When the warm and sunny days of spring finally settle in for good, our yard becomes a retreat for birds of many kinds. From robins to bluebirds and even, occasionally, hummingbirds, we seem to get quite the nature show around here. My daughter loves spotting new kinds of birds and looking them up in our bird books. A brown-headed cow bird? Who knew?
So this year, to entice even more feathered friends to flock to our house, we’ve decided to make our own homemade bird feeders. The great thing about these projects is that they are simple enough for even small children to do, and they use items you most likely already have around your home. We’re talking food items, natural elements and string. So let’s roll up our sleeves, spread out that newspaper and get to work.
Pinecone Bird Feeder
This is lots of fun to do and can provide an afternoon of fun. Make as many as you like, and hang them throughout your yard.
You will need: pinecones, string, peanut butter, bird seed.
Begin with a pinecone. Hopefully you have pine trees in your yard; if not, what a great excuse to go on a nature hike. In a pinch, you can also buy some at craft stores. Wrap your string or yarn around the top of the pinecone and tie a knot in it to make a loop for hanging.
Here comes the fun part! Have your kids smear peanut butter all over the pinecone. Use a spoon or butter knife and be sure to work the peanut butter inside and all around. Then, roll your sticky pinecone in bird seed; it should adhere easily.
Next, place the pinecone feeder inside a plastic sandwich bag that zips shut, and place it in your freezer for about an hour. Then, take your creations out and hang them wherever you want to attract those birds.
Orange Shell Bird Feeders
This is another fun and easy activity for kids of all ages. Their bright orange color makes them stand out in your yard.
You will need: hollowed-out orange halves, yarn, peanut butter, bird seed
Begin with an empty half of an orange. (Although many birds will also be happy just to eat an orange.) Carefully make two holes on opposite side of the orange near the top; insert yarn and tie to make a hanger.
Smear peanut butter all over the inside of the orange, and then fill with bird seed.
Milk Jug Bird Feeders
What a great way to teach your kids how to repurpose items! This is also a fantastic way to use empty plastic milk jugs for a new and fun purpose.
You will need: plastic milk jug, string, bird seed, green acrylic paint, markers, twigs.
Begin with a clean, dry milk jug. Poke some drainage holes in the bottom to allow any water that accumulates to drain. Using strong scissors, cut a three-inch diameter hole in the milk jug about two inches from the bottom. With a hole punch, punch out a small hole about one-half inch below this. This is for your perch.
Now it’s decoration time! Let the kids paint the feeder with acrylic paints or decorate with permanent markers. Allow to dry completely.
Cap the jug, tie twine tightly around the spout for a hanger and insert a twig into the perch hole. Then, fill your feeder with bird seed and hang.
These fun feeders should attract lots of birds to your home this spring and, hopefully, encourage them to nest there as well. Then you’ll get to enjoy a nature show right in your own backyard.