At this time of year it’s nice to give the birds in our garden a bit of a boost with some extra food and you get the benefit of being able to see lots of different species up close. Bird feeders don’t have to be expensive either – you can make your own.
There are many different ways to create your own bird feeder from household items so all you will need to buy is the feed to put in it. While there are many places where you can get bird supplies, it’s still very fulfilling to invest time in making your own bird feeder, it makes it all the more special for the birds.
Here are a few examples of different DIY bird feeders which you could make for your garden:
- Use a tea cup/mug
You can simply tie a tea cup in a tree by threading a ribbon through the handle and letting the cup hang down sideways. Fill it with food and smaller birds can land in the cup and eat the food. It looks pretty seeing tea cups hanging down in the tree and is a unique and practical bird feeder.
- Use a recycled plastic bottle
Try adding a base to a plastic bottle for birds to land on, then you can drill some holes in the bottle, fill it with food and hang it up in a tree. Birds can land on the base and the food will fall out through the holes for them to eat. You just need to keep it topped up.
- Use an old shoe
Why not fix an old shoe to a tree and fill it full of bird food for a unique and creative bird feeder. It will provide adequate room for the birds to land and eat from – just make sure you check it regularly in case the weather starts to rot the material it’s made from.
- Use wooden spoons
A different way to make a bird feeder with a plastic bottle is by adding some wooden spoons. Make some holes in the bottle to push the spoons handles through and then the food can spill onto the spoons while the bottle is hung in a tree. The spoons make the ideal perch for tiny bird feet to grip while they eat.
- Use an old milk carton
Take an old cardboard milk carton and cut a hole in it. You can fill it with feed and then push a wooden spoon through to give the birds a perch to land on. Just keep a regular check on it as if it gets wet the cardboard will start to get soggy and you will need to make a new one.
- Use a teapot
Hang an old teapot from the handle, in a tree and it can become a cute bird feeder and even a nesting box for smaller birds in the spring. Just put some feed inside and the birds will fly in and eat their fill while being sheltered from the elements.
- Use a piece of wood
For a really natural bird feeder take a piece of wood and hollow it so you can put food into the hollowed area, then hang it in a tree on a chain where it will look like a branch and watch the birds flock to it.
- Use pine cones
If you have pine cones in your garden, cover them with something like lard or peanut butter and then sprinkle them with birdseed before hanging them in a tree – you can make any number of these to help support the birds in your garden and they are a great DIY project for your children to take part in as well.
- Use your windowsill
If you don’t have any trees to hang bird feeders in then just create a small area on your window sill where birds can land and shelter, perhaps using some scraps of wood, and then sprinkle the food there instead. It will also give you the perfect vantage point from which to watch them.
While you can always buy bird feeders from pet shops these nine ideas mean you can feed and support the birds which frequent your garden in a far more creative and fun way, without spending a single penny.
All of these holders can be made quickly and easily by recycling other items, making them all environmentally friendly as well as bird friendly. From hanging tea cups and tea pots in the trees to creating a little birdhouse on your windowsill, there are plenty of ways to help feed your garden birds.
It’s always best to have food high up away from ground level to avoid attracting unwanted visitors to your bird feeder including rats and mice, so make sure you create feeders which are safe for birds to land on, up in the tree. Then you can just sit back and watch your feathered friends enjoying and making the most of your creation.
About Tim Rogers
Tim is a freelance nature writer. In his spare time he likes listening to podcasts about books.