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A Little Bird Told Me  
Making a Pinecone Bird Feeder


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Gerber Life Family Times Archive

FunAs the days of winter tick along slowly, some pass the time with a watchful eye to the sky. Their eyes subconsciously scan the trees and ground—just waiting for the first flash of red from a robin to mark the much-anticipated coming of spring. In some areas, the winter food options for birds may not be sufficient to lure them to your yard but a pinecone birdfeeder is an easy project your child can make that may bring some feathered friends your way.

What you will need:

  • A large pinecone (available outdoors or at craft stores)
  • Peanut butter
  • A plastic knife
  • A plastic, zippered food storage bag
  • Safety scissors
  • Birdseed (sunflower, safflower, thistle, millet seed, etc.)
  • String or yarn
  • Cookie sheet
  • Newspaper
  • Paper or plastic cup

Start your project by laying out a layer of newspaper on a table or flat work surface. The newspaper will help catch stray birdseed and make clean up that much easier. Cut a length of string or yarn approximately 1 foot in length. Tie one end of the string securely to the upright end of the pinecone (pinecone scales pointing upward). Remember that the pinecone will be tied to a tree or some other elevated object and the string must be secure enough to hold the weight of a pinecone packed with peanut butter and birdseed.


Now your child can begin the fun task of adding peanut butter to the surface of the pinecone. The stickiness of the peanut butter will hold the birdseed in place and also adds a bit of protein for the birds. You may want to place a quantity of peanut butter in a small bowl with a flat bottom, which will make accessing the peanut butter a bit easier for young hands. Gather a small amount of peanut butter on the tip of the plastic knife and work it into the spaces between the pinecone's scales. An optional way of working peanut butter into those spaces is to place a quantity of peanut butter (0 to 1/2 cup) into a zippered plastic food storage bag. Work the peanut butter into the a corner of the bag, zip the bag almost closed, roll the top down slightly to remove excess air, and zip the bag closed. Continue to work the peanut butter into the corner of the bag and then snip off just a small portion of the bag's corner. Now you have the basic equivalent of a cake decorator's piping bag. Your child can take the bag and, while gently squeezing from the top, he or she can fill the pinecone crevices while you hold and turn the pinecone. If you need additional peanut butter, start with a new bag (don't worry—they're cheap!).

Once the pinecone is covered with peanut butter, it's time to apply the birdseed. Place a layer of birdseed on the cookie sheet and place an additional quantity in a cup. Let your child roll the covered pinecone back and forth through the seed to adhere it to the peanut butter. You may also want to hold and turn the pinecone while your child uses the cup to pour additional birdseed into the crevices between the pinecone scales.

And just like that, you have a birdfeeder! Place your feeder outside near a window so your children can watch as the robins, blue jays, chickadees, and sparrows make their visit for a bite to eat. Be sure to place the feeder high enough and away from locations where cats may be able to catch visiting birds off guard.

Once you start feeding the birds, stick with it. Depending upon the weather conditions and availability of food naturally, the birds may become dependent upon your food source being there and available.

Just another quick, easy, and inexpensive project for your kids and "this one's for the birds!"

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.

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