08 December 2006

Decorate an outdoor tree with birdseed pinecones

Jeff reminded me of an easy backyard winter project...a welcome diversion once the kids are home from school:

An inventive and inexpensive way to attract birds to your yard and feed them in the process is to make a birdseed pine cone. This little activity is quick, easy, and loads of fun for kids.

Note: those with peanut allegeries will want to avoid this one!

Here is what you will need:

  1. A couple pine cones, the bigger the better, from your yard or local park (simply run to the first pine tree you see and look down - you are bound to find some nice plump ones).
  2. Peanut Butter (buy some of the generic inexpensive kind if you do not usually stock PB in the cupboard)
  3. A small bag of basic bird seed (can be purchased from Target-type store or your local pet store).
  4. A couple spoons.
  5. A flat tray/container.
  6. String/Yarn.
  7. A tree/pole.

And here is what to do:

  1. Scout your location - find a nice tree branch, hammock pole, or lamppost to hang your creation. Make sure to place it in a visible spot so your kids can enjoy their handy-work.
  2. Tie the string/yarn to the pine cone. Make sure you have enough slack left to tie it to the tree brach/post.
  3. Lather up the pine cones with peanut butter. Use your spoons or hands. Don't be skimpy!
  4. Pour the birdseed into a flat tray or container.
  5. Roll the peanut butter covered cones around in the seed.
  6. Hang up our new bird feeder!
  7. Sit back and watch who comes for a snack!

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For the peanut-allergy crowd: Soy butter and sunflowerseed butter ('sunbutter') will also work. If they're too thin (sunbutter can be runny), mix in some cornmeal and/or flour to get a good thick paste.

would crisco work? I've never touched this project since we're peanut free around here.

Pine cone bird feeders using peanut butter -- straight off of Higglytown Heroes!

Yes, Crisco works well also. Enjoy!

You can also use cream cheese instead of peanut butter.

We live in the woods where pine tress abound, so I love this idea, and for the holidays I want to suggest using red twine or ribbon to tie the pine cones on the tree - I think it will be very pretty. Thanks, Kelly

We take an evening solstice walk each year on 12/21. The kids make these and other edible ornaments (like bagels slathered with peanut butter and bird seed, popcorn strings, etc), then we bundle the kids up, get out some laterns we've made and head out into the woods. We hike a ways by candlelight, then pick a tree and decorate it for the birds. Afterwards we go out for pizza. A couple of times we've gone back on Christmas afternoon to see what's been eaten.

It's a great way to take a break from all the holiday craziness and go for a candlelit evening walk!

Just the thing I was looking for: We live in an apartment building but I'd like to try this project with all the kids in the house... Is the PB just for sticking purposes or could we mix the birdseed beforehand?

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