Here is a simple bird feeder that any child can make with a minimum amount of help from an adult. This is a great activity for large groups of children in conjunction with a lesson on wildlife.
I used almond butter that I made in my blender. Cashew butter or peanut butter is fine to use. Ask about nut allergies first before starting a project like this. Peanut allergies would mean that the other nut butters would be a better choice. Children with nut allergies that are not peanut allergies may be able to use gloves when working on this project. be sure to tell all the children that this nut butter is for birds not for children. I have found that this works better if the children had a snack before working on the project.
Find out what kind of birds live in your area and at what time do they visit. Find out what kind of seeds they eat. I used a mix that birds that visit my area in late summer to early fall enjoy. I hung it in my grape arbor to give them an option of snacks besides pecking at my grapes. So far, I have had plenty of grapes to enjoy and I don’t mind sharing a few with my beautiful feathered friends.
- Cut ribbon to the desired size. I used 2 feet of ribbon but 18 inches is the minimum.
- Pour the seeds on a plate.
- Using the table knife, spread the nut butter on the pine cone. Do not put too much on the pine cone or it will be too difficult to handle.
- Roll the pine cone in the seeds on the plate. Scoop up some of the seeds and sprinkle them in the spots you missed.
- Press down the seeds using the table knife.
- Pick up the cone and shake it gently over the plate to loosen the extra seeds.
- Tie a ribbon to the top of the pine cone and you are done!
Storage and Use
This project is intended for immediate use. Nut butters do not last forever. It will be safer to hang it somewhere out of the direct sun so the nut butter does not melt. I chose to make my own nut butter because it is thicker than commercially made nut butters. It doesn’t melt as quickly. Cold weather acts as a refrigerator for this project. By putting this bird feeder out in the winter weather (away from the rain), you will help the nut butter stay fresher and give the birds a tasty treat at the same time.
This is a good project for children living in apartments too. If they hang it outside their window, they will enjoy having a visit from wildlife in the city. Be sensitive to children in a variety of living situations. Always provide a plan B for hanging this bird feeder. Present the idea of hanging these bird feeders outside the school or church window or at home of another volunteer.
If you choose biodegradable ribbon-like corn stalk strands or cotton string, you could make a number of them and let kids tie them in wooded areas. Do not leave behind synthetic supplies in wild areas or parks. It can be a hazard.