Birds love foraging and food! No better way to offer it up than in a pine cone!
It can be one of the messiest bird-treat projects but also one of the most successful! It combines two things birds love most, foraging and food! Birds will be attracted to the Tropimix bits that are hidden deep inside the pine cone.
- 1 medium to large sized pine cone
- ¼ cup Tropimix (Small Parrot works best)
- ¼ cup unsalted natural peanut butter
- 1 to 12 inches of twine or sisal string (no polyester blended string)
It is best to choose pine cones directly from the tree (select trees that have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals). Avoid pine cones that have deterioration or have been on the ground as they could be contaminated with fungus.
To clean a pine cone, place in a baking dish and pour boiling water over it and let steep for about 15-20 minutes. This will help destroy any insects or bacteria that might be lurking in the cone. Drain the water and then bake the cone in oven at 120°C (250°F) for 30-40 minutes.
After cooling, take twine or sisal string and tie around the tip of the cone, or at the bottom – whichever you prefer. Leave enough string length to tie to your bird’s cage.
Spread a layer of peanut butter on a baking sheet. Pour Tropimix in a shallow, medium size bowl.
Roll the clean pine cone in the peanut butter, then in the Tropimix. Try to push the larger Tropimix ingredients in between the pinecone sections so your bird will have to work a little to get his favorite nibbles. Once your bird is finished with his Peanut Butter and Tropimix pine cone, cut the string and remove uneaten remnants from the cage.
For variation, try using almond butter as an alternative to peanut butter!
Don’t have a pine cone handy? Use a cardboard paper towel tube and punch holes on either side. Pull string through holes in the tube, then spread peanut butter all over the tube. Roll it in the seed and there you go!