Unless you live in a very rural area, you may have to take a trip to the zoo to see abundant wildlife. Yet even city-dwellers can enjoy the beauty of wild avian friends. You’d be surprised at the variety of birds that will show up to your yard if you simply welcome them with some fruit or seeds. And although you can purchase bird feeders at any pet store, garden center, or even Walmart, they are really very easy to make on your own, without spending a lot of time or money. Here are ten creative do-it-yourself bird feeders that you can make today:
- Wire Fruit Hanger. Intertwine two strands of floral wire (or a similar type of wire) and use pliers to coil the wires into a spiral that increases, and then decreases, in size. Leave a few inches uncoiled at the top to make into a hanger. Insert slices of oranges into the feeder, hang it from a bush or tree, and watch the birds appear.
- Thistle Feeder. For several years, I’ve purchased “bird socks” full of thistle seed for the finches in our area. They’re relatively cheap and can be purchased at both pet stores and Walmart. Yet, you can make your own thistle feeders by using any sort of tightly-woven mesh bag that you have on hand, such as a bag used for fresh garlic or even panty hose. Fill your bag with thistle seed, tie it at the top, and use a string or shoelace to attach it to a tree.
- Cheerio Bird Feeder. This cute and simple feeder is fun for the kids to assemble. Take a few pipe cleaners, thread them with Cheerios, and then bend them into interlocking shapes, such as circles or hearts. Use a ribbon or string to hang from a tree.
- Recycled Soda Bottle. Remove the label from a clean and dry soda bottle. Using an Xacto knife, make two sets of small X’s, each set at the same height on opposite sides of the soda bottle. Then place two old wooden spoons through the slots to make perches on each side of the bottle. (You may need to widen the holes a bit so seed can come out.) Turn the soda bottle upside down, fill with seed, and hang using twine or string wrapped around the body of the bottle and then tied up top to create a hanger.
- Stale Bagel Feeder. It really doesn’t get any easier than this! Just take half of a rock-hard bagel, slather it in peanut butter, and dip it in birdseed. You can hang with a simple string, or you can use one of the above-mentioned Cheerio feeders to loop through your bagel and serve as a hanger. My kids and I have made this feeder several times, and it’s proven to be a big hit with both birds and squirrels alike.
- Coffee Can Feeder. Thoroughly rinse a used coffee can (do people still buy coffee in cans?). You may, if you desire, paint the outside with acrylic or spray paint to make your feeder festive. Use a can opener to cut off the metal bottom, and cut the plastic lid in half. Turning the can on its side, glue one half of the lid on the bottom of each open end of the can, to keep the seed inside the feeder. Use a piece of twine threaded through the feeder to hang it on a tree. Check out Factory Direct’s blog for pictures.
- Pumpkin Feeder. This is a great way to make an eco-friendly, biodegradable bird feeder. All you need is a hollowed-out pumpkin and some birdseed. Cut off the top half of the pumpkin, string it up on a sturdy tree (either wrap twine around the entire pumpkin body or make holes in the sides of the pumpkin to create a place to tie the twine), and fill with seed. You can push twigs into the sides of the pumpkins to make places for the birds to stand. This is very cute for the fall!
- Orange Cup Feeder. Another natural feeder option, orange cup feeders simply require orange peels cut in half. Slather the insides with peanut butter (as the birdseed “glue”) and then fill with seeds and/or nuts. Stick the orange cups on sturdy branches, and your backyard birds will have lovely, and fragrant, bowls from which to feed.
- Toilet Paper Roll Feeder. Don’t toss those used cardboard toilet paper rolls! Just smear them with peanut butter (are you sensing a theme here?) and roll them in seed. The best part about these feeders is that you don’t need string; you can just slip them onto branches. You can, if you wish, tie a string through the roll to have it hang.
- Cookie Cutter Feeder. These attractive, solid feeders require gelatin, which you can find in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Mix an envelope of the gelatin (such as Knox Gelatine) with a quarter cup of water and bring to a boil. Once the gelatin has dissolved, mix in three-quarters of a cup of birdseed. Lay cookie cutters out in wax paper, and fill with the birdseed mixture. Add a loop of twine through the birdseed and let cool overnight. Now all you need is a place to hang them! Check out Design Dazzle’s blog for pictures and a step-by-step guide.
Birds are smart little creatures. Once you put out one feeder for them, they will keep coming back day after day for more treats. So experiment with different types of feeders and seed, and keep your eyes open. You’ll soon be rewarded with a host of lively, fluttering guests.