Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun Friday: Make a Pinecone Birdfeeder

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard

The idea: Create an eco-friendly birdfeeder using string, peanut butter and pinecones.

This idea was inspired by fellow nature-loving blogger, Marghanita of the Little Humbugs. She even posted a great video on collecting pinecones and making the feeders, which is how we knew what to do.
Our notes from the field:
I put this activity off at first because I knew we didn’t have any pinecones in our backyard. It’s even rare for us to find any on our neighborhood nature walks.

But when we visited nearby Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, we hit the pinecone jackpot. Not only did we have fun exploring the park’s Olympic Forest, we also found some perfect pinecones for our feeder.

Later that day, my 5 year old and I headed to the backyard with some string, peanut butter, a knife and our birdseed. I made the first feeder, just to show my son how it was done.

He was anxious to make his own and did so in just a couple of minutes.

We were both sticky but proud of our creations and eager to hang them up for the birds to enjoy!

Take-home tips: This was a fun nature activity for my son and I alike. A couple of notes if you’re thinking of trying it:
  • Don’t worry if you can’t find pinecones. There are plenty of other large items that fall off the trees in our neighborhood that would have worked just as well.

  • Watch the Little Humbugs video first. My 5 year old would have loved Marghanita’s video and been that much more inspired to hunt for the perfect pinecone. He also would have understood how to make his own feeder without any help from mom!
Have you ever made a bird feeder with your kids? I’d love to hear what items you used and how it turned out!


  1. Great photos! Thanks for the mention and link to the video. Thrilled to see so many kids outside collecting cones to make bird feeders. Thanks Deb for sharing your sons delightful feeder and helpful tips.

    You'll have to go on a stone/pebble hunt for the next video-will keep you posted.
    Marghanita x

  2. We have been trying to feed the birds at our place, but they don't seem to like coming to a feeder (pinecones are not an option here, of course, although I'm sure we could make this with something else). I have been advised by a nature-loving gardener friend of mine that I should scatter seed first to get the birds used to being fed before I introduce the birdfeeder. A bit off topic but this is what came to my mind after reading your post ...

  3. We haven't done that but I want to! We have plethora of pine cones around here. Good idea! We used them to make turkeys around Thanksgiving.

  4. Marghanita, thank YOU for the great video, which made this fun activity come to life. We really enjoyed it! Can't wait for the next installment!

    Catherine, we actually hung another birdfeeder about a month ago, which helped the birds start to take notice of our backyard. Hope to read a post about your backyard bird feeding adventures! :)

    Sharlene, I'd love to hear what your kids think of this activity!

  5. I have done this activity so many times with groups of kids -- it never fails. And if you can't find pinecones, grab a bagel! :-) Bethe @balmeras

  6. We did this today and look forward to seeing who takes to it!

  7. Update:

  8. What an awesome idea! At my parents house we have an abundance of bird feeders, but all shop bought ones (particularly the kind with the dome on the top to try and stop the squirrels wrecking them!). The pine cones look like great fun! And probably fairly squirrel proof as they won't be big enough for them to hold on to!

    My Mum is a teacher, and always looking for ways to encourage the kids to join the nature club she runs, and for fun activities for the kids to do!

    Sarah (

  9. @Sarah: Thanks for stopping by for a read. Hope you pass on the info to your mom! :-)

  10. ***FYI***
    When making Pinecone Bird Feeders, you MUST Mix peanut butter with REGULAR BUTTER!! {Lard or suet works as well.}
    The regular butter keeps the peanut butter from sticking to the birds beak and mouth to PREVENT CHOCKING!
    I have a Pinecone Birdfeeder recipe on

    So Glad I found your site!!! This is Awesome!!
    It always makes me smile when parents teach children about nature! ~ Enjoy! PineConeLady

    1. Hi PineConeLady! It's lovely to meet you, too!

      Thanks so much for sharing about the importance of using butter with these - and for including your link. Looks like you have a lot of wonderful ideas for enjoying pinecones.


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