The pine cone makes a great natural base for a bird feeder, with an open structure that’s just the thing for stuffing full of nutritious and delicious titbits for our feathered friends during harsh, wintry weather
1 Collect medium to large pine cones. Don’t worry if they’re tightly closed – just bring them indoors for a few days or pop in the oven to encourage ‘blooming’.
2 Attach string to the tip of the pine cone, ready for hanging up.
3 Spread a layer of peanut butter, fat or suet over the cone, pressing in between the scales so it’s entirely covered. Place a mix of birdseed on a tray and roll the pine cone until well coated. Go for a general mix to encourage a variety of garden birds or choose something more specific to attract a particular species – niger seed, for example, is a favourite for goldfinches and greenfinches while peanuts are the snack of choice for blue tits, great tits and siskins.
4 Hang in a secluded part of the garden, near the shelter of a hedge or shrub to provide birds with a quick safe haven nearby if they need it.
5 Replenish once supply is depleted.