Picchuneter: Unveiling Argentina’s Quirky Bird Feeder


Jun 13, 2024


Nestled in the heart of Argentina, a unique tradition thrives – the use of a picchuneter. This handcrafted device isn’t your typical bird feeder. It’s a fascinating contraption designed to attract a specific bird, the picahura, also known as the burrowing owl.

This article delves into the world of the picchuneter, exploring its history, construction, and the cultural significance it holds in Argentina.

What is this?

  • Picchuneter: A traditional Argentinian bird feeder specifically designed to attract picahuras (burrowing owls).

It is a handcrafted wooden structure with a long, slanted pole that leads to a platform at the top. This platform serves as a perch and dining area for the picahura. The unique design allows the owl to feel safe and secure while feasting on the treats left for it.

How Does it Work?

  • Estancia Owners: Landowners who manage large ranches in Argentina.

Traditionally, estancia owners, who manage vast ranches in Argentina, construct picchuneters. They place them strategically around their properties, often near fields or pastures where rodents, the picahura’s natural prey, are plentiful. Estancia owners fill the platform with food scraps, such as small pieces of meat or insects, to attract the owls.


The picahura is a natural predator of rodents, including mice, voles, and even snakes. By attracting picahuras to their land, estancia owners benefit from a natural and eco-friendly pest control solution. The owls keep rodent populations in check, protecting crops and livestock from damage.

Beyond Pest Control

The picchuneter serves a purpose beyond just pest control. It represents a harmonious relationship between humans and nature. Estancia owners, through the picchuneter, actively encourage and support the local wildlife, creating a symbiotic connection.

The Cultural Significance

It holds a special place in Argentine culture. It embodies the values of respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all living things. Seeing a picahura perched on a picchuneter is considered a sign of good luck and fortune for the estancia.

A Symbol of Sustainability

It is also represents a sustainable approach to pest control. It avoids the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides, promoting a healthier environment for both humans and wildlife.

Building a Picchuneter: A Simple Guide

While It might seem like a complex structure, it’s surprisingly simple to build. Here’s a basic breakdown of the materials and steps involved:

  • Materials: Wood planks, nails, hammer, saw, and rope
  • Steps:
    1. Cut wooden planks to create a platform and a long, slanted pole.
    2. Assemble the pole and platform, creating a sturdy structure.
    3. Secure the pole upright using a sturdy base or by anchoring it into the ground.
    4. Attach a rope to the top of the pole for hanging purposes (optional).

Local Variations

The exact design of a picchuneter can vary depending on the region in Argentina. Some may have roofs to provide shade for the picahura, while others might have additional features like decorative carvings.


What kind of bird does a picchuneter attract?

A picchuneter attracts the picahura, also known as the burrowing owl.

What do you put in it?

Estancia owners typically fill the platform with small pieces of meat or insects to attract the picahura.

Are this common in Argentina?

It is a traditional fixture in many estancias across Argentina, particularly in rural areas.

Can I build a picchuneter in my backyard?

Yes, you can build a picchuneter in your backyard, especially if you have an owl population in your area. However, local regulations regarding attracting wildlife might apply, so it’s best to check before building one.


The picchuneter is more than just a bird feeder; it’s a symbol of respect for nature, a testament to human ingenuity, and a reminder of the delicate balance between humans and wildlife. By attracting picahuras, these handcrafted structures promote a sustainable approach to pest control and celebrate the beauty of Argentina’s unique birdlife.

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