Although a yellow blanket of pollen is usually Atlanta’s first indication of springtime, I love the sight of trees and flowers blooming and the sounds of animals making their appearance after winter. My kids love watching the birds that come to our conventional bird feeder, but this year I plan to lean into their interest and tap into my not-so-Pinteresty crafting skills and make bird feeders with them.
Spring is a time of new life and revival, so it’s a great time to help feed your local avifauna when natural seed sources are scarce from the winter.
Most of these projects include recycled items you can find around your house, so mother nature will thank you. Fair warning – you will likely get your share of squirrels attempting to raid the bird feeders if you hang them from a tree. You could get a suction cup hook to hang these outside your window or use a pole to keep them at bay.
Pinecone bird feeder
- Peanut Butter
Grab a few pinecones from the backyard and tie a string in a loop around a stem at the top. Spread peanut butter all over the pinecone. Have some birdseed spread out on some newspaper and have your kids help gently roll the pinecone in the seeds.
This technique can also be done with a paper towel or toilet paper rolls. Run a string through the tube to hang it.
Yogurt container bird feeder
- Large yogurt (or similar) container
- 6-8 inch dowel
Clean out the container. Have an adult use a sharp knife to poke two holes on opposing sides of the container towards the top. Run some string through the holes and tie at the top. This is where you will hang the feeder. Cut similar holes on opposing sides of the container towards the bottom. Cut an additional hole above both holes that is big enough for the birds to get the seeds out, but not so big that the seeds spill out. Run the dowel through the holes until the dowel is equally exposed on both sides. This will be the ledge for the birds to stand on. Fill the container with seeds.
This project can also be done using the same approach with plastic water bottles or milk cartons.
If you have some fruit in the fridge that is on the brink of expiring, consider giving it to the birds. The Almanac has a helpful chart that shows which type of fruits attract which birds. Poke a hole through apple and orange slices to hang with string. Or hammer some nails into a piece of wood, stick it upright in the ground and have your kids helps help hang fruit slices.
Leftover fruit pieces the kids didn’t eat from lunch? Gather them up and make a fruit garland. Have your kids thread small pieces of apple, orange, banana, berries onto the craft wire and hang for the birds (smaller kids may need help with this).
Wild bird stores also sell specific fruit feeders where you can add your scraps. Just make sure the fruit does not have any seeds. Also especially with fruit, be sure to remove moldy fruit and clean out your feeder often if you have one.
Ice Bird Feeder
Hello Glow has a beautiful ice ring bird feeder for those wanting to do a feeder while it is still cold. Mix birdseed, cranberries, and water into a donut mold or into a small round dish with a shot glass upside down to create the center hole. Put it into the freezer overnight. Take them out and add twine through the middle hole and hang them. This feeder could last for a few days if the temperatures are low enough, so you may want to try this before temperatures really warm up. Although they may not last long, they are beautiful to look at and the birds will scavenge for the seeds as they fall when it melts.
Have you tried making a bird feeder? How did it turn out?