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* 4 Methods to Attract Winter Birds

Updated on February 16, 2017
Titia profile image

I love critter-friendly gardens, old roses, trees, and sometimes even dangerous plants like the giant hogweed. My garden is a biotope.

Feeding Birds in Winter
Feeding Birds in Winter | Source

DIY Log Bird Feeder and Ready Made Birdfeeders

You can either make your own bird feeder or you can buy one.

Making your own bird feeder is not difficult at all. Feeding the Birds in Winter is not only a good thing for the birds, but it gives the critter friendly garden owners a great opportunity to watch all the different local birds in their garden and city folks can watch the birds on their window ledges. Of course birds can survive in winter, they've done that for ages, but isn't if fun to make it a bit easier for them to find good quality food? There are lots of bird feeders you can buy, but it's also a lot of fun to make your own bird feeders. I'll show you 5 ways to feed the birds and several ways of how you can make your own feeders which hardly cost any money and I'm sure the birds will love you. I will also give some tips on what food is good for birds and what food is not good for birds.

1. The woodblock feeder

The Wood Log Bird Feeder Is Easy to Make

Wood log Bird feeder
Wood log Bird feeder | Source

The Cheapest Way to Feed All the Tits and Even Robins

Our neighbors gave us our first wood log bird feeder last year and it's such a success that I'm planning to make a lot of them for this winter. They are so much fun, so easy to make and the birds just love them.

To make this wood log bird feeder you need the following:

1. a log with a diameter of at least 4" (10cm) and about 12" (30cm) long (you can make it as long as you want to)

2. an electric drill with a tool to make round holes

3. some kind of not too easily breakable rope

Below I show you how to make this lovely, natural bird feeder

Step 1: Drill a Hole All the Way Through at the Top of the Wood Log

Drilling a hole in the wood log
Drilling a hole in the wood log | Source

Just below the top of the log you drill a small hole through and through, where you can put the rope through. The length of the rope depends on where you hang this log in your garden.

Step 2: Drill Bigger Holes Across the Wood Log

Drilling bigger holes in the wood log
Drilling bigger holes in the wood log | Source

Then you make bigger holes in the log on different places all over the log. They are about 1" (2,5cm) in diameter and depth. In my log there are 4 holes. Leave enough space between the holes, so the holes won't connect to each other inside.

Step 3: Mix Bird Seeds with Fat

Mixing the bird feed with fat
Mixing the bird feed with fat | Source

Melt one or two packages of fat shortening. Put the mixed bird seeds in a bowl and mix it with the fat shortening. Stir it well and let it sit for a while until the shortening has cooled off and has formed a firm mass.

I use the fat shortening from my New Year's Rosette Cookie baking.

Step 4: Fill the Drilled Holes in the Wood Log

Filling the holes in the bird feeder
Filling the holes in the bird feeder | Source

Filling the Holes Is a Messy Job

I advice you to put on some disposable latex gloves, because filling the Wood Log Bird Feeder is a rather messy job.

With a spoon or fork I scrape the filling loose in the bowl and then I take a bit in my hand and press it into the holes. I use both my thumbs to press it in firmly. When all holes are filled, the Wood Log Bird Feeder is ready to hang it outside in a bush or tree.

Step 5: Hang It in the Tree - the Birds Will Love You Forever

Hanging the wood log bird feeder in a bush or tree
Hanging the wood log bird feeder in a bush or tree | Source

How to Make a Bird Feeder

Searching for Fallen Seeds

Searching for fallen seeds
Searching for fallen seeds | Source

2. Peanuts in a net

The Spotted Woodpecker Eating Peanuts

Spotted Woodpecker eating Peanuts
Spotted Woodpecker eating Peanuts | Source

Easy to Make or You Can Buy Ready Made

Hanging peanuts in a net is not only for finches, but as you can see also the spotted woodpecker loves them.

This photo was taken through our front window. We have trained pear trees in front of the house and I just love hanging all kinds of bird food in them.

Sometimes I buy those netted peanuts, but most of the time I make them myself. Whenever I buy something in a net, like onions or oranges, I save the net for wintertime and then I fill it with peanuts and hang them in the trees.

