Carolina Wren December 19, 2011
Last month, I helped with a Junior Naturalist Club at a local middle school. We made pine cones filled with suet and seeds for the birds. It was so much fun I decided to make some of my own.
Start with some pine cones (I had old ones that didn't have any scent on them). Tie a pipe cleaner (no ribbon!) around the bottom. Mix about equal parts of vegetable shortening and peanut butter in a big bowl, the stickier the better. Use a small spatula (the kids used plastic knives) to put the mixed suet into the crevices, then roll in wild bird seed and shake off the excess. You might want to do this outside since it's very messy. You should have seen the school children! I attached the pine cones to a burning bush shrub.
Downy Woodpecker December 23, 2011
The tufted titmouse came right away but this downy woodpecker was what I caught with the camera. Other birds I observed on the pine cones were dark eyed juncos, hairy woodpeckers, Carolina chickadees, Northern Mockingbird, and American goldfinches.
The Northern Cardinal kept looking at the cones but didn't eat--just cautious I guess. But he makes a great Christmas decoration just by himself!
By today, the pine cone feeders are almost empty so I plan to refill them in the next day or two. That's a lot quicker than the suet cakes which last almost a week.
I had to post a photo of my Christmas tree this year which I picked out myself from the Spruce Run tree farm only a few miles away. I had my pick from thousands of trees but found this one right away. I think we have more presents for the pets under it than for the two of us but that's ok with me.
Happy Holidays everyone!