Make Your Own Decorative Garlands to Feed Winter Birds

My Garden Life
January 1, 2020
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Winter is tough on outdoor birds, especially in areas where snow makes it hard for them to find food on the ground. Scattering seed for your backyard birds helps, of course, but what if you could feed the birds and decorate your landscape with colorful bird feeder garlands at the same time? Well, you can with this simple project to string edible and attractive treats for your feathered friends.


  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Large sewing needle (long needles, such as doll needles, are easier to grip)
  • Butter knife
  • Pine cones
  • Peanut butter
  • Fresh cranberries (frozen cranberries will work too)
  • Citrus slices
  • Apple pieces
  • Air-popped popcorn, no butter
  • Bird seed: Black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, millet, peanuts – whatever mix you prefer

Steps for Making a Bird Feeder Garland

1. Prepare you pine cones. You’ll need a pine cone for the beginning and the end of the garland and, if you like, every foot or so along the length of the garland. Spread peanut butter on the pine cones then roll them in a mixture of different seeds. Place on a cookie sheet, newspaper, or wax paper (for easy clean up).

making a pine cone bird seed feeder

2. To begin the garland you can either cut a piece of thread the length you want right from the start, or figure it out as you go. By stringing and pushing the treats along the thread, and unwinding more thread as needed, you can cut the thread when you reach the desired length. Your garland can be just as long as you want it to be.

threading a cranberry and popped corn garland

3. Continue threading the cranberries, other fruit and popcorn to create the garland. When done, tie one pine cone on each end. You can tie on more pine cones along the garland if you wish.

threading a cranberry and popcorn garland

4. Drape your garland on a bush or tree where birds like to feed. Make sure you can see your handiwork–and the birds enjoying it–from your window.

Ornament hooks are an easy, inexpensive way to hang the garland or individual pine cones more securely to tree branches. They’re also great to use for creating a scalloped, draped-effect with the garland and they’re easy to remove from the tree branches later.

garland made of cranberries and popped corn draped on a spruce tree

There’s no need to use all of the listed ingredients and you should feel free to add other bird-friendly fruits to your garland. The project is a great one to do with kids, though they may need some help with the large needle. Consider making the peanut-butter pine cones outside. Any spills can be left for the birds to clean up.

Winter can be hard on your backyard birds, but you can help by providing them easy-to-access food. Not only will you be doing a good deed for your feathered friends, you’ll be enhancing your winter views with colorful garlands and the cheerful birds they attract.

More Ways to Feed Winter Birds

For another DIY project that will have the birds flocking to your yard this winter check out this easy-to-make and oh-so-cute suet feeder.

home made cookie cutter suet cake


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