Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pine Cone Bird Feeders


My first ever author newsletter went out yesterday! YAY!!! I was thrilled about the number of people who signed up and the response I got, including how many people opened it.

THANK YOU! 

Next month's newsletter is going to be EVEN BETTER! ;)

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I love to do nature projects with my nephews. A while ago we made pine cone bird feeders. It was really fun and easy. And it’s perfect for the summer when birds are everywhere.

Need:
Pine Cones
Peanut butter
Bird seed
Paper plates
Plastic knives
String
Scissors



Instructions:

1. Go for a walk or hunt through the woods with your kids/grandkids for pine cones, but be careful because some pine cones can be sharp!

2. Cut about 4-5 inches of string. Tie it to the top spike on the pine cones. Keep the two ends untied for hanging.

3. Scoop out some peanut butter into a bowl.

4. Give the kids a plastic knife, place a paper plate in front of them, and have them spread peanut butter over the pine cones. My youngest nephew had fun putting peanut butter deep into the cones.
TIP: Closed pine cones are easier to smear peanut butter over.
My youngest nephew was very focused.

5. Once all the pine cones are coated, pour an inch or so of bird seed in a paper plate and have the kids roll their pine cones over it until all the peanut butter is hidden by seeds.
TIP: Give them a spoon to help them get seeds into all the nooks and cranies.
6. Bring the kids outside and have the pick out branches they want to hand their pine cone bird feeders from. If the branches are low enough, they can tie them on themselves or you might have to tie them on.

My oldest nephew liked finding spots for them to hang.

7. Sit back, be quiet, and watch for birds.

After my nephews and I put all the pine cones up, a Red Cardinal was already inspecting one.
TIP: If you sit long enough and get a lot of bird visitors, you can have the kids look them up in a bird book or online (Google birds native to your area, find a website with a lot of pictures, and have the kids point out the birds they saw.)

The next day, our pinecone birdfeeders were picked clean. One word…squirrels.

Those dudes are sneaky and clever! If you have a lot of squirrels in your area, they may devour the goodies before the birds can. I’m not sure how you can keep them away from these pine cone bird feeders, but they have to eat too, don’t they?
 
We saw one Red Cardinal creeping up.

QUESTION: Have you ever done this project with your kids, or when you were a kid? I remember doing it in kindergarten or first grade.


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59 comments:

  1. What a great project to do with your nephews. You're the best Auntie!! I've not made this but I recall making a bird feeder with my kids when they were young. It was a wooden kit someone gave us. I signed up for your newletter a few while back but I didn't receive it yesterday. I did get your blog post notice though. Should I sign up again or is my name on the list?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Aw! Thanks! I always try to do some kind of art project with them and I love ones that involve nature.

      Unfortunately, you hadn't confirmed your subscription to my newsletter. You're on my inactive list and I can't move you to active. I can try deleting your name, but you'll have to sign up again and accept the email confirmation. Check your spam. For now, I shared a link to the newsletter on Facebook and Twitter so you can still view it.

      Delete
    2. I'll sign up again. Thanks, Chrys :)

      Delete
  2. Glad the newsletter was a success!
    No kids, but I can see my wife making those.

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    1. They are fun to do, even for adults!

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  3. Those bird feeders are very cool!
    Hotmail tried to spam your newsletter but luckily I always check to see what's in there before deleting!

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    1. Phew! Good thing you checked. Hopefully, you can keep it from going in there in the future.

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  4. I remember making those as a kid! It looks like your nephews had fun, and I love the photo of the cardinal.

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    1. I made them as a kid too. In school. So I knew my nephews would have love doing it too. :)

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  5. Your nephews are so cute! (and lucky to have an aunt who does such cool stuff with them!) Conrats on the maiden newsletter!!

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  6. I did like your newsletter! I look forward to proceeding months of them :) That is a cute project with the pine cones; looked like you and your nephews had fun making a little treat for the birds (and squirrels) :)

    betty

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    1. Thank you, Betty! I am glad. Like I said, the next one will be better since this one needed a nice welcome message and thank you note.

      We did have fun. :)

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  7. That is so neat! I'm going to have to do that with my little guy. We have a suet feeder, but I don't put anything in there because the squirrels get there first every single time!

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    1. Those squirrels are pesky! I think your little guy will have fun with this. :)

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  8. Squirrels are sneaky. It's hard to keep the bird feeders out of their grasp, but I've found a pole with a hook at the top, some feet from any trees, helps some.

    This is a really cute idea! If I had anywhere to hang it, I'd totally try it with my kiddo. I love bird watching. :)

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  9. I have done those before when I lived in the north and the birds loved them. An easy, inexpensive way to lure the birds to your yard for some birdwatching. I love to do that, but here in the south I have so many squirrels, I use birdbaths to coax the birds to visit. They love it and I occasionally have a squirrel or two drop in for a drink. Looks like you had a great time and that is the most important thing of all.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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    1. Yeah. In Florida I have a decent amount of birds in my backyard every day but those squirrels are fast and sneaky. I want to get a birdbath!

