Homemade bird feeders are the perfect way to get your kids inspired to observe with the natural world. Making a bird feeder is also a fun activity for the whole family because they are very easy to make. We have four very different types of bird feeders to choose from, depending on the types of birds you want to attract!
Winter is a great time to feed the birds. Before your next nature walk, you'll also want our tips for winter birding with kids! Then, when spring arrives, be sure use our ideas to encourage kids to help backyard birds build their nest.
Pinecone Bird Feeder
Suet feeders like this one are good for woodpeckers, chickadees, flickers, nuthatches, and wrens.
During our trip to rural Oregon, the boys enlisted the help of their grandpa to make two different bird feeders. The first was a suet pinecone bird feeder.
Step 1: Melt suet in a microwave.
Step 2: Pour melted suet onto the pinecone. My dad poured the hot suet since my son was nervous about spilling it.
Step 3: While suet is still warm, scoop seeds onto the suet, covering the pine cone thoroughly. Allow to cool.
Step 4: Tie a string around the pinecone and hang it up outdoors. I recommend tying the string before covering the pinecone in suet!
Orange Half Bird Feeder
Orange and other fruit attract orioles, catbirds, tanagers and grosbeaks.
You may need an adult to help with the orange half bird feeder. In our case, the kid shouted out the instructions to the adult!
Step 1. Cut an orange in half and nail the two halves into a piece of wood.
Step 2. Drill two holes in the wood underneath the orange halves and insert small dowels or other objects to make perches for the birds.
We used a pen and pencil for the perches, which makes me laugh. It is typical of my dad to just grab whatever is handy and works rather than hunting around for something that might be more aesthetically pleasing. But then you didn't come to this blog for beautiful crafts.
Step 3. Nail the feeder into a tree!
MORE: Winter activities for kids (with printable check list)
Hanging Orange Bird Feeder
Seed feeders attract a wide variety of birds! Cardinals prefer feeders like this one where they can perch on a platform.
My favorite is these classic hanging orange bird feeders.
Step 1. Scoop out orange halves.
Step 2. Poke 3 equidistant holes in the edge of the orange peel. You need at least three holes to keep the feeder from tipping over and spilling out all the bird seed.
Step 3. Thread string or twine through the holes for hanging.
Step 4. Fill the scooped out oranges with tasty bird treats. We used commercial bird seed and added cranberries. My son wanted to adjust his feeder so the cranberries were on top looking pretty! No doubt the birds appreciated that extra step.
Paper Roll Bird feeder
With a few household items your kids can make a bird feeder out of a cardboard roll to hang on a tree or on the porch. The feeder uses shortening or peanut butter, bird seed and a paper towel roll. You can see our instructions for a paper roll bird feeder in a previous post.
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 particularly useful.