A True Bird Feeding Story

Barn Owl in Winter

Barn Owl in Winter
Barn Owl in Winter | Source

The Owl in the Old Barn

Once upon a time we were house hunting and stumbled upon this beautiful old farm with a big barn, all in not such a good shape and the barn was missing some boards in the back. It was winter and the land was covered in snow. Suddenly we saw this beautiful Barn Owl sitting in a big gap in the back of this barn and as we still were kind of city folks at that time we felt sorry for the bird in this harsh winter. We decided to feed it and ever so often we drove over and put some chunks of raw meat in this gap and each time it was gone. So we felt a bit like owl rescuers and kept it going for several weeks, day I decided to stay a bit longer, hiding in my van...only to see a big cat climbing up and enjoying a delicious free dinner. I bet he wondered where this top notch catering came from.

We still continued to bring food, but gradually decreased our visits and in spring we stopped. We never bought the farm, it was too expensive for us at that time.

3. Bird Feeder Platforms

Easy Bird Feeder Platform

Easy Bird Feeder Platform
Easy Bird Feeder Platform | Source

My Own Bird Feeder Platform

My own easy bird feeder platform
My own easy bird feeder platform | Source

Easy to Make and so Much Fun to Watch

If you have a garden, you can use a bird feeder table. You can either buy one or make one yourself.

I like to make bird feeders myself from things that would have normally ended up in a dumpster. Recycling you can call it. I had an old broken French garden table and somewhere on a flee market I found two basins from some old kitchen sink I think.

Together they make a perfect Bird Feeder, because that sink thing has a hole in the middle so when it's raining the water can drip down to the ground.

In Summer I put the stop in the hole and use it as a water basin where the birds can splatter around.

Birds at My Bird Feeder Platform in Winter and in Summer

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bird feeder platform in WinterBird feeder platform in WinterBird feeder platform in WinterBird feeder platform in WinterIn Summer I fill it with water
Bird feeder platform in Winter
Bird feeder platform in Winter | Source
Bird feeder platform in Winter
Bird feeder platform in Winter | Source
Bird feeder platform in Winter
Bird feeder platform in Winter | Source
Bird feeder platform in Winter
Bird feeder platform in Winter | Source
In Summer I fill it with water
In Summer I fill it with water | Source

360° Fly-In Is a Panoramic Bird Feeder for the Avifauna Enthusiast

Sometimes You Need a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Mayard Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Mayard Squirrel proof Bird feeder
Mayard Squirrel proof Bird feeder | Source

When You Do Want to Feed the Birds, but Not the Squirrels

In the Netherlands we don't have that many squirrels close to the homes like I saw in the USA, unless maybe when you live in or near the few woods we have. Squirrels are known to be very clever as it comes to stealing food from the birds, so they thought up Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders.

They're available in all different shapes and sizes. So if you want the birds to get the food and not the squirrels, maybe a squirrel proof bird feeder is the solution.

4. the Natural Bird Feeder: a Tree or Bush with Edible Fruits in Winter

Crabapple Tree Fruits - Malus Red Sentenial

Crabapple Tree fruits - Malus Red Sentenial
Crabapple Tree fruits - Malus Red Sentenial | Source

Blackbirds Love to Eat the Fruits Right of the Tree

One of the loveliest trees in my garden is the "Malus Red Sentinal" or also called the Crabapple Tree. It's a tree that gives you pleasure two times a year, once in Spring, when they blossom with their beautiful big white blossoms and once in Winter when they show off their red fruits, which the Blackbirds love to forage on.

So, if you have a garden and if you have the space, plant a Crabapple Tree, they come with red and yellow fruits.

Below you'll see some photos I took of a Blackbird eating these fruits. Unfortunately I had to take them through the window and we have still 'old' glass which isn't very clear.

Blackbird Eating the Fruits of the Crapapple - They Drop Them from the Tree and Eat Them on the Ground

Blackbird feeding on crabapples
Blackbird feeding on crabapples | Source

How to Select a Crabapple

© 2012 Titia Geertman

Let me know if you're feeding the birds too

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    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 2 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I love to watch birds from our feeders! And the squirrels too - they really show off their acrobatic skills on those "squirrel proof" feeders!

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      We have recently hung several feeders, and love to watch the birds while having our morning coffee. I love it when the colorful birds like gold finches and cardinals show up.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Would like to. Can't where I live now. Great lens.

