Views from Southwest Virginia

Joan K

Joan K
Southwest, Virginia, USA
I'm a retired professor from Virginia Tech living the good life in the Appalachian mountains with my husband, a dog, and two cats along with lots of wildlife. I love reading, commenting and posting on Open Salon. Long live OS!


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DECEMBER 25, 2011 5:08PM

Holiday Gift for the Birds

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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!

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birds, nature, crafts, photography

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I think you are trying to tell me I'm a wood pecker. That's OK. Probably true. I'm also a grinch but I like the mode to your piece.
It's nice to have a hobby you love. I have a couple myself that help keep the sanity. It's my Sanity Claus.
The pine cones sound fun. Perhaps some sunflower seeds for the cardinal?
Yes, it's good to have a little hobby this time of year, as you say to keep your sanity. Watching birds is a good one. Happy holiday however you choose to celebrate it!
I do have a big sunflower feeder away from the house where the Cardinal goes. That also might be why it wasn't as interested in the pine cones. Thanks for posting a comment!
Beautiful birds and tree. Happy New Year~
scanner--thanks for visiting my blog and the comment.