How to make it yourself: A pine cone bird feeder
One of the most decorative, natural and tasty bird feeders can be created from a pine cone filled with nutritious seeds and suet, to create a perfect feast for many different birds.
There are a few different variations of suet - we used a recipe that includes animal fat, to provide a good energy source for different types of feeder birds.
- Pine cones that have fully opened
- Approximately 1 cup beef/mutton fat or a cup of cooking fat, from your local grocer (you can also get beef or mutton fat at your local butcher or supermarket)
- 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup Oats
- 1 cup wild bird seed – different mixes will be readily available at your favourite GCA garden centre
- You can also add dried fruit and nuts as an extra food source, if you didn’t use crunchy peanut butter
- A saucepan
- A mixing bowl
- Latex gloves
- A spoon
How it works
To create your pine cone feeder, take a length of string and tie it onto the large end of the pine cone, making sure you leave about half a metre in length to tie your feeder onto a tree later on.
Take the fat and cut it into smaller pieces, so it melts easier. Then melt it in a saucepan over a slow heat until it is almost all liquid and you have about a cup full.
In a separate bowl, mix together the peanut butter, oats and wild bird mix and make a well in the centre.
Once melted, carefully pour the melted fat into the seed mixture and stir, combining the mixture well.
Whilst it is still warm, put your gloves on, take your pine cone and slather the mixture all over it, making sure you get it right into all the little gaps – you can use a teaspoon to help. If the mixture is still a little sticky, you can take your stuffed pine cone and roll it in some of the extra birdseed to give it a crunchy coating.
Once the mixture has cooled, it will harden and you can take your pinecone out to the garden and hang it from a tree.
Make sure you hang it from a branch that you will be able to see from inside the house so you can see all your visitors! As soon as the birds have discovered this tasty treat, you will have a continuous flow of birds begging you to make more and you will be amazed at the range of birds that you can attract to your garden!