Fall is the time to think of feeding the birds
Many people fill their bird feeders in the fall to help out the birds as their natural food sources become scarce. Cub Scouts, Brownies, and other children's groups begin bird feeding projects, too. They often make their own bird feeders as part of a badge that they are working on.
It is possible to make a pinecone bird feeder without using peanut butter
Scout groups, church groups, schools, and other organizations can make the very same craft without using peanut butter. It is simple enough to substitute suet for peanut butter. If any of the children in the group have a peanut allergy, there will be no allergic reaction when you use suet.
Where can you find suet?
Suet is sold in supermarkets and in discount stores in the bird seed and bird feeder area. You can also get it at your supermarket if you ask the meat department manager to save some for you. Suet is the fat that is cut off of beef before it is packaged and sold. Suet is a good food for birds in the cold weather because of its high calorie content that provides a lot of energy for them. Even better, there is no chance of anyone developing peanut allergy symptoms with suet if one of the children is allergic to peanuts.
Directions for making the pinecone bird feeder
To make the pinecone bird feeder, you will need a large pinecone or several small ones, sturdy ribbon, yarn, or string, suet, and bird seed. It is best to use natural pinecones that have not been treated with chemicals or perfume. Next, cut a piece of string that is around 8 inches long and tie it around the top of the pinecone. Form a loop to hang the bird feeder by joining the two pieces of string. Tie them at the top to make the loop. If you are making more than one pinecone, repeat these steps for each one.
Complete your bird feeder with these steps
You will need to soften the suet by placing it in the oven at the lowest setting until it softens. Or, you can microwave the suet for a few seconds. It must only be softened, NOT melted or it will not work. After the suet is pliable and the consistency of soft butter, spread it on waxed paper or parchment paper. Place bird seed into a bowl. Roll the pinecone in the suet and use a spoon or spatula to gently push it in between the pinecone sections. Then roll the pinecone in bird seed until it is well-coated, pushing the seeds down.
Hang your birdfeeder on a tree for the birds to enjoy
Your bird feeder is ready to hang, preferably near a window where the entire family can watch the birds eating from the pinecone. Remember to wash hands thoroughly after handling the suet. You may want to use vinyl or rubber gloves before handling the suet.
Using ingredients other than suet
If you are making the pinecone bird feeder for your family instead of a church, school, or Scout group and no one is allergic to tree nuts, you could use almond butter or cashew butter. Sunflower seed butter can also be substituted for the suet. Although the suet is a bit messy, it is safer to use in groups of children to avoid causing problems for anyone with food allergies.