Help the birds this winter

Help the birds this winter

How to make a pinecone bird feeder

A fun way to help…

 I would like to show you how to make a bird feeder using pinecones and peanut butter. You can just as easily make a bird feeder without peanut butter by simply replacing the peanut butter with lard. You can also use recycled yogurt pots or milk cartons turned upside down if you haven’t got any pinecones to hand however, I prefer to use natural materials wherever possible. Natural pinecones are just perfect for the job and it can a lot of fun looking for them whilst out on a family foraging walk.

Where to find your pinecones

If you are lucky enough to live close to a pinewood forest it can be a great day out collecting your own pinecones. Children become fascinated by collecting them and you will very quickly have enough to use for this crafty project. Remember to save a few pinecones for future projects too.

How to clean pinecones

Whilst out collecting it is important to look for clean pinecones which are at least 5cm to 7cm in size. Make sure that your hands are washed after foraging. I always recommend cleaning pinecones at home in a mild solution of apple cider vinegar, then placing them out to dry in a warm or sunny area. This way the pinecones will open out naturally providing plenty of little layers and crevasses for your birdseed mixture to stick to.

When to make a bird feeder?

This is a good question. Many wild garden birds will really benefit from some extra help in the winter months, particularly in cold or icy weather conditions. When the earth is frozen hard or covered in snow it is difficult for birds to forage naturally for bugs and insects hibernating underground. The birds will often look for berries on bushes and trees or little insects hidden between pine needle trees. If you can plant some berry bushes in your garden this will really help to attract more wildlife in the winter season. Remember to teach children that some of the berries growing on bushes are good for the birds, but not always so good for humans!

It is a good idea to make your birdfeeders in the winter months during this difficult time. However, once you start making them it is a good idea to continue with your feeding, as the birds will become more dependent on your help and will come to your garden in search of your gifts. Making your bird feeders at this time will ensure that the birds have enough high energy food and proteins to help them survive the cold winter days.

Steps to making your own bird feeder

  • Tie your string to the top of the bird feeder. Attach it well so that it won’t fall off and attract rodents to your garden.
  • Melt your lard; adult supervision is required, or use peanut butter if you want to avoid the cooker.
  • Stir in your birdseed and mix it well to an even consistency.
  • Carefully spread your mixture onto the pinecone. You can use a spoon but it is much more fun to use your fingers – warning, his can be messy!
  • Tie your fat ball feeder to a high branch in a tree – then watch and wait for your guests to arrive.
  • We like to use binoculars and keep a tally chart of the different types of birds visiting the garden.

If you would like to have a go at this at home we have the perfect kit to get you started with our ready-made pinecone birdfeeder kit

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