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Winter Bird Feeders
Dec 18

Winter Bird Feeders

By Charity Grimes Bauman, Phipps Community Outreach Coordinator; Gabe Tilove, Phipps Adult Education Coordinator

Bird watching is a favorite winter pastime.   Many birds, like cardinals and blue jays, add a splash of color to an often snow-blanketed landscape.  Catching a glimpse of these winged, backyard friends is a treat!  Watching for different kinds of birds, seeing different habits, and wondering how far birds fly often leaves children amazed.

Attracting birds to your backyard can be accomplished by providing shelter and food; a bird feeder is a great way to attract feathered friends.  Better yet, a biodegradable feeder leaves no mess for you to clean up and they are eco-friendly.  With this in mind, pinecones are the perfect base for a bird feeder.  Conifers, like pine trees, provide birds with protection from predators so birds often nest in these types of trees.

Birds also enjoy eating the seeds that can be found inside of the pinecones.  But as the cold weather comes and food sources are scarce, you can help birds by making a suet feeder, which gives birds the extra fat and protein they need to survive the winter.  It will serve the birds that are over wintering in Pennsylvania and allow the budding nature observer to watch these critters in action all winter long!

To make a bird feeder you will need a medium-sized pinecone, shortening, bird seed, a paintbrush and string.


  • First, cut a 12″ length piece of string and tie it to the pinecone, then pour out the bird seed into a bin.
  • Next, spread the shortening on the pinecone- using a paint brush gives an even coating.
  • The final step is rolling your coated pinecone in bird seed.Tip: Placing the feeder in a quiet area of your yard or at the edge of a tree line is recommended.