My kids and I love birding! I touched upon backyard bird feeders in this post awhile back, but I thought it would a good idea to expand on that with some product recs. and our own pinecone birdfeeder tutorial.
Before we start, a few notes for the birdies…
Clean your feeders regularly. Only feed suet when it’s cool outside. If you have large picture windows, place some stickers/vinyl decals on them to avoid window strike injuries and deaths. DON’T feed bread. DO feed fruit, cracked corn, cornmeal, peanut butter, birdseed, and other nuts, etc.
Now on to the recs…
I’ve continued to expand and improve our back yard bird feeding area by adding more feeders and a bird bath. I did mention it’s addicting, right? We have one great tree that is viewable from our family room window that serves as a great perching location for the birds awaiting their turn at the feeders. If you don’t have a tree in your backyard that would serve that function, don’t worry! You can buy a feeding station like this one:
I bought this exact one for my own back yard to use in addition to the tree, as I was running out of branches to hang feeders from. Based on the reviews, I decided to zip tie it to our fence rather than putting it in the middle of the yard as it can be rather top heavy with multiple feeders on it. If you do put it in a more open area, plan to add a stake (or two) next to it for added support,
When it comes to which feeders to choose, there are hundreds of options. I know it can be overwhelming. Unless you are a super birder, it doesn’t really matter what you get. In the end, they all serve the same purpose. There are varying qualities and functions, but the way I see it, is that as long as you can put seed in it that the birds can eat, you are on the right track. Here are some of the ones I have to give you a starting point:
A suet feeder is a must if you’d like to attract woodpeckers.
I also have a large capacity hopper style feeder because my birds empty the smaller capacity feeders so quickly:
If you find that your large capacity feeder is not being emptied very quickly, you may want to downsize so that the seed doesn’t get moldy.
We are also huge fans of a window mounted bird feeder:
You’ll have to take the screen out of your window to be able to stick it on to the glass, but you won’t be opening the window during the winter anyway. Be aware of possible window strikes depending on the size of your window, and visibility of the feeder. We’ve never had an issue with window strikes, but it’s just something to be aware of. This type of feeder will give your kiddos an up close and personal view of their feathered friends and will drive your cat crazy.
Lastly, I can’t say enough good things about this doohickey:
You can fill this container with up to 5 pounds of seed and pour right in to your feeders. This is great for feeders with narrow openings or even when the littles want to help and you don’t want seed spilled all over the place.
Despite the fact that we have all of these feeders, I still love the idea of getting the boys even more involved with feeding and what better way to do that than with a messy activity?
Pine Cone Bird Feeders
You’ll need pinecones (duh), string or wire, peanut butter and birdseed. Cornmeal, nuts, dried fruit, cracked corn, are all optional add ons.
This is probably the most simple activity ever. There are only 4 steps:
- Put peanut butter on the pinecone.
- Roll the pinecone in birdseed.
- Tie string around pinecone.
- Hang birdseed pinecone outside.
Now you could mix things up a bit if you choose to put your string on first, or if you’d like to add cornmeal to the peanut butter before spreading (1 part cornmeal to 5 parts peanut butter, or whatever consistency you want) it on the cone. You could get super crazy and tie multiple cones together as well.
If you can, try to find the largest pinecones possible and select ones that are completely open. We found ours walking in to swim class at Del State University. Try to collect pinecones as you come across them so that you already have a collection started when the need for an indoor activity arises rather than needing to hunt in the bitter cold with snow on the ground. Oh, and have fun!!