We enjoy observing and learning about birds. Often we only have to look in our own backyard to find interesting birds to study. To attract a variety of birds we keep several bird feeders in our yard year round.
The good news is that many birds aren’t very picky! They are happy to accept food from the many creative feeders we have scattered among the trees. Some of our favorite bird feeders are the ones we make with recycled materials found around the house.
Here are a few quick and easy ideas we have used to make bird feeders with recycled materials.
Supplies for making bird feeders
- Empty, clean, and dry containers – water/soda bottle, milk container, aluminum can
- Glue and/or duct tape
- Sticks, wooden spoons, paint stirrers, wooden dowels, etc.
- String, twine, jute
How to make a water/soda bottle bird feeder
For this project you will need a plastic bottle, wooden sticks/spoons, scissors, and string. The wooden sticks will be inserted through the bottle and will give the bird a place to sit while eating from the feeder.
Step 1. Using scissors or a knife, make 2 holes, directly across from each other near the bottom of the bottle. Insert the wooden stick through the holes. The bird will sit on these while eating.
Step 2. Create another small hole above each of the holes where the sticks are inserted. This is where the birds will get the food. Don’t make these too large or the food will spill out!
Step 3. Cut a long piece of string. Wrap the center of the piece of string around the neck of the bottle and tie to secure (you might want to add glue or tape to ensure the string stays in place). Tie the ends of the string together to make a loop.
Step 4. Use a funnel to fill the bottle with bird seed. Attach the bottle cap to close the bottle. Hang the feeder from a tree in your yard.
How to make a plastic milk container bird feeder
For this simple project, gather a plastic milk container, scissors, and string. A portion of the plastic sides of the container will be cut away allowing the bird to eat from the inside, bottom of the container.
Step 1. On the side(s) opposite the handle, cut away some of the plastic from the container – either cut away a complete square or cut on 3 sides and fold the plastic back.
Step 2 . Cut a long piece of string. Put one end of the string through the handle and then tie the ends of the string together creating a loop.
Step 3. Fill the inside, bottom of the container with bird seed. Hang the feeder from a tree.
How to make an aluminum can bird feeder
All you will need for this project is an aluminum can, duct tape, 3 plastic straws (or a stick), and string. The straws/stick will provide a place for the bird to sit while eating.
Step 1. Place 3 plastic straws together, flat, beside each other. Keeping the straws together, wrap duct tape around the straws.
Step 2. Place the taped straws, or a stick, on the bottom of the aluminum can. Attach to the can with duct tape.
Step 3. Cut a large piece of string. Place the middle of the string on the top of the aluminum can. Attach string to the can with duct tape. Tie the ends of the string to make a loop.
Step 4. Fill the bottom of the can with bird seed. Hang the feeder from a tree in your yard.
Create a bird-friendly habitat
Offering food in feeders is a great first step in creating a bird-friendly habitat in your own backyard. Here are a few more simple steps you can take to attract birds to your yard.
- Provide water – An old bowl or plate can serve as a simple birdbath. Change the water every 2-3 days.
- Maintain native plants – Plants typically found in your area offer seeds, berries, and nectar for the birds that are also native to your area. Trees provide space for birds to seek shelter. Native grasses offer seeds and nesting materials.
- Nesting boxes – Scraps of wood can be used to create nesting boxes for birds.
Be sure to take time to observe and enjoy the many amazing birds you attract to your yard!
What have you done to attract birds to your yard?