How can I make a bird feeder reusing and recycling stuff?

It’s been snowy here for three weeks now and we’re making sure there is always a stock of seeds & nuts available for our local wildlife population. We know that it can be dangerous feeding wildlife too regularly – they become reliant on you and “forget” to find their own food supply, which is a problem if you move away/go away – but for the time being, while their food supply is under a chilly blanket, we’re helping out.

I bought a bird feeder a couple of year ago – a simple wood/metal grill thing – and it was fine in our old house. Here though, the squirrels gnawed the wood and ripped a whole in the metal on Day 1, so I clearly need to make something sturdier. (I don’t mind feeding the squirrels, especially at the moment, but would rather they didn’t break stuff.)

We’ve got some offcuts of wood – small flat pieces of pine, salvaged from a joiner – which I could yoink from the stove’s wood pile and use to make a little box/tray with a roof (probably a hanging one, rather than a table because of the cats). There is always the simple milk bottle option or juice bottles too. Coming at it from another angle, coconut shells or hard gourd skins can be used for homemade fat feeders, and those that plan ahead purposely grow sunflowers during the summer to feed their feather friends during the winter.

Speaking of the actual food, don’t just resort to shop-bought seed mixes – Mrs Green from My Zero Waste has pulled together a great list of waste foods that can help the local wildlife.

How else can you make bird feeders reusing and recycling random stuff?

And what do you feed the birds once you’ve got your feeder in place?

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3 Responses to “How can I make a bird feeder reusing and recycling stuff?”

  1. Cipollina says:

    I actually think we should feed birds all year – if we want to keep them. More and more of their natural habitats are disappearing, and if we don’t give the birds alternatives they’ll disappear. Maybe you are in a different situation in Britain – that’s where you are, right? – where you have hedges criss-crossing almost the entire landscape, but many places have vast urban areas without a single green lung for any kind of wildlife to survive in for miles and miles.

    I have several feeders, all made from stuff I’ve found around the house and garden.

    I’ve made one feeder from an old fruit crate – the sturdier kind. This one is my absolute favourite, as it pleases also my eye. It looks like a small white-walled, red-roofed house, and I have placed it so I can see it from the sofa. I have visitors there constantly.

    I’ve made another one from two ugly plastic flowerpot saucers, a small one as bottom (feeder part) and a a big one as roof. I made a hole (carved, actually) in the small one to put a bamboo cane in (a “knee” in the bamboo stopped it at the right distance from the end of the cane), this I fastened with some plumbing tape had lying around. Then I screwed the bigger saucer (first carving a small hole for the screw, or it’d crack) on top of the cane (which had been cut at a “knee” to make this possible). It is hard to clean, and the plumber tape has begun to unravel, so my brain is working at top speed at the moment to find a better solution when it comes to fastening the saucers. They need to come off pretty easily so I can clean out properly once in a while.

    My third feeder is a fatball holder which gets hung from a sheperd’s staff. It’s made from two sticks, a piece of steel wire, and a screw.

    I made a fourth feeder today from one board of an old pallet, eight screws, and three bits of steel wire – this one holds three fatballs. I’m very pleased with this one, and plan to make several to give away as gifts.

    Apart from fatballs, I feed them leftover bread and crumbs from our plates. Once in a while they get cereals. The traffic has increased this winter because of the cold, so I am looking for ways to make my own fatballs. Birdseed mixes are extremely expensive here (and they all contain lots of those black sunflower seeds that no bird will touch – what’s up with that?!), and I have no idea where to go for seeds that are made for other (cheaper) purposes, so it’s quite a challenge.

  2. Thanks so much for linking to our site – our readers have really enjoyed the post about feeding scraps to the birds and have added some great suggestions of their own.
    You’ve included some fab ideas for making your own feeder from old materials too – I must get a bit more crafty with DD; she’d love to make her own feeder!

    Stay warm and thanks again,
    Mrs Green

  3. I remember growing up making bird feeders out of the craziest things. My Grandpa loved birds and had us do this all the time. I love this post, and this site…

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