D.I.Y for F.L.Y

4 easy backyard bird feeders you can make at home

Lockdown has taught us plenty about making do with less as those junk drawers, recycling bins and to-be-sorted piles became fodder for all kinds of craft projects. 

Now there’s still a little time to go with many families in isolation and, as the weather gets colder, our local birdlife is looking to gain weight for the winter ahead.

Wooden Spoon Feeder

This cute feeder allows birds a spot to perch while they feed and costs almost nothing to make.

You need:

  • 1 or 2 wooden spoons 
  • A clear plastic bottle with a lid
  • Scissors or a sharp knife
  • Hook (or string)
  • Bird seed
  1. Cut holes through the bottle, allowing the spoons to angle downward.
  2. Position spoons to catch seed as rolls out of the bottle
  3. If you have a spare hook, screw it into the lid and pass a loop of string through to hang the feeder (looping string around the top of the bottle also works)
  4. Fill the bottle with seed and hang somewhere out of reach of predators

Pinecone feeder

This one is about as easy as it gets! Forage some pinecones and turn them into delicious seedy treats for the local birds.

You need:

  • Pine cones – ones with deep seed ridges are best
  • Peanut butter or lard
  • Birdseed – we recommend a coarse seed mix for this project
  • String
  • Bowl
  • Large shallow tray or roasting dish
  1. Start by tying loops of string to the tops of pinecones (this saves mess later on)
  2. Spread the seed in the tray or dish
  3. Spoon peanut butter into a bowl (or soften the lard if using)
  4. Roll the pinecone in the peanut butter or lard
  5. Roll pinecone in the seed, ensuring it’s fully coated
  6. Hang from a tree and await your winged visitors!

Hanging Seed Shapes

If you’re after some decorative bird treats, these ones look like they’re straight out of a gift shop and are super easy to whip up as a rainy day project.

You need:

  • 2 tbsp gelatine powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4  cup birdseed
  • Cookie cutters or mason jar lids
  • String
  • Baking paper
  1. Mix together the gelatine powder with water and simmer until gelatine has dissolved. Leave to cool slightly
  2. Add bird seed and stir in. If excess liquid remains, add small amounts of seed until it is absorbed
  3. Lay a sheet of baking paper on the surface and place cookie cutters or molds on top
  4. Half fill the molds with the seed mixture
  5. Cut the string and tie the two loose ends into a knot
  6. Place the knot on the half-filled shape, leaving a big loop free at the top end
  7. Push in more seed mix to cover the knot and fill the mold to the top
  8. Leave the seed shapes to dry overnight, turning them over a few times
  9. Remove them from the molds and hang out for your guests

Image courtesy of eighteen25.com

Hanging plate feeder

This one does require use of a drill, but is easily made from household items. The style is great for serving up sugar water, the preferred backyard sustenance for our nectar-feeding natives, the tui and korimako (bellbird).

You need:

  • A drill
  • Shallow plastic bowl
  • Four dowels or sticks
  • String or cable ties
  1. With the dowels or sticks, build a square base for the bowl to sit in, using the string or cable ties to secure the corners
  2. Drill four holes in the edge of the bowl
  3. Use the string or cable ties to attach the bowl to the middle of the base
  4. Optional: bling up the bowl with colourful decorations to help birds find the feeder from a distance
  5. Tie a long piece of string to each of the four corners of the base
  6. Tie the four strings together at the top, fill with sugar water (one part sugar to eight parts water) and hang the feeder somewhere where it can be easily removed for cleaning.

For step-by-step video instructions from some clever young creators, see Wildeyes.co.nz

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