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Cheap and Easy-to-Make Garden Bird Feeders
Peanut Bird Feeder Made from Garden Netting
Cheap Feeders Can Be Made by Recycling and Upcycling
Any discarded household item that can hold seeds or nuts could be used to make a bird feeder. The blue tits above are feeding on a holder made from recycled garden netting. Net bags (the kind in which citrus fruit are often sold) are ideal for making feeders for birds that like larger seeds like sunflower. To attract birds that eat fine seeds like thistle, you can make a very cheap bird feeder from an old pair of tights or stockings.
Homemade feeders may not be as robust as commercially-made ones, but they are fun to make. Be careful to position them away from inquisitive cats and squirrels as their claws can easily damage these cheap and cheerful bird feeders.
The following video shows how to make a thistle bird feeder made from an old stocking or pantyhose.
20-Cent 2-Minute Pantyhose Thistle Bird Feeder
Do you invite birds into your backyard?
Bird Feeding in Winter
How to Make a Bird Feeder With a Plastic Soda Bottle
There are so many discarded plastic bottles in our towns and countryside. Next time you see one why not give it an environmentally-friendly use by transforming it into a garden bird feeder?
- The commercially produced “bottle top bird feeder kit” (see comment above) comes in two pieces. First check that the base piece (perch area) fits the screw cap size of your empty bottle.
- The hanger is attached at the wide (base) end of the bottle. You can make holes in the plastic using a bradawl or screwdriver. This is quite awkward to do and should only be done by an adult (not a child) to avoid accidental injury.
- And that’s it! Fill the bottle with bird seed, screw on the base and hang the feeder from a tree branch.
Feed the Birds Using Recycled Items
Recommended Seeds and Food Options for Bird Feeders
Finches, chickadees, titmice, cardinals, nuthatches
Sparrows, doves, juncos
American Goldfinch, Common Redpoll, Purple Finch
Suet (beef fat)
Titmice, chicadees, bluebirds
Birds Enjoy Fat Balls in Winter
How to Make a Fat Ball for Garden Birds
Store your waste fats and oils in closed containers until fall. Take a disposable plastic cup or other mold to make your bird feeder. Before putting any grease in your mold, hold a piece of string or wire in the center of the mold. This will be used to attach your finished fat ball to a branch or bird feeder pole.
Pour bird seed around the string or wire until the mold is nearly full. Leave a space of about an inch at the top. Then pour the used melted grease or waste cooking oil over the seeds. The fat binds the seeds together into a ball (or whatever the shape of your mold is). Place the full mold in a cold place for the fat to harden. As the fat it expands and will fill up the gap you left at the top of the mold. Cut away and remove the plastic cup (or mold). Hang your seeded fat ball from a convenient branch and watch the birds enjoy their winter treat.
Seed Feeding Station Made From Fence Netting
Keep the Feeding Station Clean and Hygienic
With so many birds coming to eat at your feeder, there will be a lot of bird droppings. The feces can transmit disease to both to you, other birds, and other wildlife. It's important you maintain hygiene around the feeding area by clearing accumulated droppings and disinfecting the feeders regularly.
Wash your hands after handling the bird feeders and make sure your children do, too. Any bird food that's not eaten within a day or so should be removed. Excess and moldy food will attract rats and other vermin. If the food is not getting eaten quickly, then reduce the amount you are putting out. A well-maintained feeding station will repay the effort and provide many hours of pleasure bird-watching from the comfort of your own home.
Ferris Wheel Takes Feeding the Birds to New Heights
Best Place to Put Your Bird Feeder
Successfully making your bird feeder is only half the process. To create a feeding station that's popular with your feathered friends, you need to locate it in the right place and maintain good hygiene to prevent disease.
The video below was made by Sussex Wildlife Trust, UK. It gives sensible tips on how to clean your bird feeders and where to site them for maximum enjoyment (for both you and the birds).