Grandma Doesn’t Need Bird Feeder Plans For This Easy Fun


bird feeder, homemade, pine cone, peanut butter, bird seed

Pine Cone Feeders Need No Bird Feeder Plans

There is nothing I love more than my birds, unless it’s my family…  especially my grand children.  We love to do things together and going outside is one of them, even in the chilly winter.  The other day my oldest granddaughter and I were looking outside and we saw a lone cardinal on a leafless and twiggy looking little tree.

She called to me, “Grandma, look it’s a cardinal.  See him there in the tree.  Grandma, what’s he going to eat?  There are no leaves or bugs or anything for him.”

Well, said I, “let’s make a bird feeder for him out of the left over pine cones we used making our Christmas wreath.

What an afternoon of fun we had making, hanging, then watching our latest back yard bird feeder become the hot spot of the neighborhood.  We are not the only ones either, as you’ll see.

Easiest Bird Feeder Plans Around – A Christmas Treat For The Birds

This article maps our every step to a perfect homemade feeder:

Our winter birds will enjoy an extra treat as winter weather sets in. Get the kids involved to make a wonderful Christmas gift for your backyard birds by creating pine cone bird feeders.

You’ll need:

    Large, open pine cones
    Peanut butter
    Birdseed, chopped dried fruit or chopped nuts
    Fishing line, twine, ribbon or string
    Plate or dish
    Butter knife


Cut a long piece of twine and tuck it under the top sets of scales on the pine cone, then tie securely. Spread the peanut butter on the inside and outside of the cone. Sprinkle seed mixture on top of cone, then roll it in a dish of seed to get maximum coverage. Hang the cone from a branch near where birds are likely to shelter such as evergreens or dense shrubs.

Tip: If you have collected cones from the neighborhood, consider drying them on a foil-lined cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven for about 45 minutes with the door cracked. This will kill any critters and allow the sap to melt, making them much less sticky to work with.

Garden Tip is courtesy of Heather Prince, The Growing Place, 630-355-4000,

Making these was truly a treat for us and a very special treat for our cold, hungry feathered friends in our back yard.  We want to thank the folks at the Naperville Sun for sharing this story with us.  We hope you’ll enjoy making pine cone bird feeders too.

Which Bird Feeder Plans Are Best for Cardinals?

It is no wonder why cardinals are a favorite backyard visitor for people, particularly in the north. It is a site for sore eyes indeed to see

This combination clear sided, hopper bird feeder with suet cake areas at each end are perfect for attracting cardinals with black oil sunflower seeds and suet cakes.

Red Cedar Hopper and Suet Bird Feeder

its brilliant flash of red and dignified crested head when the landscape has yet to show its colors.  These birds are notoriously skittish, though, and drawing them to your yard can be challenging.  Here are some tips that can help.

Your cardinal bird feeder plans should certainly include black oil sunflower seeds. These have high oil content, which appeals to cardinals, as well as other backyard birds, including chickadees, finches, sparrows, and bluejays.  This is an excellent choice if you want to draw a variety of wild birds – and you want to do it economically.  They are a terrific value.  While cardinals will eat a variety of fruits and insects, especially during the mating season, as well as seed like millet, they have been known to pick through all the seed in a feeder to find the sunflower seeds.

Another important aspect in attracting the cardinal is using a hopper bird feeder that has clear sides.  Because these birds can be timid, it helps attract and keep them if they can see the seed.  Positioning the bird feeder correctly also helps ensure that the cardinals will come.

Place it in an open area, and if you can, make sure there are berry-producing shrubs nearby.  Yards with thickets or hedges are favorites of cardinals because they nest there.  You can also increase your odds of attracting these

Beautiful bright red, male, cardinal posing as the regal bird he is.

The Cardinal

birds by giving them a water source for drinking and bathing.

Remember, cardinals aren’t migratory birds, so feeding them in the winter is important.  Instead of purchasing a pre-made feeder, you can find a variety of bird feeder plans for hopper and platform feeders that will be just as effective and much easier on your wallet.  For the cardinal, my favorite is the type pictured here which is a hopper style feeder with suet holders at each end of the hopper.  If you build it yourself, you can be sure they will come!


Nestled on an Evergreen Branch the Birds Feed Safely

As we watch the winter last seemingly forever and see the birds struggling to find a bite eat, many of us will do whatever we can to make sure they find some.  In the desolation of winter, the birds remaining bring us great joy as

Nestled on an evergreen branch with snow layered everywhere, these three birds enjoy an oasis of food in the harsh surroundings.

Bird Feeders in the Winter - an Oasis

the reminder that all is well in the outdoors in spite of the weather.

My friends have commented to me how unsuccessful they have been at attracting birds to their yards during the winter months.  There can be many reasons for this ranging from the simple fact that the birds which would eat the food provided just aren’t hungry.  Maybe there is a ready source of food for them the next block over in a place they’ve been in the past.  Or maybe the birds near your house prefer something other than what you have provided.  Diets vary profoundly from species to species.  Some birds eat grains and seeds or fruit, while others eat insects and grubs.

Most likely though, it is the surroundings and atmosphere of one backyard as compared to another.  One backyard makes the bird feel safe and another does not.  If the bird feed you are using is attracting no birds to your yard, take note of where you are placing your feed.  Is it out in the wide open or right on your window sill in a place where the birds are easy for you to spot?  If so, you might be more successful changing your feeding locations.

While there is little cover in the winter as the trees are bare and the shrubs are too, realize the birds are uncomfortable out in the open eating with no cover at all.  Try placing your feeder in a tree or near shrubbery.  Regardless the level of foliage on the plants, the birds will feel safer in a location such as this.  Chances are you will soon see birds coming into your yard to feed if you make this easy change in feeding places.

After you’ve changed the atmosphere in the birds favor, then evaluate what you are feeding them.  Given the fewer birds in the colder climes during winter, in order to attract more birds, you will want to put more than one type of food out.

My recommendation is to start with some peanuts, some suet (hard uncooked beef fat), and table scraps such as bacon rinds, breads and crumbs, and some fruit pieces.  These items should cover most of the species and bring you good results for winter bird watching.