Whether you're an avid birdwatcher or just want to add some character to your garden, a bird feeder is a great way to attract colorful songbirds and other interesting feathered friends. A DIY bird feeder adds an extra personalized touch to your home. As an added bonus, they're inexpensive and fun to make. Building your own bird feeder is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Many birds enjoy bowl-shaped feeders, and an orange peel is the perfect size and shape for smaller songbirds. Simply cut an orange in half and scoop out the interior flesh until you mostly only see the white rind. Fill the hollowed-out peel with seed, then use a small macrame hanger, knotted twine, or a knitted or crocheted pouch to hang it on your porch or from a tree in your garden.
Instead of just throwing away your old bottles, you can turn them into quick and easy bird feeders. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. You can attach the bottle to a fence or wall, make a macrame hanger to let it dangle just above a table or other flat surface, or build a platform from wood or hobby board with a holder for the bottle. For a basic bottle feeder, cut a large opening from the side of a plastic bottle to create a spot for the birds to perch and access the food. Fill the bottom with birdseed. Suspend the bottle from the neck, or fasten it to a fence post.
While many species fly south in search of warmer climates in the winter, there are plenty of northern species that stick around all year. Food can be scarce during harsh winter weather, so a fat-filled suet cake is a delicious source of nutrients for them. There are multiple ways to make suet, but most involve mixing lard with birdseed and dried fruit. Some also add peanuts or other sources of nutrients. Warm up the lard enough that it turns to liquid, then mix everything together and let it harden.
If you have old, chipped, or mismatched china floating around, it's easy to create a cute and whimsical feeder. Simply take a teacup and saucer, and glue one side of the cup to the surface of the saucer as if someone had spilled their tea. To fill it, simply pour birdseed into the saucer and cup. You can set this onto a flat surface, but it's likely to attract squirrels and other mammals. Instead, macrame or knotted twine hangers are a good idea.
If you like a charmingly old-fashioned look, a bird feeder made from a grapevine wreath is a great idea. Pick up a small grapevine wreath and a bowl that fits inside it. Grapevine bowls are also fairly common at hobby shops if you want an all-natural look, but any light and sturdy material will do if you want a more custom appearance. Simply glue to the bowl to the wreath, and then hang the wreath in your yard. The wreath gives birds plenty of room to perch as they eat birdseed out of the bowl.
If you live in an area with more persistent squirrels and other pests, some of these ideas may not work for you. However, you can still create your own mesh feeder to help keep the squirrels out and reduce wasted seed. To do so, simply pick up a couple of terracotta saucers or other small yet sturdy plates with a lip, along with a roll of hardware mesh. This one also requires some tools, as you need to drill holes in the saucers to hang them, but it's durable and easy to customize.
If you're looking to entertain your kids on a rainy afternoon, this is a great craft to do. Simply take an old half-gallon milk carton and wash it out thoroughly, then cut two little windows into the wider sides of it. You can leave it plain, but painting it is a fun and easy way to create a custom look. Punch two holes in the top and thread a string through it to create a hanger. If you're feeling particularly crafty, carve another hole below the windows and place a wooden dowel to act as a perch. You can also create a similar design with an old plastic water bottle or similar materials.
One of the easiest bird feeders to make doesn't require any crafting skills at all. Instead, you can make a delightful one by mixing birdseed with flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup and using a cookie cutter to form it into a cute shape. Simply boil the water and corn syrup together, then add the gelatin and stir until it becomes liquid. Mix that with flour to create a batter, then add in your birdseed. Fill your molds and let it dry and harden. Voila! You now have quick and easy homemade bird feeders. Poke a hole and use ribbon or twine to decorate your garden.
Mason jars are good for a variety of things, but one surprising fact about them is that standard-mouthed jars are the perfect size for many chicken feeders. To make a Mason jar bird feeder, all you have to do is fill the jar with birdseed and screw it on to the feeder. To prevent squirrels and rodents from getting in, wrap twine around the top of the jar to create a quick and easy hanger.
If you took shop class in high school, you've probably made this one before; making a bird feeder is a classic introductory woodworking project. A squirrel-resistant feeder is fairly easy to make, although you will need some tools, such as a miter saw. A drill can also make the process a little easier. If you're intimidated by the woodworking aspect, you can also create a smaller version by stacking and gluing Popsicle sticks together, and you can even make a plastic bottle version. If you're making a birdfeeder that will hang from a tree, the key is to give the feeder an overarching roof that blocks squirrels from access the food. Adding chicken wire helps, too.