Spring is a busy time for birds, and searching for partners and nests to hunker down in is hungry work. Providing food and feeding stations for your feathered garden guests should be high on your list of priorities, but the purchase of posh avian accessories can be an expensive business.
Here’s a few ways to turn your household waste into DIY bird feeders for minimum outlay.
Recycle Your plastic bottles
Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder
Recycled plastic pop bottles filled with seed make great homemade bird feeders. Give your bottle a rinse, pierce the lower half of the bottle and push in a couple of pencils to provide a perching place. Better still, a pair of old wooden spoons poking out either side of the bottle feeder will afford the birds a roomy platform to peck from. The upturned bowl part of the spoon will also help collect spilled seeds from frantic beaks and help prevent grainy waste. Fill your bottle with bird seed, then poke a few holes in the top half of the bottle to provide access to the goods inside. Loop string or twine around the neck of the bottle making sure you don’t obstruct the bottle top as you’ll need access for refilling, then securely attach your simple bird feeder from the branch of a tree. Seed feeders can get a bit manky after a while and can harbour bacteria that could be harmful to birds, so it’s a good idea to take down your recycled bird feeder every month or so and give it a good scrub.
Recycle Your Food Waste
The ‘Bird Kebab’ Feeder
By which we mean a kebab made for birds, not of birds. This is a great way of using up kitchen scraps, that would otherwise end up in the bin, to create a homemade bird feeder. Gather together bite-sized, bird-friendly foodstuffs such as cheese, fruit, bread and pasta and poke a hole through each item with a knitting needle or similar sharp instrument. Thread each piece onto a length of string, twine or wire (as if you were making a lovely edible necklace) then dangle it from a tree or fence post and watch them flock.
The ‘Orange Hammock’
Don’t discard wrinkly old oranges, slice them in two, scoop out the innards and suspend them – hammock style – from the nearest tree. You can then fill them with bird seeds or nuts and watch birds swing for their supper. Orange hammocks can also be filled with bird cake (see below).
Recycle Your Plastic Pots
Bird Cake Holders
Enlist old plastic pots as feeders and pack them with delicious, protein-rich bird cake. Making bird cake is easy, just grab a couple of handfuls of birdseed and combine it with enough lard to create a sticky mixture. You can then stuff the cake mixture into any plastic pot you can get your hands on, but you’ll find that pots that are shallow and wide are the best to accommodate frantic, feasting beaks so look for dipping sauce pots, squat yogurt pots and soft cheese containers. Pop your cake-filled pot in the fridge for a couple of hours to set the mixture in place, then pierce a hole or affix twine to your chosen receptacle. Dangle your DIY bird feeder from a tree, making sure that it’s well out of reach from the clutches of cats’ claws.
Have you made your own bird feeders before? Do you have any tips for building a homemade bird feeder? Let us know what you used in the comments below.