If you'd like to attract birds to your yard this winter, here's a fun and festive way to do it. Using pine cones, peanut butter, bird seed and a little yarn you can make ornaments that double as bird feeders to decorate your yard and trees this winter.
I've been making these pine cone feeders for several winters now and the birds consistently love them. They're a fun activity to do with your children, too. My five-year-old helped me make these and now he watches with pride when the birds are snacking on them.
The supplies you need are large pine cones, bird seed, peanut butter and yarn or string. Choose large pine cones that have plenty of space between the scales so they'll hold more peanut butter and bird seed. Be sure to use natural pine cones that do not have fragrance, paint or glitter added. I found mine at a garden shop, but you could also have a fun day exploring the woods and collecting your own if you have the right trees in your area.
Begin by spreading the peanut butter onto the pine cones. Make sure to work it way into the cones so they'll hold the most birdseed. Apply it generously. A couple notes about peanut butter: Some believe that it is bad for birds, but experts will tell you that it makes a nutritious snack for them. Avoid using it in hot weather, though, which will cause it to quickly get rancid.
Once the cones are covered, roll them in bird seed. To reduce mess, I poured our seed into an old ice cream bucket but any tray or container will do. Make sure to press the pine cones into the bird seed firmly to secure them to the peanut butter and push the seed deep into the pine cones.
You can also spoon the seed onto the pine cones to get into hard to reach areas. Shake off the excess when you are done.
Once you have your pine cones covered in peanut butter and bird seed, tie them securely with string. I loop the string around a ring of scales slightly lower than the top for added security. Be sure to use biodegradable string or yarn.
Once they are done you can hang them on your trees. Each year we chop down a real tree and place it on our deck outside my kitchen window. We decorate it with strings of lights and treats for the birds. Their favorite, by far, is the pine cone ornaments and I attract many varieties of birds with them.
This cute chickadee was thankful for the treat. He flew to our tree in the middle of a winter storm for a sustaining snack. He also liked the shelter our deck provided from the wind.
It was entertaining to watch this woodpecker reaching way into the pine cones to get the seed and peanut butter. She didn't want to share, either.
We have a flock of goldfinches that have been swarming our tree this year. We used to see them only in the summer so the pine cone ornaments provided a treat for them and for us!
This nuthatch seemed delighted by the peanut butter and bird seed pine cones. In every picture he has an adorable smile on his face.
Our juncos usually feast on seeds they find on the ground. Once the snow is thick, however, they come to the tree, too, and snack on the pine cone ornaments.
Throughout the winter I will reapply the peanut butter and bird seed as long as the pine cones look good. The birds enjoy it and so do I, plus it gives me a chance to get a little closer to them and get some excellent pictures.
I hope you will try making these pine cone bird feeders this winter. They are an excellent way to attract more birds to your yard and keep them throughout the year.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading 5 Easy Ways to Attract Birds to Your Yard. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter for more tips and ideas for enjoying your beautiful world.