The more bird feeders you have the more birds you can attract to your garden by offering a greater variety of food and more “tables” in your garden bird restaurant. There are plenty of bird feeders available to buy (we sell some lovely ones ourselves!) But making your own can be fun too: so here are some of our favourite DIY bird feeder projects – enjoy!
How to Make a Bird Feeder Out of a Plastic Bottle
However hard we try to shop green most of us end up with an old plastic bottle in the house from time to time. Rather than sending these to landfill or for recycling why not upcycle them yourself?
Plastic bottles may not make the world’s pretties DIY bird feeders, but they are supremely practical and virtually free. So if you’re on a budget, this can be a great way to add lots of feeding stations to your garden.
And it’s easy too, all you’ll need is:
- A clean plastic bottle with a lid.
- 2 x wooden skewers, or dowels or wooden spoons.
- A length of strong string or twine.
- Sharp Scissors and a drawing pin.
This video from ecophiles shows you how it’s done.
Plastic water bottles, fizzy drinks bottles or juice bottles will all work fine for this project. But bottles with a wider mouth will be easier to fill and keep clean.
You can use a plastic bottle bird feeder to offer a wide range of bird food including:
Just vary the size of the feeding holes to suit the food you plan to provide.
Ice Lolly Stick Bird Feeder
I have to admit that for a household with no kids, we seem to end up with an awful lot of lolly sticks! (Magnums are our guilty secret!). Lolly sticks make great plant markers, but you could also use them to make these homemade bird feeders.
This would be a fun project to do with kids and looks good too.
All you need are plenty of ice cream sticks, strong string and glue, with paint optional.
You can find full instructions here from Tonya Staab
Once it’s made, you could fill this feeder with:
Wine Bottle Bird Feeder
These homemade bird feeders are so clever and so environmentally friendly – just a glass wine bottle a piece of wood and some screws. They are perfect for keeping bird seed fresh and dry even in the worst weather.
I have to be honest, the only part of this project that I would be able to manage is emptying the bottle! But if you have a few more DIY smarts than me and are looking for a good looking, long-lasting bird feeder this could be a great project to try.
I like this tutorial because it gives you a wine bottle bird feeder that is going to be easy to refill, which is important once you’ve put this much work in!
It’s a clever and attractive design and would work well for serving any good seed mix.
Super-Simple Screw Top Bottle Bird Feeder
For those of us who are technically challenged these super simple bird feeders allow you to re-use any old screw-top bottle, no drilling, sawing or crewing required!
These handy adaptors and some strong twine are all you need.
You can then fill the bottles with a seed mix, sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds. The feeders are easy to take apart for cleaning too.
Pine Cone Bird Feeder
These bird feeders are a family-friendly project and collecting the cones will be half of the fun.
Using a pine cone bird feeder you can provide your garden birds with fat or suet, which is absolutely essential for them in the winter months. During the winter, garden birds can struggle to find enough food to keep up their energy and body weight and to keep themselves warm.
Fat rich foods like suet pellets, fat balls and homemade pine cone feeders have an important role to play in keeping our garden birds fit and healthy in the winter months.
These are so easy to make.
- First, collect your pine cones.
- Attach a length of string, so you can hang each cone from a hook or tree branch.
- Mix up a batch of our home made fat ball recipe. You can add seeds, outs, dried fruit, even mealworms to the mix.
- With the mixture at room temperature of slightly warmer, use your hand to squish it into all the nooks and crannies of the pine cones.
- Place in the freezer for 12 hours to set. You can also store any you are not using immediately in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you didn’t want to make up the homemade suet recipe you could use the same method with peanut butter, which also goes down very well with our feathered friends. Keep this one for the winter though, as peanut butter will melt quickly in warmer weather.
Birds love to peck at nutritious fatty mixture smeared into a natural surface. So you could also spread your suet mixture over a log and hang it up to make a super-simple DIY bird feeder. In the cold winter months, you can even just smear the mixture onto the branches of a three.
Upcycled Tin Can Bird Feeder
Here’s another great upcycling idea using tin cans, which we all have in the house. I think the finished result looks pretty good as it is. But if you painted them up, with animal safe paint, you could make them look really special – good enough for a gift for bird lovers!
These homemade feeders are lightweight, long-lasting and easy to keep clean. They keep the bird food protected from the elements and I suspect they might be small enough to be proof against pigeons and squirrels too.
Upcycled Cup and Saucer Bird Feeders
These decorative bird feeders are easy to make and good enough to give as gifts. And charity shops are full of pretty old cups and saucers at bargain prices.
All you need for this project is your cup and saucer, some ceramic glue and strong twine, or a plug chain.
You could fill this with any seed mix, or pack it with your homemade suet mix.
Lots of things with handles can make easy, quirky DIY bird feeders: think teapots, beer mugs, or how about an old saucepan or casserole dish?
Macrame Bird Feeders
So many of us have got into mindful crafts over the last year: knitting, embroidery, crochet and macrame have all had a huge comeback.
Macrame offers a great way of making attractive, ornamental, handing garden bird feeders.
You can upcycle an old plant saucer, plant pot, or piece or crockery as your feeding dish.
Get as fancy as you like with the macrame, Once you get the hang of it you can have fun incorporating colours, tassels, glass beads to attract birds and catch the sun.
To get you started here’s a basic tutorial.
Again this type of feeder can be used to offer many things birds like to eat, from mealworms to suet pellets or kitchen scraps.
If you chose the right container you could even use it as a hanging birdbath.
One To Avoid
You’ll see suggestions for using these fruit and veg nets as DIY bird feeders for fat balls. Please don’t do it!
These plastic nets are a real hazard to wildlife. We’re all for upcycling and re-suing, but sadly this is one item of plastic that has no place in a wildlife-friendly garden.
Take it to the Next Level – Build Your Own Bird Table!
If you’re feeling really ambitious why not have a go at building your own bird table?
Lots of birds prefer to eat on a flat surface, such as the ground or a bird table.
Just like bird feeders, there are plenty of burd tables you can buy – we’d be happy to sell you one!
But if you’re on a budget, or just fancy a bit of a project it’s not that difficult to build your own. Follow our step by step instructions here.
Have We Inspired You?
Feeding birds is fun and so is making bird feeders! The more bird feeders you have in your garden the more food you can offer, so attracting a wider range of birds. Whether you go for the natural look of a pine cone feeder, a cute vintage cup and saucer, or an eco-friendly upcycled bottle, once you start looking there are DIY bird feeder ideas everywhere!
What have you used as a bird feeder? We would love to hear your ideas – leave us a comment below.