Fun Family Project: How to Make Recycled Bird Feeders

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bird-feeders are great family projects

You don't have to spend a lot of money or be handy with tools in order to make bird feeders with your kids!  With a little imagination and creativity, any object you might have around the house can be recycled as a bird-feeder.  The advantages to doing this are numerous:

  • Great family activity
  • Cheap and cost-effective craft
  • Fosters a desire to help the environment and be frugal
  • Teaches children about bird species
  • Helps children become responsible in treating fellow creatures with respect and love

While you might want to buy different kinds of bird seed to attract various bird species, you can get by with pieces of bread (stale is fine).  Just keep in mind, that when setting out food of any sort, you will be attracting other animals as well!  And it doesn't take long for birds, squirrels, ducks, or even raccoons to come by.

What you need

  • Choose one of the following ideas for containers from your pantry or refrigerator:

  1. Milk jug or carton
  2. Soap dispenser (with pump or cap)
  3. Carbonated beverage can or plastic bottle
  4. Miscellaneous plastic containers

  • scissors
  • string, yarn, a large rubber band, or wire
  • one-hole punch (optional)
  • bird seed or bread cubes/crumbs

NOTE: You may also choose to bypass having a container and use a pinecone or card stock paper (old greeting cards can work well too), smeared with peanut butter and bird seed, to hang in a tree.

Assembling the bird-feeder

  1. Make sure the container you choose is washed out and dry before using.
  2. Cut out a hole in the side of the container, to act as a "door" or "window".  This is where the birds will enter the feeder to eat the food.
  3. Allow your children to decorate the feeder with stickers, markers, or paints.
  4. Using the string, yarn, a cut rubber band, or wire, tie one end to the top of the container (or with a milk jug, the handle).  If the container has no handles, you may opt to have it sit on the ground.  If you do that, just make sure to put some rocks inside, to keep it weighted down after the food is gone.
  5. Fill the feeder with bird seed or bread.
  6. Hang the feeder on a sturdy branch of a tree.

A word about bird seeds and foods

If you have sunflowers, you know that birds go crazy with the seeds.  You can gather them up yourself and put them in a bird-feeder without having to spend money on bird seed itself.  However, if you plan on keeping the feeder year-round, you'll want to eventually purchase seed from a hardware store, a pet store, or the gardening section of a department store.  The same can be said of peanuts or dried corn kernels.

Safflower - for cardinals, blue jays, finches, grosbeaks, and chickadees.

Black oil sunflower and Striped sunflower - for more of a chance at attracting several more species as well as the ones listed above.

Hulled sunflower - also for the above, and wrens, woodpeckers, and mockingbirds.

Millet - for doves, sparrows, and quail.

Visit for even more information on bird seed.


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Natasha Polak

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