Christmas for the Birds ... and a Horde of Others


CindyMurphyBlog.jpgThanksgiving weekend, Shannon asked me if we could go to the nursery, closed for the season, and collect pinecones. The weather was beautiful – sunny and warm for late November. Keith, Shannon, I, and the dog spent the afternoon enjoying the outdoors in one of the last truly autumn days we’ve had. While they played with the dog, I cut boughs of white pine, blue spruce, hemlock, yew, juniper, and holly boughs from the fields and woods on the property. Then we all collected a crate of pinecones from beneath the tall white pines that make up windbreaks throughout the nursery.   

I planned on using the boughs and berries to decorate our front porch, and in basket arrangements to sell at Baragar Pines Farm.   

holiday baskets 

Shannon wanted the pinecones to make birdfeeders. I’ve taught this project a few times over the years to children’s groups, as well as Shannon and I doing it at home. It’s a simple and quick project that the kids always seem to enjoy ... probably because it’s messy also. (Before getting started, I recommend covering the surface you’ll be working on with newspapers, or a plastic table cloth.  I keep a table cloth for just such purposes – it’s easy to wipe clean and store away until the next messy project presents itself.)

Pinecone Bird Feeders 

Materials needed: 

12/27/2011 6:26:24 PM

Good point, Chris; thanks for bringing it up! I did some drilling on the Internet too because I certainly wouldn't want to do or recommend anything that would harm the birds. I found a lot of references dispelling the "myths" (because that is what some sites call it - a myth) that peanut butter is harmful to birds. Two trusted sites specifically, the Audubon Society, and Cornell University, state that peanut butter is not harmful to birds; in fact, both sites list pinecone peanut butter bird feeders as a way to attract birds in winter. Those that are worried about it being too sticky can add cornmeal to the mix, and those worried about the salt or sugar content can choose a low salt or low sugar peanut butter....but there's no scientific evidence birds will be harmed by eating peanut butter. Again, thanks for bringing up a concern many people might have. Hope you had a great Christmas also!

Chris Davis
12/26/2011 11:55:14 PM

The Christmas baskets look great, and making the pine cone feeders sounds like a lot of fun - and sticky! At least the birds didn't have to go without. When I mentioned your article to some friends they said the local radio said don't use peanut butter which surprised me. A quick check yielded nothing definitive - just a precaution that salted peanuts adversely affected their hearts. Some sites suggested peanut butter. Personally, I don't think it's a problem since you are talking about a Christmas activity and not a winter feeding program. Hope you had a great Christmas!

12/26/2011 7:14:25 PM

Cindy, yeeeah, I've been through this teenage phase before. I guess I can do it again. No wait he's only seven years old. Is that the new teen? Oh, I hope not.

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