    • VineetBhandari profile image

      VineetBhandari 4 years ago

      i love to feed birds early morning

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      That's a good looking log bird feeder. Thanks for the instructions.

    • profile image

      Spikey64 4 years ago

      I have some hanging bird feeders set up in the top corner of my yard and I get some great photo's of birds feeding.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i like to feed birds.great article

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I lived out in the woods for a number of years and used to feed the wild birds on a regular basis. I had a double layer bird feeder so the squirrels and birds could each have their own section. (The squirrels planted most of their seeds though so I wound up with a wonderful sunflower crop). Loved it.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago

      Wonderful lense.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens thanks for this.

    • profile image

      SquidooColouringPages 5 years ago

      Nicely done

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      very cool pics, article and video, Blessed!!!

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      The kids and I like to feed birds but we end up feeding squirrels as well. I guess I should invest in some squirrel proof bird feeders.

    • NatureLuver profile image

      NatureLuver 5 years ago

      Enjoyed the lens. We too feed birds.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love seeing wildlife and great articles about people helping birds ... *blessed!*

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing.

    • peachplanet profile image

      peachplanet 5 years ago

      I'm getting my drill out :)

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 5 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      @miaponzo: I googled and there are lots of birds in the Kuwait desert, but I don't think they need feeding LOL

      Ostriches . Grebes . Shearwaters and Petrels . Tropicbirds . Pelicans . Cormorants . Bitterns, Herons and Egrets . Storks . Ibises and Spoonbills . Flamingos . Ducks, Geese and Swans . Osprey . Hawks, Kites and Eagles . Caracaras and Falcons . Pheasants and Partridges . Cranes . Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, and Coots . Bustards . Crab Plover . Oystercatchers . Avocets and Stilts . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and Coursers . Plovers and Lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Skuas and Jaegers . Gulls . Terns . Sandgrouse . Pigeons and Doves . Parrots, Macaws and allies . Cuckoos and Anis . Barn owls . Typical owls . Nightjars . Swifts . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical Rollers . Hoopoes . Woodpeckers and allies .

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Thanks for all those bird feeding ideas.. I live in the Kuwait desert... I'm not sure what kind of birds to feed here! :) Blessed!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      Love your lens! Great ideas - thanks!

    • profile image

      greenlungsofpoland 5 years ago

      A wonderful lens i used to love watching the woodpeckers fly in for peanuts at my little welsh cottage sadly the woodpeckers are scarce in Poland we are more likely to see a red squirrel or deer than many of the birds i use to enjoy feeding.. nice pictures

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Your collection of bird feeders is beautiful!! :)

    • profile image

      nursecraft 5 years ago

      I love this lens-original ways to feed the birds! I like the fly-in feeder! Nice lens!

    • noel rocs profile image

      noel rocs 5 years ago

      This is a super awesome lens! I love it!! I love birds and I've been feeding them for the last 5 years (at my house), but last year I took in 6 foster kitties and now I'm scared to feed the birds :( I feel bad because there are birdies everywhere--sitting on top of my empty feeds. Think I should come up with a better way to do this so that I can have cats & birds, but no problems :) To Home Depot! Great lens.

    • FalconFan LM profile image

      FalconFan LM 5 years ago

      Love this lens! We're always looking for new ways to bring more birds around :) Thank you!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 5 years ago

      All excellent bird feeding ideas! We also hang fatballs and put up a window feeder so that my toddler could see the birds up close :) It is so important to feed the birds in winter. At the moment here in England we've got blackbirds, robins, blue tits and sparrows all gearing up for the approach of spring (and yes, squirrels too!). Love the bear video. No bears here!

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 5 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      @LynetteBell: Ruud Kleinpaste is right when you feed ducks on land, it's better to feed them in the water, than the bread will get wet anyway. Thanks for the good advice.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      There are a couple of neighbors here who have created a bird feeder using a plastic soda bottle. They just cut a hole in the side and hang it from the tree.

      We have a lot of ducks in the reserve across the road and loads of people take stale bread to feed them. I heard Ruud Kleinpaste (expert in insects and animals in NZ) say you should wet the bread before feeding the birds because the bread will swell in their stomachs.

      Friends of ours attach an apple to a little stand for the birds that visit their garden.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      We don't have too many birds showing up here in the winter,They come back at Springtime.