Just before Thanksgiving I found myself with extra pine cones and other materials leftover from the National Wildlife Federation workshop at the Savvy Kids Conference (thank you, Marya!), so about 40 of our Caraway students had a chance to make some special holiday treats for the birds.
They spread a peanut butter/cornmeal mixture onto pine cones and then covered the pine cones in birdseed.
Then we helped them wrap up their pine cones for home transport.
Would you like to make your own bird treats at home? It’s easy and fun! Just make sure you don’t use scented pine cones — the cinnamon oil is toxic. Just stick with good ol’ natural plain ones.
1 cup Peanut Butter (chunky is great)
1 cup Lard or Suet (optional, but preferred)
2 1/2 cups coarse yellow cornmeal
1 box of raisins, cranberries, or other dried fruit bits
1 bag of Bird Seed
1 roll of ribbon
Tie a length of ribbon to the base of the pine cone for easy hanging on a tree branch. Mix the food ingredients in a bowl. Spread the mixture onto the pine cone, then roll it in the birdseed. You can press extra seeds onto the feeder to really pack them on. Then hang your feeder from the tree. It’s as easy as that!
These kinds of feeders are important for seed- and berry-eating birds in the winter. Because food is scarce in the winter, they need sources of fat, protein, and high-energy carbohydrates. Some birds you might see enjoying your pine cone feeders include chickadees, cardinals, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, titmice, and more.
Have fun with your treats and tweets!