As the sun warms the earth with its gentle rays in the spring, you may notice the return of a wide array of feathered friends singing joyous songs in the early morning light, and waking the kids perhaps earlier than you would like! Now is a great time to welcome the birds with a snack as they relocate to your neighborhoods or continue on their journeys north. Try making this Pine Cone Bird Snack with your little ones.
You will need:
• One pine cone
• Enough string for hanging
• Honey or peanut butter
• Bird Seed (small granules work best)
• One sandwich bag with zip closure large enough for your pine cone
• Newspaper, plastic wrap, or other material to protect the work surface and make clean up a cinch
Begin by dusting off the pine cone from any pine needles or dirt that may have settled on it. Giving it a good shake to the beat of a bird song or blowing on it works just fine. Holding the widest part of the pine cone up, tie the string under the first set of scales that is open enough to allow the string to slide in it. Remember to allow enough string for hanging and work the string into the grooves in order to have it hang vertically, without leaning.
Working on your protective material, lay the pine cone down and drizzle honey into all the nooks and crannies of your pine cone. Roll the pine cone to access all sides. If you decide to use peanut butter for this step, using the tip of your finger, try to spread and work the peanut butter into the grooves.
Next, fill your sandwich bag with some bird seed. Drop the sticky pine cone inside the bag and seal it up. This is the fun part…shake, shake, shake the bag until the pine cone is covered in seed. Remove the seed covered pine cone from the bag and hang in a desired outdoor location. Add a decorative ribbon bow to the string just above the top of the pine cone if you wish. (Note: Honey can sometimes drip. If excessive dripping occurs, place the pine cone in the fridge for an hour or so to harden the honey.)
Be still, listen, and watch both the snacking birds and your impressionable children as they discover different species of bird, their songs, and bird behavior. You may have just opened a new world of wonder!