Homemade Bird Feeders

Backyard bird feeders are a fun way to see, support, and learn about local birds. And they’re easy to make! Try making one or more of these simple feeders with your children and see what kinds of birds you attract.

Pine Cone Feeder (easy)

Materials:

  • pine cones
  • peanut butter
  • suet
  • birdseed
  • string or yarn

Gather pine cones. Use spoons to slather peanut butter and suet onto the pine cones. Roll the cones in birdseed. Tie to a tree branch with a piece of string or yarn.

Citrus Feeder (easy)

Materials:

  • empty grapefruit or orange halves
  • bird seed
  • string or yarn

Make 3 evenly spaced holes through the top rim of an empty grapefruit or orange half. Thread pieces of string or yarn through each hole and knot one end to keep them from slipping out. Fill with birdseed and hang in a tree.

Bagel Feeder (easy)

Materials:

  • stale bagels
  • peanut butter
  • lard
  • bird seed
  • string or yarn

Slather stale bagel in a mixture of peanut butter and lard. Roll in birdseed. Tie yarn or string around the bagel and hang from a tree.

Cranberry-Popcorn Feeder (intermediate)

Materials:

  • needle and thread
  • cooked popcorn
  • cranberries

Use a needle and thread to string together popcorn and cranberries. Drape in trees or even in a discarded Christmas tree.

Suet Feeder

Materials:

  • Crisco
  • peanut butter
  • flour
  • cornmeal
  • birdseed
  • mesh bag (like the ones oranges and onions come in)

Combine one part Crisco, one part peanut butter, one part flour, and one part birdseed with three parts corn meal. Children love mixing this with their hands. Roll the mixture into a ball and put it in an orange or onion mesh bag to hang. You can also drill 1-inch holes in a small log, fill the holes with suet, and hang the log in a tree. You can even put the suet on pine cones. NOTE: If you’re concerned about peanut allergies, leave out the peanut butter and use two parts Crisco.

Milk or Juice Carton Feeder

Materials:

  • paper milk or juice carton
  • scissors
  • string
  • birdseed

You take any size milk/juice carton (the paper kind), and cut two windows on two sides directly across from one another. (Cutting all four sides makes the feeder unstable). Make the windows large, but do not cut all the way to the bottom because the seed will fall out. Children can decorate it with crayons, but avoid using markers, tape, or glue. Next, poke a hold at the top and place a string through it and tie a knot at the top of the string. Now the feeder is ready to use. Fill the bottom with seed and place it where birds can easily access it.

Bird Feeding Tips

  • Place your birdfeeders in places that aren’t too windy, have good cover nearby, and minimize other hazards.
  • Fill your birdfeeders with the amount of food that can be eaten in 2-3 days.
  • Keep your feeders and feeding area clean by raking up spilled seed under them and wiping off permanent feeders.
  • Provide water at your feeding area. Place a clay saucer that’s at least 24 inches on a low stump or on the ground, and fill it with about 1 1/2 inches of water. Refill it every few days.