A child holding a small bird house.

How to Make a Bird Feeder

Feeding the birds is a great way to teach your kids about nature and encourage them to go outside. With a homemade bird feeder, you can bring the fun to your own back yard. Read on to learn how to make a bird feeder with your kids, using things you can easily find around the house. As well as giving a couple of different bird feeder ideas you can try, we’ve also listed tips on the sort of foods you can use in them.  

How to make a bird feeder with a cardboard tube

It couldn’t be easier to make a homemade bird feeder with the cardboard tube from a used roll of toilet or kitchen paper. Just follow these steps:

  1. Fill up a small bowl with bird seed
  2. Take your tube and coat it with peanut butter (be sure to supervise your child if they’re helping with this, especially if using a butter knife)
  3. Roll the tube around in the bowl to coat it with bird seed
  4. Leave to dry and your homemade bird feeder is ready to go!

How you put your bird feeder up outside is up to you. You can thread some string, twine, or ribbon through the centre of your homemade bird feeder (the hollow part of the cardboard tube) and hang it up, or you could prop it up using a twig. Remember to clean it up once it is finished with to avoid leaving any mess outside.  

How to make a bird feeder using a drinks bottle or carton

Alternative homemade bird feeders you can make at home include those made from a used drinks bottle or carton. Make sure you wash it out thoroughly first and then follow these steps:

  1. Cut two or three windows near the base of your container (being very careful to keep scissors away from little fingers)
  2. Fill the carton with bird seed up to the opening
  3. Tie a string around the handle or under the lid and you’re ready to go.

If your children want to get a little more creative, they could even paint designs on their homemade bird feeder with a little non-toxic paint.  

How to use leftover food to make a homemade bird feeder

Why not combine your bird-watching with a little lesson on reducing waste? Here are some suggestions on how to make bird feeders with food that’s past its best as well as a list of bird-friendly foods:

  • Empty orange halves make great homemade bird feeders. Pierce some holes in your orange rind (taking care to keep sharp objects away from little fingers). Thread some string through the holes so you can hang them outside, then fill your orange-rind “bowls” with bird seed.
  • Got some grapes or berries that are looking a bit sorry for themselves? Thread a tapestry needle with some string or twine, then (carefully) pierce your fruit through the centre with the needle and make a fruit ring. Alternate with cereal hoops to give the birds a little extra nourishment. When you’re out of fruit, tie the ends together and hang them outside. Voila! A homemade bird feeder.
  • Stud a piece of stale bread with bird seed. Loop some string through the top of the bread and hang it outside. The birds will love it! Be sure to take anything that’s left at the end of the day and throw it out though – mouldy bread can be toxic to birds.

Foods that are safe for birds:

  • Bird seed (recommended)
  • Peanuts
  • Chopped apples
  • Berries
  • Cereal
  • Raisins
  • Bacon rind
  • Cooked potato
  • Biscuit or cake crumbs

Let us know how you get on when you make your own bird feeder with the kids and share any tips you have.

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