Issue 73
How to Make a Pine Cone Bird Feeder

Press the suet into a pine coneFirst, you’ll need to stir up a suet mixture. Suet is hard beef or mutton fat. Ask for it at the supermarket meat counter.

Bird eating from pine cone feederTo mix the suet, you must first melt it. Cut or grind it into small pieces, and heat it over low heat (or in a double boiler). As the fat melts, stir it until it’s mostly liquid. Strain the liquid into another container to cool a bit, and then it’s ready to mix. (If you don’t use it all right away, save the leftovers in the refrigerator to feed the birds later. It will solidify again as it cools.)

Once the melted suet has cooled slightly, mix it with the other ingredients below. (You can also add a little wild birdseed mix if you like, or save it all for the last step). Use a table knife or wooden craft stick to press the mixture into a pine cone. Once the suet-peanut butter mixture is on the cone, spread the birdseed out on waxed paper and roll the pine cone over them. They’ll stick to the outside and be easily accessible.

Tie on a short length of sturdy cord or yarn and hang the feeder outdoors. This feeder will attract a variety of birds, including cardinals and woodpeckers.

Materials List:

  • 1 cup suet
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup wild birdseed mix (to coat outside of cone)
  • Pine cones (choose ones that are fully open, so there’s plenty of open space)
  • Saucepan or double boiler
  • Table knife or wooden craft stick
  • Waxed paper
  • Heavy string