The sun is shining here in Oregon, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are singing. Our family did not realize how many kinds of birds visited our backyard until last year when we were home so much. Watching the birds became a daily hobby, and we bought a big bag of birdseed and a few planters to see if we could draw more to our yard. As the birds have returned this spring, we made a few feeders to add to our collection. Here are five easy bird feeders that you can make with items in your home.
Pinecone bird feeder– We were lucky and had the perfect shaped pinecones in our backyard for this project. You will want to find dry and open ones so that you have good surfaces to attach the seeds. Smear peanut or sunflower butter on the ridges of the cone. This is a perfect task for little hands to do, making sure to cover the whole cone. Next, roll the pinecone in a bowl filled with seeds. This will push the seeds up into the cracks. Attach some yarn to the top of the cone, and it is ready to hang.
Toilet paper roll feeder– Keep your peanut or sunflower butter out for this next bird feeder too. You will also need a toilet paper roll, a stick, and yarn. Poke two holes in the top and two holes in the bottom of the toilet paper roll. They should be on opposite sides of the roll so that yarn can pass through the top and a stick can pass through the bottom. Next, you will want to paint or smear the peanut butter all over the toilet paper roll and then roll it in the bird seeds. Once it is totally covered, pass your yarn through the top holes and tie a knot making a loop to hang your feeder. Finally, pass a stick through the bottom so that birds can perch as they pick seeds off.
Plastic Bottle Feeder– We used a plastic bottle for this feeder, but you could easily use a milk carton or jug. You will also need a stick (anything long and straight will work) and yarn to complete the feeder. Cut a hole in the side of the container to create an opening for the birds to eat. The plastic bottle we used was thin enough to use scissors to cut two holes. Depending on the type of container, this part will at least require supervision or for you to do cut the holes for your child. Once the holes are cut, have fun and decorate the outside of the container. Next, add a perch by punching two holes on opposite sides and poking a stick through. We used an old colored pencil. Then tie your yarn around the top, add your seed, and hang your recycled feeder.
Popsicle Stick Feeder– Save your popsicle sticks over the summer to build this bird feeder. You will need around forty popsicle sticks, yarn to hang, and paint or markers to decorate. Make the bottom of the feeder first by laying six to eight sticks side by side. Then lay two sticks across at the top and bottom to secure everything. Next, start stacking the remaining popsicle sticks in a log cabin style, gluing the edges. Make two perches on the side by gluing two popsicle sticks that stick out a little. Paint or color the sticks to make it more fun.
Spice Container Feeder– Hummingbirds are our favorite backyard visitors. These little hovering nectar lovers are attracted to red, and recycled spice containers with a red lid are perfect for this craft. Look for a lid with little holes that are just the right size for a hummingbird beak. Once you fill them with nectar, you can set out the feeders on your porch railing or create a holder like the previous option, using popsicle sticks and yarn. To make the nectar, you take a cup of hot water and ¼ cup of sugar. Stir them together until the sugar totally dissolves. Extra sugar water can be stored in the refrigerator. Since the spice containers are small, you will need to check them regularly.
These are just a few ideas, but the options are endless once you start sorting through your recycling. Let your kids help by gathering supplies and deciding where to hang your feeders. Soon your backyard will be a bird gathering spot, and you can learn the different species together.
Mary Weggeland grew up in Alaska but has called Oregon home for the last ten years. She lives in Sherwood with her husband and three kids. When she is not writing, Mary enjoys reading fiction, making crafts, and baking desserts. She also loves road trips and exploring Oregon with her family.