Feeding Birds in the Winter
BY LIFE ON THE BALCONY
As you're cleaning up your garden and preparing your home for the colder months, take a moment to think about your neighbors. Yes, of course, your human neighbors. But also the birds with whom you share your garden. They provide a valuable service. Many valuable services, actually. They eat insect pests. They pollinate flowers. They entertain us with their antics. And in the winter months, they could use a little help from us in the form of additional food.
Here is a modern take on the age-old pine cone bird feeder to help you feed the local avian population in style.
To make this bird feeder, you'll need a length of black building wire, an old photo frame (glass and backing discarded), pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Begin by wrapping a short length several times around the top, center of the frame. Tuck the tail under the loops you just wrapped to secure. Then form a larger loop from which the bird feeder will hang. Now wrap the wire around the frame at the top, center again to secure the hanging loop.
Now you're ready to start forming the random zig-zag of wires back and forth, up and down, on the frame. Each time you bring the wire to the frame, wrap it around the frame at least once before heading off in another direction. This secures the wire in place so the strands won't slide along the frame. When you've crisscrossed several times, slip the pine cones in between the wires. Criss-cross the wires a few more times, being sure to go over the pine cones to further secure them. Place a pan underneath the frame to collect drips and then scoop peanut butter onto the pine cones. Make sure the peanut butter gets into the nooks and crannies of each pine cone. Now sprinkle birdseed onto the pine cones so that it sticks to the pine cones. And you're ready to hang your bird feeder! In addition to hanging up feeders, be sure to leave berries on your bushes and let your flowers go to seed. Birds appreciate a diversity of snacks! For more tips and inspiration on feeding birds in the winter, stop by your local Dunsmuir True Value Hardware store for advice.
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