Inside: Fill your garden and yard with birds with these DIY homemade bird feeder ideas; made of plastic and recyclables, made of wood and special feeders for small birds like hummingbirds and woodpeckers!
One of the biggest joys of my day is watching the birds land in the apple tree just outside my office window. We live by the sea, so we get a very interesting and rare mix of seabirds and song birds and it’s the most delightful experience. I decided this year to do more to befriend the birds and perhaps attract more to the yard.
My first instinct was to build a homemade bird feeder and I quickly learned there are so many different options and possibilities to use a feeder to attract birds. From song birds to sea birds and teeny tiny birds like hummingbirds, there are many things to consider!
Things to consider in a bird feeder
The structure of the bird feeder
Some birds like to hang upside down to peck at seeds, others will do well with a perch, and some don’t want a perch at all. When you’re designing your feeder, you’ll want to keep all these things in mind. Most of the time, a feeder with a nice open trough area for seeds will attract the largest swath of birds.
The placement of the feeder
Birds don’t have the best eye sight, so you want to avoid placing your feeder in front of a wide window. Basically if there isn’t anything else around the feeder, they will risk flying straight into your window and that’s just a terrible event.
Place your feeder in a natural spot for your birds, perhaps near a tree they already enjoy or on the edge of a porch where they can feed in peace just beyond where human activity will happen, but in a spot where you can still see and enjoy them.
The other thing to consider with placement is possible ‘uninvited guests’. Depending on where you live, your feeder might attract other small animals too like chipmunks and squirrels. In fact, hanging a feeder off a branch is like an invite to a squirrel to try to take all the seeds! In these cases, consider staking your feeder on the lawn to make it harder for small animals to scale into the birds’ territory.
Supplies to stock and fill a bird feeder
This is the fun part! What you put out for bird feed will entirely depend on the type of birds you want to attract. In general, avoid things like processed bread and certainly avoid meat.
But in some cases, small fruit rinds, seeds, suet (which is just animal fat), and peanut butter are fabulous foods that will attract birds.
If you are looking to bring in the teeny hummingbird, you can concoct a sugary jelly substance that will feed them as well.
DIY Wood Bird Feeder Ideas
Making a homemade bird feeder out of word is an excellent beginner woodworking project and it can last for years if you put it together correctly. But as with anything else, there are tons of ways to do it! Here I’ve rounded up some examples of DIY wooden bird feeders that can attract different sorts of birds depending on your situation.
This is my favorite DIY Bird Feeder right now. I love how it’s totally on trend and even a bit hygge! Check out the original post by Elizabeth Jones Designs here.
In the DIY wood working area, Ana White can basically do no wrong. This homemade bird feeder is stunning and I love how it looks like a mini cathedral! Get the building plans here.
This is Popsicle Stick Bird Feeder is perfect for doing with the kids on the weekend. It’s made entirely with supplies you can get at the dollar store! See the full tutorial here.
Song birds are such a delight and many of them like sweet fruit! I love this DIY Oriole Feeder that allows you to put fresh fruit and citrus onto the feeder. Find out how to build your own Oriole Bird Feeder here.
This post makes a really good point about not adding a perch to your feeders. It can cause trouble for some of the larger birds to fit in and get at the food! This project shows you how to use a hollow tree stump and turn it into a very function homemade feeder that will invite birds of all sizes to feast.
DIY Plastic and Recyclable Bird Feeder Ideas
I’m assuming if you’re into attracting birds, you’re probably eco-friendly and eco-minded, right? Using recycled and plastic materials to make your bird feeder is an excellent way to keep them out of the landfill and the birds don’t care what they look like! In fact, some of the plastic recycled bird feeders are super cute. The bonus is these can definitely be put together in a matter of minutes.
Birds and Blooms has this adorable set of feeders made from tin cans. I love how cheerful they are. You could also consider toning down the colour and making them more high contrast for a modern look.
The simplest of bird feeders is one using a Milk Carton. This is what I have as a temporary feeder outside my office window at the moment.
Not the best photo, but I love the spirit in this upcycled umbrella bird feeder! The idea is to use a clear, plastic umbrella as a shield for your feeder station to keep the seed dry and the birds will feel safe too.
I love this plastic bird feeder because it uses wooden spoons for the perch!
I love the way this clever mom made a bird feeder with a juice container. I think it would have to be regularly replaced, however, due to the way the perch is also made of plastic. But cute nonetheless.
This option for a mayonnaise jar or a peanut butter jar bird feeder seems like it’s a bit more sturdy for the long run.
DIY and Homemade Bird Feeders to make with Kids
Remember how I said the birds don’t care!? They don’t. In fact, in most cases, you don’t even need a feeder to attract them. You can use some basic food items and just put them in your yard and see what happens. These basic bird feeding techniques are fabulous to do with kids because they often involve mixing, squishing, filling and hanging fruit and seeds.
I really love this Bird Feeder made from an orange peel! It’s definitely going to attract small song birds and it will biodegrade naturally.
These bird seed cookies are perfect for winter feeding and fun to whip up with the kids.
What about a Cheerios themed bird feeder? This one is adorable – though I’m not sure how hearty it will be for smaller birds.
This is a little more complex, but simply putting suet and seeds in a mug and hanging it is a great way DIY feeder idea.
These donut shaped suet cakes for wild birds are adorable and they would compliment any garden scape.
DIY Specialty Bird Feeders
Hummingbirds are so adorable and lively. They are true wonders of the natural world – basically like helicopters with their ability to flap their wings so quickly they can hover in place!
These birds have really long beaks that allow them to suck up sap and sweet nectar from flowers and blooming plants. It also means you can create some homemade hummingbird nectar and put it in homemade feeder to attract more of these sweet creatures to your yard.
If you want to go the DIY feeder route, you can create a cluster of plastic bottles with small spouts and fill them with your nectar.
I also adore this simple mason jar hummingbird feeder! How cute!
Lastly, if you have a green thumb, you might want to consider some plants that will attract hummingbirds. The bonus is they will also attract butterflies and bees.