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  10. That's just wonderful Chrys! To be doing together such 'projects' with the grandees can be most educational for them. And for us it is a fulfillment for extending the knowledge!

    Hank

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    1. It is enjoyable for everyone. And wonderful memories to share. :)

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  11. If I was a bird, I'd be tweeting, 'yum'.
    Your nephew is a cutie.

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  12. That is a neat project indeed. The birds, you and the kids happy as can be.

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  13. I probably did that when I was younger, and I know the local Orthodox day school does that with the kids in the early spring/late winter, in relation to one of the Torah portions. It's important to keep the squirrels away from it, though!

    I thought I'd signed up for your newsletter, but I guess my registration still didn't go through. Maybe this browser is to blame.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's so much fun to do, especially in early spring. That's when I did it with my nephews.

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  14. Never mind, the newsletter actually did show up in my inbox, though I didn't see it at first. I never got the confirmation e-mail, so I thought my sign-up hadn't gone through.

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    1. At the time, it hadn't gone through because the sign-up form I had on my blog wasn't work. I had manually added you. :)

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  15. We have Pine Tree's in our courtyard so one year I smeared peanut butter on a few and put some hamster food on it. It got so hot here 115F that the peanut butter melted right off the pine cone and fell in a blob on the ground. lol The birds still found it though.

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    1. LOL! I can picture that clearly.

      Birds will eat that peanut butter anywhere.

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  16. Unfortunately, I never made a pine cone feeder as a kid and didn't get to see much squirrels either. The only way to see them were to go to the park. That's the inner city for you.

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  17. Those look like fun. Maybe if you made the strings longer so they hang down further it would be harder for the squirrels to get at.

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    1. That would be a good idea. This was my first time doing it with my nephews. Trial and error. :)

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  18. This is a great idea but the squirrels would devour this. I'll tell my hubby about this. He was feeding the birds some bread but then all these seagulls were coming down and swooping in on him...I think I saw Hitchcock's shadow nearby:)

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    1. LOL! It wouldn't surprise me if Hitchcock was behind that. :P

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  19. Enjoyed your newsletter! Those bird feeders are "sweet"! (as my little cowboy would say;-) Squirrels can be such scoundrels, but I agree with Liz; hanging them on a longer rope might deter them. Great picture of the cardinal and your nephews were clearly into the project - how fun!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad. :D

      A long string will probably be better.

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  20. What a cool idea. Do the squirrels jump to the pine cones from the trees? I wonder what would happen if you placed peanuts on the ground away from the pine cone bird feeders. I wonder if that would keep the squirrels busy, or just incite more squirrels to visit the area. When you make the bird feeders do you use plastic gloves to insure there is no "human" smell to the feeders which might keep some birds away? I don't know if that's accurate, it might just be an old wives tale, but I always thought birds often stayed away from human smells. But I could be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The squirrels hang off the branches to get to the pine cones. I mean they stretch and stretch. I was watching this lil dudes and it was amazing. They even fought each other if another squirrel got too close. Never worried about a human smell on anything when I give the birds something.

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  21. The birds thank you. So do the squirrels. :)
    I haven't made any, but when I was teaching the younger grade classes made them and hung them in the trees. Sounds like fun.

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  22. My daughter loves pinecones so this would be a great thing to do. Our dogs growl if a bird even flies over our garden though, and they love peanut butter! Maybe we could just leave out the bird seed and it would keep them busy for a while. Looking forward to more newsletters.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Another thing I've done with my nephews is panting pine cones. It's fun!

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  23. Those look sticky! We don't do much to feed the wildlife around my house. If the birds and squirrels aren't quick, they get caught by my dogs. Plus some freaking hawk kidnapped fish from my pond. Grrr...

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    1. Sticky? Yup! You can say that again. lol But messy is fun with kids.

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  24. I did this as a kid--for the few years we lived in Virginia, we'd important Longleaf Pine cones (which didn't grow in VA) from North Carolina and they were a bit hit.

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    1. I surprised to see how many did this as a kid, as I did. :)

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  25. The craft is a Girl Scout staple, Chrys!!

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  26. Such a novel idea! Of course, I can't do something like put up a bird feeder, because my cats will think it's a lure. :-P

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    1. HAHAHA! My cats enjoy seeing all the birds coming to any type of bird feeder.

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  27. Such a fun project, and I know the birds love it!
    I need to get some pine cones, but at my house the squirrels would just tear them down and take them home. I do love the squirrels too, though, they need their share too.
    We never did things like this in grade school, wish we had! Bible school now that's a different story, very creative.

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    1. Of course, squirrels do need a treat, but they hog it all!

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  28. I make feeders with coconut shells, lard and seed - I'm definitely going to try fir cone versions now.

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    1. What you usually do sounds like a good idea.

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  29. I have never made one of these, though I do have a variety of bird feeders in my yard. I love watching birds. I remember making one of these when I was in elementary school. Thanks for the reminder. Great project! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I first made this in elementary school too. :)

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