What do you do with beautiful dried pine cones, make pine cone bird feeders of course! Well the winter is the perfect time to harvest and create crafts and homestead diy projects with these natural elements.
Enjoy watching wild birds fly to your pine cone bird feeders hung around your backyard homestead. It won’t be long until you start recognizing thier song as these feathered friends come to dance and feed.
On the plus side, the birds need extra love this time of year as backyard birds need food for the winter especially when it’s cold enough to snow.
HOW TO MAKE A PINE CONE BIRD FEEDER
Pine cone bird feeders are a super simple diy activity to do and can be done with preschoolers. In fact, I did this activity as a child and am now happily making them with my own children.
It only takes a few ingredients to put your very own bird feeder together.
A pine cone bird feeder is a simple cheap project for your family homestead that even preschoolers can make with you. It’s a great way to add wildlife activity to your backyard oasis and enjoy watching the beautiful feathered friends in your local area without leaving home.
These feeders are quick and easy to make and require very little materials. In fact you most likely have these items around your home and can forage for the perfect pinecones in your neighbourhood.
The late fall is often the perfect time to find the ideal pinecone. The pinecones that we found are from a white pine tree. Large, wide and natural cones found at the base of the tree are ideal.
Don’t think about using decorative cones you have left over from holiday decorations as they often have glitter or other unnatural substances that can be harmful to birds.
We used our pine cones as decor on the mantel for the holidays, along with our painted white mason jars and fresh pine and cedar branches. simple, beautiful and frugal.
Make a day of it and go for a pinecone hunt.
Before you use your pine cones to turn into bird feeders, completely dry them out so that the cone is fairly open. If unable to find open cones or it’s wet from the weather, then you can dry them in the oven at 150-200 F for several minutes.
I went ahead and placed mine in front of our wood stove. It’s important to note that wether you put the pine cones in the oven or by a woodstove that you might have sap where the cones once were.
Once you’ve gathered your pine cones and left a few for the nature to enjoy it’s time to prepare the rest of your materials.
A pine cone bird feeder also requires twine, yarn or string about eight to ten inches long, lard, and a mixed birdseed.
You’ll also need a placemat, a shallow dish and a butter knife or spreader.
MAKING THE PINE CONE BIRD FEEDER
With a few simple steps and the materials gathered from above you will easily put together your own pine cone bird feeder to enjoy from your kitchen window in no time at all.
This project took a matter of ten minutes when completing with two preschoolers. The mess easily takes just as long if not longer to clean up so go ahead and lay everything out that you’ll need before starting.
Start by preparing the pine cone, tap off any debris and remove lose scales or if there are too many close together make room for the seeds and butter.
Tie the string or twine around the feeder a few scales down from the top of the pine cone. I wrapped the twine around the cone twice and knotted it, and placed the loop at the top to easily hang from a branch in a tree.
Next, use a butter knife or pastry brush to coat the pinecone in lard. a popular option is peanut butter, but any butter will work including lard, nut butters, or vegetable shortening work well.
In this picture I used corn syrup in hopes that the seed would stick better in our current weather but lard is better for the birds and actually works much better for holding the seed in warmer wet weather.
Once the pine cone is covered then it’s time to roll it in the bird seed. Any backyard birdseed mix from your local farm and garden store will work just fine.
I suggest making several at a time, and place in the freezer to place out throughout the season.
Your new pine cone bird feeder can be hung almost anywhere. Try hanging from your hanging basket hooks, from fence posts, or a branch on a tree.
And there you have it, a super simple bird feeder DIY project to do in the dead of winter. Something that warms your heart by creating your winter garden into a oasis and feeding zone for your feathered friends.