Do you like animals and birds in particular? Or are your children keenly interested in their lifestyle and habits? The two ? There is nothing more beautiful than ensuring food for the little winged creatures during the coldest months of the year that knock on the door! We are pleased to bring you a family DIY project for bird watchers of all ages. It’s a green hobby too, as it recycles an ordinary plastic bottle and turns it into a useful DIY bird feeder. At the same time, it is a kind of recycled autumn decoration. The versatile idea fits perfectly with the upcycling trend, which gives fabulous new life to objects that have become useless. Green light therefore to creative activities that respect the environment in more ways than one!
Photo tutorial: DIY bird feeder
Although this project is quite easy to do even by a beginner, care should be taken if children will participate in it. Adult supervision is always necessary, especially during the steps that require handling a knife or other sharp instrument. If your children are 10-12 years old or younger, for safety reasons, you will have to cut and drill. As far as how much time you’ll need to spend on it, the entire DIY only takes 40 minutes to an hour.
What equipment should we arm ourselves with?
Note that the bottles best suited for this project are the large 2 liter plastic bottles. However, any plastic bottle will do, including standard water bottles from 500ml to 1.5l. Apart from the containers, please also prepare an awl or other similar piercing tool and a utility knife. Other supplies needed are a metal screw hook, extra strong glue, and perches. These can be chopsticks, unsharpened pencils, wooden spoons, twigs or simply sticks. What matters is that they have a minimum thickness of 6 mm and a length of approximately 20-25 cm. Obviously, since we’re talking about making a DIY bird feeder, you’ll need filler grains too.
DIY bird feeder in stages
The first step in this hands-on project is to thoroughly clean and dry the bottle remembering to remove all labels while keeping the cap on. Use a mixture of soapy water and white vinegar or a very dilute bleach solution to wash the inside of the bottle as well. The main thing is to rinse it thoroughly several times. Let the bottle air dry for several hours or, better yet, overnight. Be sure to remove any residual moisture from its interior, otherwise it may later spoil the seeds.
Once the bottle is clean and dry, you will need to equip it with a hook that will allow you to hang your DIY bird feeder. To do this, you need to use an awl or a nail and mark the center of the plastic cap. Determine the location of the screw hole and start it by applying a little pressure to the tool. Then, screw the metal hook where provided, making sure that it remains stable and firm. Using the punch is not always necessary, because some plastic materials are softer which allows direct screwing.
If the hook is inserted, but it moves when touched, secure it with a drop of glue on each side (inside and outside of the cap). Except reinforcing the resistance, it will prevent moisture from entering the feeder. Be careful not to get glue on the side parts of the cork, which will close it permanently. Ultimately, we’re not making a single-use DIY bird feeder and you’d want to open the bottle every once in a while to refill it with seed.
This is the most delicate moment in the manufacture of our DIY bird feeder, namely: adding the perches. So start by cutting a hole big enough for the stick to fit inside the bottle. Ideally, it will be located 3-4 cm from the bottom of the bottle, but placing it higher is also possible. Provide an identical hole on the opposite side so that the brandille can come out. As you can imagine, the sizes and arrangement of the openings should allow the perches to pass through the bottle and out the other side with some friction, but not too much effort.
Insert the perch and adjust the length of the stick at each end to allow birds to feed comfortably. If necessary, you can use a few droplets of glue around the holes to secure the poles in place while preventing the holes from widening over time. If desired, add a second perch higher on the bottle, respecting a distance of 6-8 cm. Please arrange it perpendicular to the previous one to create more space for birds to perch.
Cut Power Ports
Using the utility knife, cut holes 2.5 to 5 cm above each perch. The feed slots should be 0.3 to 0.6 cm wide, depending on the type of seed you will be using. For example, opt for larger holes for sunflower seeds and corn, but instead make smaller notches for niger, rapeseed or white millet, among others. Oval-shaped ports that are taller than they are wide are easiest for birds to use.
Fill the DIY bird feeder and hang it
Finally, slowly fill your DIY bird feeder with the seed or seed mix of your choice. If the seeds fall directly, logically, that means the feeding ports are too large. So cover them with a piece of clear tape and cut smaller holes in the tape to fix the problem. If you wish, you can add crumpled paper, decorative marbles or gravel to fill the bottom of the bottle where the seeds are in any case out of the birds’ reach.
Our little project is finished! Your DIY bird feeder is ready and you can safely hang it somewhere outside. Low branches of a tree near your property are a very good option for location. Hang up the homemade feed silo and wait for the birds to find out: it won’t take long.
Some useful tips to follow
You must regularly clean your homemade bird feeder and replace its contents to prevent the spread of avian diseases. Keep in mind that the concentration of birds in one place facilitates the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria, which means that periodic disinfection of feeders is essential.
Unsurprisingly, a mix of several seeds will attract a wider variety of species for you to admire and study. You can mix sunflower seeds, which almost every bird loves, with one or more other grains such as millet, rice, corn, and thistle or safflower seeds. By the way, give preference to white millet instead of red one.
You can also hang a few pieces of apple or pear nearby, as some birds prefer fruit to seeds. Dried fruits are another gourmet option not to be underestimated. Bread crumbs and other such food scraps are also attractive to most small flying creatures.
Did you know you can also make your own fat ball that birds find irresistible? Stir your chosen seeds into a softened fat like unsalted lard, stir and refrigerate. Hang it in the garden by a rope, wrapping it with a piece of metal net and you’re done!
Of course, if you have several excess plastic bottles, which is often the case, you can try other models of practical and ecological bird feeders.
Other easy-to-make and useful DIY bird feeder ideas
The shape of the wooden spoons is perfect for use as perches
Cup of seeds and fat for the birds to overcome the lack of insects in winter
A homemade apple feeder from a plastic bottle
Which DIY bird feeder idea will you try in Fall/Winter 2021/2022?
Sources used: www.thespruce.com