Kids' Activity: Pine Cone Bird Feeder

by Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder

January is the roughest month of the year for our feathered friends. Feeders of all kinds help wintering birds make it to spring.

Are you looking for an activity to aid birds simple enough that even small children will be able to do? This one is perfect for all ages to create and enjoy! The birds are especially grateful for these in the winter!

Materials Needed:
• Pine Cones (1 for each feeder)
• Peanut Butter* (Buy the cheapest with least amount of sugar
   - can use lard or shortening if needed.)
• Melted animal fat
• Cornmeal or oatmeal
• Popsicle Sticks
• Pan or cookie sheet
• Birdseed
• Sturdy yarn, ribbon, or wire
• Optional - chopped dried fruit or suet, sunflower seeds

Instructions

1) Tie approximately 1 - 2 feet of yarn (ribbon or wire) onto the end of the pine cone.
2) Using the Popsicle stick, spread peanut butter all over the pine cone, being sure to get it down in all those nooks and crannies!
3) Roll the pine cone in the birdseed in your pan. You may wish to sprinkle extra on as well.
4) If using the optional dried fruit or seeds, press pieces in various spots. This gives it an added spark of color, plus is extra nutrition for the birds! Let the pine cone dry for approximately 2 - 4 hours or until it appears to be "set."

Peanut butter's sticky consistency occasionally causes problems for birds, so it should be mixed with melted animal fat and cornmeal or rolled oats.

Find your favorite branch and hang. We generally try to choose a spot where we can watch from inside the house.

It won't take long at all before your birds will discover your treat! Remember to keep your feeders well stocked once you begin feeding during winter months. Happy bird watching!

Julie Snyder is a mom of six, interested in kids, pregnancy, birth, people and lives in the outlying Seattle area. Melissa Jaramillo is mom to many. She's passionate about building, encouraging, and strengthening families on this adventure known as parenthood!

Copyright © Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.