Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bird Pine Cones and Holiday Decorations!

Carolina Wren December 19, 2011

I assisted Virginia Master Naturalist Debbie with the Junior Naturalist Club at a local middle school. We made pine cones filled with suet and seeds for the birds. It was so much fun I decided to make some of my own.


Start with some pine cones (I had old ones that didn't have any scent on them). Tie a pipe cleaner (no ribbon!) around the bottom. Mix about equal parts of vegetable shortening and peanut butter in a big bowl, the stickier the better. Use a small spatula (the kids used plastic knives) to put the mixed suet into the crevices, then roll in wild bird seed and shake off the excess. You might want to do this outside since it's very messy. You should have seen the school children! I attached the pine cones to a burning bush shrub.

The tufted titmouse came right away but this downy woodpecker was what I caught with the camera. Other birds I observed on the pine cones were dark eyed juncos, hairy woodpeckers, Carolina chickadees, and American goldfinches.

The Northern Cardinal kept looking at the cones but didn't eat--just cautious I guess. But he makes a great Christmas decoration just by himself!

I had to post a photo of my Christmas tree this year which I picked out myself from the Spruce Run tree farm only a few miles away. I had my pick from thousands of trees but found this one right away. I think we have more presents for the pets under it than for the two of us but that's ok with me.

Happy Holidays everyone!


  1. Really nice bird photos! What camera are you using? Getting a new Canon sx40 for Christmas. Your tree is very cool, great job. Our tree is up, too tall and has feel over once already, just lights on it right now. In the morning I'm cutting it a bit shorter than the 8 ft it is now.

    The lights photo, Meg hit the gas on the car as I was shooting it, easy, just move as you shoot.

  2. Gorgeous!! Your birdie photos are Gorgeous! And your tree is beautiful! I'm from Blacksburg, VA and there's a Spruce Run near there---that wouldn't be in the area you are talking about, would it? :) Happy Holidays!

  3. Beautiful photos as usual.
    Have a Merry Mountain Christmas!

  4. Webb--thanks and have a good holiday.

    Randy--I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel---early version (2005). It doesn't seem to do well on anything automatic anymore but I can still use manual settings. I used the 75-300 mm telephoto lens. I used my point and shoot on the Christmas tree.

  5. Angie--yes, the tree farm is on Spruce Run Rd, just a mile off of 460. The farm is quite beautiful.

    Jim Davis--Thank you!

  6. Wonderfully Christmasy photos! That first bird actually looks dang happy! Love it! The cardinal is amazing! Merry Christmas in the mountains to you!

  7. You lucky to have this beautiful birds right out of your window
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  8. What imaginative bird feeders and the Cardinal bird is so beautiful. I am signing up as a follower as your blog is very interesting. Glad to have found you.