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::: pine cone bird feeders

Holidays are a great time for nature walks and collecting treasures from the bush.

Our atuumn weather is so fantastic the children are able to spend most of the day outside playing and exploring.

On one adventure they collected a pile of pine cones and we thought it would be fun to make them into some native bird feeders.

All you need is peanut butter, native bird seed, string and open pine cones.

We tied the string around the pine cone so we could hang them in a tree. Wire would have been a better option but we didn’t have any!

We mixed the bird seed with the peanut butter …

– the children choosing to mix with their hands.

Such ooey gooey fun!

Once it’s well mixed all you need to do is stuff the mixture into the open cones.

You can use your hands …

or a knife.

Next they rolled the pine cones firmly into some extra bird seed to cover all the peanut butter.

Taadaa! … Beautiful native bird feeders.

We hung them in the tree and waited.

The very next afternoon we noticed our first visitors had arrived …

Beautiful rosellas …

and they really LOVED them!

PLEASE be aware that some children suffer from peanut allergies, which would make this activity unsuitable.



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12 Responses to “pine cone bird feeders”

  1. Rita Hinton says:

    For children that are allergic to peanut butter, lard or shortening could be substituted. Somebody once told me that lard or shortening is actually better for a birds digestion as well.

    ::: Rita that is really interesting. I also read somewhere, (and please don’t quote me) that water based P.V.A. glue is also okay to use and won’t hurt the birds?!?!? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  2. You have such big pine cones compared to our peely wally teeny weeny ones.

    ::: Really Juliet? We have ‘peely wally teeny weeny ones’ too, but you know us Aussies … always trying to beet the world at everything! Hee … hee … hee! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  3. Bron says:

    Could honey be used instead of peanut butter?

    ::: Bron years ago I read somewhere (somewhere) that the sugar in honey can crystalise on the outside of birds beaks and cause them problems … I don’t know if this is a fact but for that reason I have avoided putting honey in their water bottles. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  4. Elise says:

    What a treat for the children to seeing the gorgeous rosellas enjoying their creations. You have inspired me to do this with my cherubs and finally cross it off my ever growing “must try” list.

    ::: Oh good on you Elise! Have fun with it … we sure did. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. Laurie Dyer says:

    You can always use crisco/shortening instead of peanut butter!

    ::: Another great tip! Thanks for that Laurie. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. Jenna says:

    I heard that peanut butter isn’t good for birds. Something to take into consideration

    ::: OOOH! We heard that honey isn’t good for birds but we hadn’t heard about peanut butter. We’ll look into it … Thanks Jenna! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. Michaela says:

    I absolutely love your blog and it is a fundamental part of keeping me inspired as an early childhood educator. As a NSW WIRES career for injured or displaced native animals I have to express some concerns regarding this type of feeding of native birds. Any processed foods like peanut butter do damage to birds but particularly the risk of cross infection is of concern. Beak & Feather is a disease that effects many Australian bird species and communal feeders spread the disease rapidly from bird to bird.
    I hate to be a killjoy but I know you would all have the birds’ best interests at heart. The best way to go is to plant native plants that the birds can eat.
    I have only been volunteering with WIRES for the last six months and it has been an amazing learning experience which the children and families of my Centre have been sharing with me. At the moment I have a 3 week old rainbow lorikeet chick which comes to the Centre with me each day and the children love to help me care for it. Native fauna has become a shared passion in our Centre.

    ::: Michaela thank you so much for sharing that information with us. We certainly understand the need to allow wild birds and animals to fend for themselves in nature and would not like to see any of our beautiful Australian animals endangered by human intervention so we truly appreciate your comment. I have had a bit to do with a WIRES volunteer in the outer east of Melbourne who ‘specialises’ in kangaroos and have spent time sewing joey pouches and assisting her with her ‘babies’ … you guys are incredibly inspiring in what you do, both financially and emotionally with these wonderful animals … what lucky children you have to be able to share in your passion! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. kerri McCheyne says:

    What wonderful ideas!! The pine cone bird feeder is a beauty. I am going to do this with my three year old groups. Thank you for the inspiration. What a wonderful website to find..Thank you!!!

    ::: You’re welcome Kerri. Have fun with it! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  9. Amandah Taylor says:

    I love the idea with the peanut butter and the pine cones, but allergies make it a no go at our center. We made bird feeders one year by mixing one cup of bird seed with one egg, so each child had their own mixture. Then we lined terra cotta pots with baking paper and pressed the egg mix into those. Then we baked them on a low heat for a short time, just to cook the egg and make it hold together. Hopefully no one is allergic to eggs! Better for the birds than PVA glue too.

    ::: Thanks Amanda that is another interesting idea! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  10. Try suet for this project. Safe for kids and birds. Also make feeders using pipe cleaners or string and oat cereal that is not sugary like plain Cheerios.

    ::: This is another terrific idea Diane … Thanks for sharing it here! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  11. Gay says:

    We also have done these feeders, substituting tahini for peanut butter, same lovely consistence and we have had only one chd allergic to sesame seeds. One of the aides also suggested “Freenut Butter”, the nut free butter available at the supermarkets. We don’t make one for each child, so as not to impact on the wildlife…just a couple that are a group effort.

    ::: Great idea Gay … Thank you for sharing it with us! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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