Turning a pine cone into a bird feeder is easy, cheap and beneficial to wildlife. What could be better? So this makes it a perfect craft for any young budding ornithologist in the family!
Picking the Best Cone!
Now this is a great chance to get outside with your high energy bundles of joy. We were lucky enough to be able to appoint a head cone finder. They are so much closer to the ground it just makes sense! We gave strict parameters around the perfect cone and we went for the widest flatest type. Not all of the ones which had dropped off were open but when you get home just pop on top of the radiator for a while to dry them out.
Other things you will need
Nothing too worrying just a few ingredients you will have around teh house are required here. We used
twine we also use Wild Bird Food Seed Mix as a good mixture will invite a wider range of wildlife to your garden. We have also used lard, but you can try peanut butter or shortening as well. You will need a bowl for this to mix it in.
Serious Advice Time!! Our head cone finder is also our unofficial head mess maker. So for all that you love about your kitchen and home, do this outside on your porch or patio!! The seeds do and will fly very far and when they are greasy it will make your family laugh a lot, however they are the devils own seeds once greased!
Now I have attempted this with a spoon or butter knife. But who am I kidding? Get stuck in with your hands!
Wrap your twine around the top of the cone so that it goes against the natural spread of the spines.
Add the lard/peanut butter or shortening to the bowl. If using lard I would only pop around a quarter of a block in or two tablespoons of peanut butter. Then it is up to you how many seeds to add but roughly one cup will suffice. Then it is time to roll up sleeves and start squidging it all together. Our head mess maker has a co-captain who is a little smaller and much more prone to try and eat the mixture. Try to avoid this as even with organic seed mix it is still not ideal.
Now you are ready to gently push all of the squidgy seedy gunk into the spines. Be as generous as possible and poke it into all of the gaps in the cone. This is a very good free moisturiser for your hands too!
Now you need to find the ideal tree for your little ones to be able to see from their favourite playing spot in the garden, or the house.
Because I am something of the evil task master I have my mucky assistants make a few at a time and then we freeze them. You can wrap them in greaseproof paper first, that way you don’t need any single use plastic.
I use this as a way to get the kids thinking about Christmas Presents for the wildlife and there are lots of other ways you can encourage this. One of my favourite is the Festive Bird Feeder as it is just as simple and effective.
So all that is left is for me to find the perfect gift for the kids to really help them enjoy the garden and the wildlife that they are helping to keep alive!
I am looking between something like National Trust: Out and About Bird Spotter which is ideal for the younger reader or even Birds (Usborne Spotter’s Guide) which is for when Aunty Alex has to admit she isn’t all that great at bird spotting herself!
But I was also hoping to get them
Kids Binoculars as these look very professional but are actually shock proof! It’s as if they know kids very well?
As far as budget activities go this is a fun and easy one!
I like the look of the pine cones in the tree and I would love to see yours and learn which birds you all manage to encourage into your gardens!
When you create a bird feeding station you will be abel to observe them more closely. But why not make them a birdbox too?
Check out this other extra festive bird feeder as well. Why shouldn’t wildlife have a celebration in winter too?