So spring doesn’t officially begin for 13 more days (not that I am counting), but signs of winter’s end are all around. I spotted our first camelia blooming, the daffodils are poking their little yellow heads out, and I now hear the birds chirping when I wake up in the morning.
I remember when Sam first went to preschool, he came home with a simple bird feeder that they made in class. The teacher reminded the students (and parents) that it can be difficult for birds to find food at this point in winter, so we can help by putting food out. The garden is still a bit bleak, with the grass just beginning to sprout, but by placing a bird feeder in our tree we can see wildlife happening right outside our kitchen window.
This is a quick and easy activity to do with the kids and it is so satisfying to see the birds (and squirrels) show up so regularly! We used peanut butter, a pine cone that we found outside, and a birdseed mix from our local hardware store. You can use any mix of peanut butter, vegetable shortening, or suet (a high-quality animal fat) and there are lots of choices of birdseeds. One tip we have learned is that wire is necessary to hang the pine cone. In years past, we have very hopefully hung our pine cones with string or yarn and were quickly thwarted by motivated squirrels that will bite through the string and steal the whole bird feeder! So far, the wire has worked like a charm.
Pine Cone Bird Feeder
1 large pine cone
12 inch length of flexible wire (we used some picture hanging wire)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup birdseed mix
Wrap the wire around the pine cone, leaving a length at the end to twist around a tree branch. Spread peanut butter onto the pine cone, getting it into all the little crevices. Then roll peanut butter-covered pine cone in seeds on a dish. Hang from tree and watch the birds show up. Remember to choose a tree branch that you can see from a window in your house. It took the birds a day or two to discover our bird feeder, but it has been a week now and all the seeds and peanut butter are gone. Time to make another one!