DIY Bird Feeder RecipeDecember 18, 2015
If you’re participating in your local Christmas Bird Count from home, start hanging feeders well before your count day to lure in a large bird population. Once they know yours is a tasty rest stop, they’ll be dropping by often!
We like to forage for pine cones rather than buy them. However, if you don’t have a foraging option, be sure that any you purchase haven’t been treated. If you have access to big sugar pine cones, consider yourself lucky. On our foraging foray, the best cache of cones we found were from a white pine. They work, but not nearly as well as those big, hard cones other pines produce.
DIY Bird Feeder Recipe & Craft Print
Materials & Ingredients
3-6 pine cones
(quantity will vary depending on the size of your cones & size of the openings of your cones)
6′- 8′ length of jute twine
1-1.5 cups unsalted peanut butter without added sweeteners or other ingredients
1/2-1 cup dry cornmeal
1/4 cup no-waste (hulled) bird seed or raw, hulled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries (optional)
From one end of your jute twine, measure about one foot. At that marker, loop the twine firmly around the branch end of your first pine cone and tie it off. Take care not to loop and tie it so tightly you snap the end off your cone. Do not cut the twine. Measure another length of about a foot and repeat tying your next cone into place. Repeat for as many cones as you wish to have on your garland. Be sure you leave plenty of extra on each end so you can tie the string onto your trees outside.
In a large bowl mush up the peanut butter. Then, begin working in the cornmeal a couple of tablespoons at a time. If your peanut butter is very dry, it will absorb less cornmeal. The cheaper cornmeal will make the more expensive peanut butter go further, but you don’t want it so dry it won’t stick in your cones. Once the mixture is still quite goopy, stir in the seeds and any berries. If your mixture becomes dry, add in more peanut butter.
Using your hands, squish your mixture into the gaps between the cone scales. Yes, it will be messy! And, be prepared to get some cone sap on your hands. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to fill all the gaps, we usually aim for the middle and call it good. The birds don’t care!
Gather your cone garland into your mixing bowl to take outside. Choose one of the ends of the garland to tie to a branch. We usually leave a loop so it’s easy to remove and refill later. Then, loop each cone that follows on the garland onto nearby branches. Tie off the final length of twine to secure your DIY bird feeder garland into place.
Grab your binoculars or camera. Stand in your favorite viewing spot, very still, and get ready for some birding fun!