipped him back and he dangled comically. Don't worry, no squirrels were injured in this stunt.
Of course, it does not have to be a snowy day to make bird feeders. Summer time works just as well. Around here we just have to be careful not to do it on a rainy day or the little feeders would only last a matter of seconds.
This is a fun, cheap, easy project--enjoy!