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A Gift Made from Nature – Douglas Fir Cone Bird Feeder

i Dec 21st No Comments by

Observing birds in their natural habitat is a fun and uplifting way to connect with nature, and a great way to spend time together as a family and teach your kids to appreciate wildlife.

Getting to know the birds in your own backyard is one of the best places to begin. What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young is an excellent way to jump start or deepen your relationship to these wondrous winged creatures.

While observing birds during the spring and summer is full of excitement (mating, nesting, and fledging behavior abound), the winter can bring a change in the landscape: some bird species migrate away, others visit while migrating through, and still others stay close to home to stick out the winter months.

One fun way to continue to observe birds in the winter is to build a bird feeder. While not everyone agrees when it comes to the pros and cons of providing a little food boost for our feathered friends, it can provide a beneficial protein- and fat-rich supplement for insect eaters at a time when much of their diet is not available (many insects die or go dormant in winter).

At VWP, we practice connecting with nature in ways that are minimally invasive, sustainable, and honoring of the creatures and the place we all call home. Douglas Fir Cone Bird Feeders are a simple way to attract birds to your yard. When you hang them on a tree, they blend into the environment, allow for quiet observation, and don’t attract too many birds at once, thereby minimizing health risks and predatory behavior among accipiters.  

Douglas Fir Cone Bird Feeders

What you need:

  • Douglas Fir (or any other) cones, preferably open
  • String
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed mix from the store (add some extra sunflower seeds or chopped nuts for a higher energy bird snack)
  • Plate or pie tin

How to Make Your Bird Feeder

  1. Tie a string around the Fir cone.
  2. Use a spoon (or fingers!) to spread the peanut butter onto the pinecone. Make sure to cover the open areas of the cone.
  3. Place birdseed in pie tin. Roll and press seed onto the cone until well covered.
  4. Hang your fir cone feeder in a tree just outside you window. Try to place it away from the tree trunk so it’s more difficult for squirrels to get to it.

Enjoy observing birds at the feeder! Feel free to talk with your kids about what they see and encourage them to use field guides to learn identify and learn more about the different species that visit. This will hone their skills in observation and research and will help them develop an appreciation of nature.

For further learning, check out our upcoming workshop for adults: Messengers of the Forest – An Introduction to Bird Language.

 

 

 

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