Homemade bird feeders are the perfect way to get my kids involved in an easy craft. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know my kids love birds. What they are not always keen on is crafting, but add bird to a nature craft and … success!
Not having a yard hasn't stopped us from making bird feeders for our feathered friends. February is National Bird Feeding Month, but why not get started early? After all, the birds need to eat and any time is a good time to learn about nature. These easy DIY bird feeders are a good activity for the whole family (as you will see below, even grandpa got in on the action). This past spring my 8 year old found a book at the library that sparked his interest: Cooking for the Birds: Recipes to Attract and Feed Backyard Birds (affiliate link). In this book are some very interesting recipes -- like banana splits for birds, mockingbird mini-muffins, or woodpecker waffles. We decided to try a few.
Pinecone Bird Feeder
During our trip to rural Oregon, the boys enlisted the help of their grandpa to make 2 of the "recipes" in the book. The first was a suet pinecone bird feeder. Step 1: Melt suet (available at supermarkets or feed stores or make your own suet if you are ambitious) in a microwave. Step 3: Pour melted suet onto the pinecone. My dad poured the hot suet since Kiddo was nervous about spilling it. Step 4: While suet is still warm, scoop seeds onto the suet. Step 5: We tied a string around the pinecone and hung it up on a shrub outdoors.
Orange Half Bird Feeder
This orange bird feeder is not actually kid-made unless you count Kiddo barking out the instructions. My dad did all the drilling. Step 1. Simply cut an orange in half and screw it into a piece of wood. Step 2. Drill two holes in the wood underneath the orange halves and insert small dowels for perches. You can see that we used a pen and pencil for the perches. This makes me laugh. It is typical of my dad to just grab whatever is handy and works rather than hunting around for something just for aesthetics. But then you didn't come to this blog for beautiful crafts. Step 3. Nail it into a tree! There was a downy woodpecker who loved this tree, but he was never interested in the oranges and left it for the other birds.
Hanging Orange Bird Feeder
Recently, Kiddo and I made these classic hanging orange bird feeders. We saw the idea in a book, but also plastered across Pinterest. Step 1. Scoop out orange halves. Step 2. Poke 3 equidistant holes. You need at least three holes to keep it from tipping easily. Step 3. Thread string or twine through the holes for hanging. Step 4. Fill with tasty bird treats. We used bird seed and cranberries. We took them over to the community garden just after a snowfall to hang them up. Kiddo wanted to adjust his feeder so the cranberries were on top!
Paper Roll Birdfeeder
You can also make bird feeders out of shortening, bird seed and a paper towel roll. We made one and hung it out on our fire escape. Unfortunately, it became snack food for the squirrels before the birds could find it. You can see our instructions for a paper roll bird feeder in a previous post.
More Bird Feeder Resources:
These lovely people also have easy and unique bird feeder crafts that are easy for kids to make:
- The Pleasantest Thing shows you how to make a hanging ice bowl bird feeder!
- How Wee Learn covered their DIY plastic bottle bird feeder in burlap so it blended nicely with it's surroundings.
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has loads of tips about feeding birds. Their tips about where to put your feeder, and what to do if birds don't come are especially useful. The book I mentioned above is lots of fun to look through and it matches up types of feed with bird species so you can be sure to make the appropriate feeder for your local birds
(book cover is an affiliate link) I also collect ideas for bird lovers on my For the Birds Pinterest board.