Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Pine Cone Birds!

The pine cone feeders are attracting more birds to the back yard (see previous post on how to make them and more photos). While I've seen mockingbirds in the yard, they don't stick around nor feeder at our sunflower seed feeders. This mockingbird was feeding on the pine cones on Christmas morning.

Dark-eyed juncos are common but are seen on the ground below the feeders. Several juncos were also feeding on the suet in the pine cones on Christmas morning.

Finally, I saw a pair of Eastern Bluebirds feeding on the cones but so quickly I didn't get a photo. None of these birds have been back since. I guess it was just a Christmas present for me!

Happy New Year everyone!

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!