02/10/2011 01:31 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Kid-Friendly Bird Feeding Project


Photo courtesy of Fun in the Making

It's cold outside, it's the middle of February, and our feathered friends need our help to make it through the last few weeks (hopefully) of winter. Here is a simple activity that will get your kids outside, exploring nature and ultimately helping the birds get some food.

  • Go on a scavenger hunt and pick up pine cones (or any kind of seedpod) in the yard or, in our case, the local park.
  • Tie a string tightly to the top of the pine cone or seedpod.
  • Using a spoon, spread peanut butter on the pine cone or seedpod.
  • Roll the pine cone or seedpod in birdseed. Keep in mind, certain birds will be attracted to certain types of seeds. According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site, the sunflower seed attracts the widest variety of birds. Read here to figure out which kind of feed is best for your local birds. You can buy birdseed at pet stores, farm supply companies or landscaping nurseries or online.
  • Hang the feeders outside on a tree near a window for prime bird-watching.
  • Now sit back, get your binoculars, open up a birding book and get ready for feeding time. Have your kids help identify what birds are coming for a visit and keep track of when and how often the various birds come to feed. Click here for some basic bird facts. And if you want to take it a step further, register the birds you see with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society and contribute to science and conservation by adding to one of the largest and fastest-growing biodiversity data resources.

If you don't want to use pine cones, you can use stale bagels and follow the same directions. Or you can make bird feeder bowls out of empty orange or grapefruit halves -- poke holes in the sides of the "bowls" and tie strings through them for hanging. Fill them with peanut butter and birdseed.

Let me know how it goes. Happy Birding!

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