As spring nears, it’s hard to resist the call of birds and the urge to sit on a porch, or at picnic table, and just watch them enjoy the return of warmth as much as we do. There are plenty of ways to attract birds to fly and flitter around the house, such as having hedges and nice trees, but nothing pulls birds in quite like a bird feeder.
While it’s easy to go out and buy one at the local big box, there are many ways to make a bird feeder right at home. In fact, a DIY birdfeeder can help with saving a few bucks, add a touch of homeowner personality, and make valuable use of what otherwise might find its way to the landfill. There are plenty of options for the crafty homeowner, and even some simple constructs, that the kids could do.
Your Classic Peanut Butter Pine Cone
For those that live near pine trees, a pine cone bird feeder is an easy, natural DIY project that the kids can enjoy, and it won’t produce any trash. Find some large, opened pine cones. It’s a good idea to go ahead and put a few together while the materials are out. The first step is to smear the pine cone in peanut butter, tuck it into the cracks and get thorough coverage. After that, roll the pine cone in birdseed. Then, with a piece of natural twine, such as jute, fashion a little hanger for the feeder.
A Muffin Tin Bird Feeder
An old tin muffin pan can make an easy, reusable birdfeeder in just a few minutes. Start by drilling three or four holes around the edge of the pan and looping some of that aforementioned natural twine through them to make a hanger. Some people like to loop cereal oh’s up and down the strings, but this is extra time and work that will disappear soon enough. The more important element of creating the hanger to check that the muffin tin sits level or near to it. Then, hang it from a tree and dump it in a little birdseed.
The Tin Can Bird Feeder
Tin cans are crazy cool for crafts, and a DIY bird feeder is put one of the possibilities. The nice thing about a tin can bird feeder is that it provides some shelter for the birdseed, so it will be less likely to go rancid after a rain. Cans with a little lip around the edge are the best, such as old paint cans, but any will do. Start by painting the outside of the can. Once that’s dry, attach a little perching stick in front of the opening in the can. Put a ribbon or some twine around the can, and hang it from a tree. Just dump a bit of birdseed in it from time to time.
Molded Cookie-Cutter Feeder
Cookie cutters are a fun thing to have around, but to get adequate use out of them requires making far too many cookies. Otherwise, they can get some extra action when making DIY bird feeders. These are more of a wintertime or cool weather feeder. Heat up some vegetable shortening until melts. Take it off the fire and add in some seeds, oatmeal, and whatever else. Put the cookie cutter(s) on a sheet of wax paper and fill the cutters halfway with the mixture. Add a loop of twine through the middle to act as a hanger. Let this stand overnight.
A Repurposed Mason Jar Feeder
Mason jars have a way of accumulating, and when there are too many, rather than giving them away or recycling them, it’s time to consider investing in a long-term bird feeder. At feed stores, hardware centers, or farm supply spots, there will be galvanized metal chicken feeders that Mason jars will screw on to. Wrap the jar in a bit of stiff metal wire, starting just behind where grooves for the lid and moving up towards the bottom. Hot glue the wire to the center of the top (actually the bottom of the jar). Fill it with seed, screw on the feeder, and hang it up. Some people like to decorate the jar and/or cover the wire with beads.
The birds will go mad for this stuff, and after a short time, the garden will turn into a wildlife haven. Flashes of color will be racing from tree branches to feeders and back. Birdsong will sound out on sunny days. It’s hours of entertainment and just a pleasure to see.
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